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Getting started with electronics? :)

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Woei Shyang, Jan 20, 2012.

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  1. Woei Shyang

    Woei Shyang Guest


    I'm completely new to electronics, but I'd like to get started.

    Perhaps it is just me getting tired of this wasteful culture where
    devices are disposable, or just me being a tightwad, but I'd really
    love to learn how to repair my own stuff, and know how various little
    DIY projects actually work as opposed to putting them blindly together.

    Are there any books that you guys might recommend to help me get started?

    I've always been a software person by training and trade, so you can
    say I have absolutely no background in this, except for being a geek.

    Thanks for any tips and recommendations :)


    Here's a couple links to get you started...

    Mark Z.
  3. Winston

    Winston Guest

    This will give you a solid foundation if you read through the
    modules, answer the quiz questions and ask the folks in
    sci.electronics.basics to get you unstuck.

    It is a fascinating hobby.

  4. Experimenter's kits are still available. You really need one of these,
    especially as Heath, Allied, EICO, etc, have long been out the kit business.

    Allied had a wonderful kit, which cost $30 50 years ago. It was a small
    console, with a pegboard for the circuits on the back. Someone should revive
    it, but it would be pretty pricey. (Still have the manual. Don't know why I
    didn't save the unit itself.)
  5. Nelson

    Nelson Guest

    Radio Shack has a couple of nice ones. I bought this one for my kid:
  6. Poor man's fireworks: Always connect electrolytic caps the
    Would that it /were/ fireworks. The caps usually explode and emit a
    foul-smelling gas.
  7. Madness

    Madness Guest

    Poor man's fireworks: Always connect electrolytic caps the
    wrong-way-round before applying power! :)
  8. They give a tantalizing performance, no doubt.
  9. I don't like this much. Defining voltage in terms of resistance. It should
    be in terms of coulombs and joules.

    "Voltage is represented by the letter E. The basic unit of measure is volts
    or the letter V. One volt will push 1 amp of current through 1 ohm of
    resistance. Resistance will be discussed in a later section."
  10. Yeah, I wish they had labs to go with that. Guided experiments are what's
    missing from almost all good electronic courseware. The lab manual for The
    Art of Electronics is available and costs about half the price of the main
    text, so that might be helpful.
  11. Nelson

    Nelson Guest

    Do you really think it's necessary for someone trying to get started in
    electronics as a hobby to to worry about such niceties? Defining
    voltage in terms of resistance or "pressure" is much more intuitive to
    a neophyte.
  12. Nelson

    Nelson Guest

    Edit: Radio Shack also has a nice set of experiments/manuals called
    "Engineer's Mini Notebooks" written by Forrest Mims which are very
    economical and geared to the beginning hobbiest.

    Radio Shack has a couple of nice ones. I bought this one for my kid:
  13. Yes, I can say that it is harder to learn when you start by learning it

    If they want to talk about pressure then at least they can do it
    conceptually instead of quantitatively, and it doesn't take a great effort
    for them to make clear that they are using analogy. When they take the
    ass-backwards approach of defining voltage quantitatively in terms of
    resistance then they are only making it necessary to unlearn all that and
    start over from scratch some day.

    Defining things backwards is not a mere detail.
  14. I didn't say anything like that at all. I said resistance is defined in
    terms of voltage and current, not the other way around, and if you aren't
    ready to define voltage then just don't do it.

    You can omit lots of things without being compelled to teach something that
    isn't so, but most "science" teachers think the resistor color code is the
    root of everything.

    And lots of abstrations are taught to 5-year-olds, like the concept of time.
    You don't have to teach them SR. You just teach them how things are
    affected by time. But you don't teach them that the clock makes time
    happen, do you?

    Kids are more capable of learning abstractions than adults. Adults assume
    incorrectly that kids need an explanation for abstractions, so they provide
    one that is wrong and make learning harder rather than easier.
  15. Nelson

    Nelson Guest

  16. Nelson

    Nelson Guest

    On Tue, 24 Jan 2012 03:23:58 -0500, spamtrap1888 wrote
    (in article

    I still find myself occasionally getting momentarily hung up on this...
    and I have Master's Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics :)
    I have always found "holes" counterintuitive. It's too bad the
    conventions didn't evolve so that they were consistent with the
    underlying physics. It's as if we defined the basic unit of heat as
    the "friggie" so that when a body heated up, we would say it lost so
    many friggies.
  17. No. See below.
    Positive and negative, as you point out, are misnamed. This is supposedly
    the fault of B. Franklin, who said that electrical particles flowed from an
    source with an excess to a sink with fewer -- which is basically correct. He
    called the excess side "positive", not knowing that the charge of the
    electrical particles would eventually be called "negative".

    BY CONVENTION, current flows from positive to negative. This has never much
    bothered me, nor has hole flow. (A hole is a place in the lattice where an
    electron "should" be.)

    Now, if someone could explain exactly how -- on a quantum level -- junction
    transistors work -- I would be delighted. I've yet to find a book that makes
    it clear. (FETs are easy.)
  18. They're just different units. Convert by multiplying by a constant. That's
    all. It's like using the bell instead of the decibel or microns instead of
    angstroms. That's not a big deal.

    Which has nothing to do with avoiding teaching them something that's wrong.

    Resistance is not a fundamental quantity. It's nothing but the ratio of
    voltage and current, and only when measured in the absence of other factors
    which are fundamental, so it's not something you should refer to when
    explaining voltage.

    The last sentence in the cited web page could simply be deleted and nothing
    would be lost. I'm baffled why you think it's so important to include it.
  19. You can never reach bedrock.

    So you just think of current as an abstraction. You don't think about
    holes. You didn't need to learn (at first) about holes. But you also
    didn't need to learn a lie about positive particles. It can just be left as
    an abstraction. So can voltage.
  20. Coulombs and joules are in the other drawing, in the web page in question.
    They were included without naming them in an abstract and intuitive way.
    Then the author went off in the wrong direction when he should have just
    left it as an abstraction.
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