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How can I become circuit designer

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by kap, Jul 15, 2013.

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  1. kap

    kap

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    Jul 15, 2013
    Hi guy's, I am studying electronics from 6 months & I think I know little about basics,I have been checking simulations for basic component behaviors on circuit simulators specially online, i bought oscilloscope(UNI-T 100Mhz,2channel) + Function Generator+Rigole DGI022,+ a good Multiplier and few more measurement & experimenting devices,a kind of lab i have created,

    I want to get into electronics fully but I can't figure out where to go next, any suggestions please :confused: ?
     

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  2. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    You've told us about what equipment you have bought. That is completely irrelevant. What kind of circuits have you built? What would you like to build? What kind of problems have you had? What books have you read? These are the more pertinent information we would need to assess what you should do next.

    Bob
     
  3. john monks

    john monks

    693
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    Mar 9, 2012
    Become an amateur radio operator.
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Some things to do (you may have done some already)

    Build stuff (on breadboards). Fun!

    Understand basic components in a basic way. Be able to explain what they do.

    Learn *exactly* how the projects you built work.

    Read the datasheets. Ask questions (and learn other stuff) until you understand them. Make a habit of obtaining the datasheet on EVERY component that you're using and of reading it. Yes, even resistors. Get to know their limitations and how they vary. This stuff is worth knowing (did you know resistors have a specification for maximum voltage?). [The big thing to learn here is what general assumptions and rules of thumb you can make/use, or what the heuristics others may tell you are based on]. You need to start developing a feel for when you need to refer to the datasheet and when you don't.

    Find a source of schematics or projects that are fully described (i.e. with extensive notes from the designer). Read these and try to understand not only how the device works, but why the designer designed it like (s)he did. How does it compare with what is described in the datasheet? Have they modified something from a datasheet?

    Make changes to circuits. Ensure that you predict what the change will do to the circuit -- are you right?

    From what you've learned, you should have found some "building blocks" that people frequently use. Can you put them together to make something?

    Learn how to search for components which fit some particular specification you have. From your reading of datasheets and from other people's circuits you should have an understanding of what parameters are important for your application.

    I recommend "The Art of Electronics" as a good book to read. Ignore chapter 1 on the first pass, it's not a fun read. But you're going to have to learn that stuff eventually.

    Oh, and find people to help you.
     
  5. kap

    kap

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    Jul 15, 2013
    I built few basic circuits:numeric water level Indicator,AC to DC power regulated supply. smoke alarm,sound activated on off switch,led chaser,music bell & very few more,

    I am more interested in building memory programmed devices.

    I had measurement problems with oscilloscope,calculation problems,

    I study from Basic electricity and Electronics (Schuler/Fowler), and online.
     
  6. kap

    kap

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    Jul 15, 2013
    My understanding on electronics is like this: It is a study of controlling flow of electricity(current) through basic behavior of different components(conductors,semiconductors) which produces heat,light,electromagnet which are the building blocks for all the electronic good's & devices.

    Is that right ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  7. kap

    kap

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    Jul 15, 2013
    Do i need to study material science also to become good designer ?
     
  8. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Not unless you are doing mechanical design.

    Bob
     
  9. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Steve, that was an excellent summary. Perhaps you should use it as the basis for a post or a thread in an educational section of the forums.
     
  10. kap

    kap

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    Jul 15, 2013
    Thank you Steve for your inputs, I feel I need to get into Datasheets very carefully for each component I use.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  11. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,412
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    Be aware that they are very information dense and there will be parts you won't understand at first -- heck, there may be very few parts you actually DO understand.

    There's generally a table of specifications. This will contain abbreviations that you need to learn. It contains the basic information you need to know -- unfortunately it also contains stuff you may almost never need to know.

    Another section is one which may contain sample circuits. This is the designer of the component showing you ways to use it. It generally pays to listen to them.

    Another thing is that some components are made by several manufacturers. They will each have a datasheet and they will be different! Sometimes it's just that one has more detail than another. Sometimes (and these can really bite you) the device will have different specs! In more than 99% of cases though, one manufacturer's datasheet is as good as another.

    Armed with a datasheet, you can ask yourself "What of these specs are important in this circuit?" Sometimes (quite often) the answer is "very few". Other times there are critical specifications. It's part of your job to be able to look at a circuit and decide what parameters are likely to be important.

    For a simple component like a resistor, the important specification is usually resistance, however, also important may be power dissipation, construction (is it inductive), physical size, or tolerance (in no particular order).

    For a component like a bipolar transistor, the most important spec is PNP or NPN. After that, you may be concerned with gain, power handling, max current, max frequency, voltage rating(s), thermal resistance, package, etc.

    And so it goes on for other components.

    If you study electronics at university level, you'll probably get into various mathematical descriptions of how components behave. This can sound really useless until you realise that you suddenly understand the components much better, and you can calculate how they'll behave.

    So, if you have a liking for calculus, you'll find it has practical uses. If you like differential equations, you'll love reactance. You'll be amazed at how often the square root of -1 shows up in the most mundane circuits!
     
  12. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Another very good source of information - one you mentioned in another thread Steve - is application notes.

    All the good manufacturers produce separate application notes for their products. Data sheets often have a large "application information" section, which is also extremely helpful.

    Application information tells you a lot about the component being described, but often it also tells you about other components that are used with that device - including ones that aren't even manufactured by the same company! For example, application information for switching regulators gives you a lot of practical information about inductors and capacitors.

    If a company makes an IC for a specific function, especially if it's for a new, unusual, or very specific application, it's in that company's interests to give you, the design engineer, enough information to make a reliable and successful design using that component.

    The most reputable and responsible companies produce the most, and the best, applications information. Linear Technology is an example that comes immediately to mind. ON Semiconductor, National Semiconductor (now part of Texas Instruments, but older app notes are still available), Maxim and Texas Instruments all produce thorough and helpful application information, both in their data sheets and in separate documents, and there are many others.

    Many companies have produced compendiums of information on specific subjects or components, often dozens or even hundreds of pages long. National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments have huge amounts of information on op-amps and related circuits, created by some of the most brilliant engineering minds in the world.

    You can spot a company that's just making a rip-off of an existing part, because the data sheet has no application information, and only the most basic information on the component. Check out data sheets from Wing Shing or NTE, for example.

    Recently there have been some excellent articles on the behaviours and weaknesses of multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) written by application folks from Texas Instruments, a semiconductor manufacturer!
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  13. kap

    kap

    44
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    Jul 15, 2013
    Thank you Steve & Kris for great details.
    I understand very few terms written in the datasheet saying something about components.
    And most of the times I understand & realize what I need to know from the a particular component's datasheet.


    One question:-


    edit: See here for the question: https://www.electronicspoint.com/help-me-my-oscilloscope-t261763.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2013
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