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I miss the basic books

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Vey, Nov 28, 2005.

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  1. Vey

    Vey Guest

    I grew up in the 60's.

    Back in the '50's there were books written about basic electricity by
    big corporations, like AT&T, GM and GE, for the "ordinary Joe." The big
    companies knew that they needed to educate their workforce and they took
    it upon themselves to do it rather than waiting for the school boards to
    get around to it.

    When I meet a youngster these days and he is confused about A/C, I want
    him to see those basic books I saw, but if I go to the bookstore what I
    find are books written by engineers that say way more than they have to.
    I can't recommend those books to a kid.

    I know that engineers think that the more known the better, but for
    simple things, they can't understand the concept of "overkill."

    We really need to educate our workforce again. They only need to know
    the basics. I'm sorry if the engineers take offense, but they are the
    *last* people that should be educating the "ordinary Joe."

    So what to do?
  2. Vey wrote:
    I think that depends very much on the engineer in question. Some
    engineers are very good at making what they want with what is
    available, even if what they want is for an average Joe to understand
    basic electricity and their own experience, newsgroups and Google are
    all that are available (as if those last two resources are severe

    Some do it, here, daily.
  3. Vey

    Vey Guest

    John, I see what you are saying, but a piece here and a piece there
    can't take the place of a good book.
  4. I see what you mean. I am pretty much self taught, in the arts, for
    the first 20 years of my life and some of those old books were a big
    part of my education. The one that got me started was "Elements of
    Radio" by A. Marcus and Wm. Marcus. I must have checked it out of the
    library a dozen times before I could really understand most of it. I
    recently bought a copy of it for sentimental reasons.
  5. Vey

    Vey Guest

    I remember a picture showing me how one half of a wave could go from NY
    to LA. Wouldn't that cartoon do the guy that asked about antennas (a
    couple of posts up) some good?

    Or how a motor got too hot (fanning itself) when the voltage was too
    high and pooped out when the voltage was too low.

    Dumb, simple stuff.
  6. Have you ever seen the comic book format, "Cartoon History of the
    Universe" by Larry Gonick? I would love to see what he could do with
    basic electronics.
  7. Vey

    Vey Guest

    --"Cartoon History of the Universe" by Larry Gonick?--

    I looked on my bookshelf and there it was. I was thinking I needed to
    reread it the other day.

    The books I remember were not that cartoony, but maybe to hook the kids,
    that would be better, because when I do scout out a GM or AT&T book (and
    they got them from the Navy) the kids don't seem to respond to them the
    way I did when I was their age.

    But when I was their age "electricity" was some mysterious, magical
    "thing" that only experts knew anything about. Same as today, but they
    think learning the basics is too pedestrian . . . "what about digital

  8. But isn't the issue really that there is far less being published
    for the hobbyist? The books that are found today may be aimed at
    a very different market, so they read like "engineers have written
    them" because they are aimed at engineers, or engineers in training.

  9. Richard

    Richard Guest

    I, too, recall the basic series of electronics books from that era. I also
    remember recieving electronics kits as part of the training materials; many
    of them ordered from radio and television electronics magazines (which are
    also in short supply today). Of course, everything required soldering - no
    proto-boards in those days, so you learned electronics AND soldering skills
    (the bigger the blob, the better the job??).

    Check for some of those older books.

    You may also be able to contact some of those companies. Some are still
    training internally; others use the local community colleges. For instance,
    Panasonic in southeatern Virginia was using Tidewater Community College to
    provide some electricity/electronics training, and I recall hearing
    Anheuser-Busch ran some basic electricity and electronics training for its
    employees some years ago. Maybe the materials they used are still available.
    The A-B Traiining and Development Group is in St. Louis.

    I also invite your attention to
    .. You may find Volume VI of particular interest. I have not looked at even a
    tenth of this book, but those sections I have been into appear to be pretty
    well written. That isn't to say it is error-free, but the author appears to
    welcome feedback and continues to update all volumes. The cost is also very

    Have you considered putting together a book in the format you remember?
    Distribution may be a problem since you'll likely get lost in the ususal
    internet noise, but you may get a bit of support, and plugs, from the
    regular posters to this group.

    Good luck in your search.

    Richard Seriani
  10. But isn't the issue really that there is far less being published
    The technician, hobbyist, ham radio (as far as building stuff and
    experimenting) markets have mostly evaporated. You won't find many young
    folks interested in these things nowadays.
  11. Rodney

    Rodney Guest

    Second try. Go to

  12. David F

    David F Guest

    I think that a simple web search turns up many resources for someone who
    *wants* to self-educate. Perhaps the issue is not so much of the
    availability of resources to a curious "average Joe," but one of public
    education and *advocacy* of the ideal of understanding of the physical

    I find that this lack of understanding of how the world around us works is
    pervasive in today's developed societies; it is fueled in part by the
    increasing complexity of our consumer products, in part by the design of
    those products as "black boxes," impossible even to open the case without
    breaking it and voiding the warranty, much less to modify or repair what
    might be found inside, in the U.S. by the extreme deteriation in the
    quality of the educational system, and partly by other social trends that
    I cannot understand. But undeniably, to the "average Joe" (or Jane),
    everything from the car driven to work to the computer on which he works
    might as well operate via magic, and he is comfortable with that situation.

    Thus, the hobbiest market has indeed evaporated, and there is little
    interest in basic books by folks, young or old.
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