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Looking for a good starting point.. [Newbie]

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Chris M, Apr 1, 2004.

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  1. Chris M

    Chris M Guest


    I've got a pretty strong desire to learn basic (digital) electronics,
    and I'm wondering if anyone here can give me some input on good ways
    to learn.

    The way I feel about things now, I think I need to be hand-held
    through some basic projects with long-winded explanations of why
    things are done (verbose circuit analysis comments.)

    I can understand the basics of digital electronics from the point of
    looking at an IC datasheet and understanding most of it. I did some
    basic projects in college about 12 years ago (a "Microprocessors"
    class, in an otherwise mainly software engineering curiculum.)

    A good friend lent me his Radio Shack "300 in One Electronic Project
    Lab" kit. It looks good from the point of having lots of little
    projects to build, but little explanation of WHY certain components
    were chosen. Initially, I think I need more detail on WHY a 10k
    resistor is used instead of a 2k, etc. I know Ohms law, but I need to
    understand how and why to apply it, along with basic circuit analysis.

    Any help or pointers on a good way to get started would be greatly
    appreciated. I've been scouring for books and, after
    reading reviews, have narrowed my to-buy list to these:

    Digital Electronics Guidebook: With Projects!
    by Myke Predko, Michael Predko

    Tab Electronics Guide to Understanding Electricity and Electronics
    by G. Randy Slone (Author)

    Let me add that my motivation is to learn electronics, but also to use
    that in cojunction with an old 8-bit Apple //e computer. There are
    some schematics on the web for bus-interface cards (one is an ethernet
    card, the other is an IDE/Compact Flash card that lets you use IDE
    hard drives or a compact flash card for mass storage.) So eventually,
    my interests will probably be in interfacing with the apple system.

    Thanks in advance for any help or input!

    // CHRIS
  2. electricked

    electricked Guest

    There's a good book called "Understanding Solid State Electronics; 5th ed"
    by Texas Instruments and revised by Don L. Cannon. I think it's a great
    beginners book. It goes into how electricity does its work, then goes into
    analog components and how to make electricity do the work for you. Gives an
    overview of some of the basic components and their applications. Then goes
    into ICs and digital circuits. I think this book is great as a starting
    point. I borrowed it from the library and I found it so good that I bought
    it. Try amazon, you can get it for about $5 or so almost brand new. Another
    good book would be "Basic Electronics Theory." It's got a lot of stuff in
    ther efor beginners. Another good book is "Electronics; self-teaching guide;
    2nd edition."

    The Tab Electronics Guide book is not exactly a beginners book. There are
    projects but no step by step. It just lists the components needed and their
    values and shows the schematic along with a summary of how most components
    fit together for most experiments. It gets into the heavy stuff real
    quickly. It's not for digital electronics either (it's analog). I suggest
    you have a look at it in a library and then make a decision wether you want
    to buy it or not. It's a great book once you get a feel for the basics of
    electronics (I'm at this point right now). There are some great books in the
    local libraries so that'd be worth checking out as a starting point; too bad
    you can't keep the books for more than 20 days or so :/

  3. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Yikes! You're gonna write a TCP/IP stack for an Apple? //e?? Cool!
    Will you be using Pascal? ;-)
  4. Chris M

    Chris M Guest

    Heh, not Pascal. uIP has already been written in C and is running on
    a Commodore 64 among others. Someone I know has designed an ethernet
    board for the //e (prototype only right now) that uses a korean
    "WizNet" chip - the chip lets you access ethernet directly but also
    contains its own small TCP/IP stack.

    I've gotten renewed interest in my apple II days, but after 22 years
    of programming (i started at 12) I'd like to get back into the apple
    II from a hardware angle as well. Much easier than trying to design a
    PCI-bus board. I have a couple examples to work from, too..

    But I'm such a newbie to hardware, that I'm trying to learn the
    basics. For the most part, it seems that the components I am mostly
    going to be using are IC chips (obviously), resistors, capacitors, and
    maybe diodes and transistors...

    This week I am going to do a bit less reading and a little more
    expirimenting with this 300-in-1 electronics kit.

    // CHRIS
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