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Where to start? - beginner

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by loudandgreen, Dec 22, 2015.

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  1. loudandgreen

    loudandgreen

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    Dec 22, 2015
    I'm the new guy for now on the forum, I've been dabbling in the idea of learning electronics and whats what and how to do what. I also have a slight learning disability. Over the years I've figured out I'm more of a hands on and visual person. I'm guessing the reading material for me to understand circuits and what parts do what and what the different parts are will have to be a childrens line of description as far as literature go's.

    I bought a soldering iron months ago that I have yet to use and look forward to using it but I'm afraid of jumping into soldering and not have a direction for the quickest learning. I was reading once that for great practice I could find some scrap wire and cut into inch pieces and solder a cube out of the little pieces of wire to get the hands on experience. I need to figure out which solder to use on which type of wire and parts. What sort of projects/learning materials and tools do I need?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Not a bad idea about the cube of wire.... 'but' that would only get you used to burning things ;)
    Get your hands on some scrap electronics and desolder and remove the components.
    You will need your soldering iron, a solder wick or solder pump, and occasionally a little extra solder.

    When you solder wire, you can hold the iron on the wire for an extended period of time... when you solder electronic components, there is a limited time you can do this... if you hold the iron on the part too long, you will damage it. Working with real components and timing yourself is the best practice in my opinion.
    In addition, it has a wonderful side-affect of giving you spare components to work with :D

    Now... for a little hard truth... Electronics is not a very 'hands' on subject because you can't really 'see' what's going on most of the time. It most certainly requires a little book reading and math, as well as being able to mentally visualise what may be going on in the circuit.
    Don't let this discourage you though!
    Get your hands on some of the basic components:
    LEDs, Resistors, Transistors, and some buttons.

    Light the LED properly, then play with transistors. Depending on the reading and experiments you do here. You can dive into a world of digital or analogue electronics and do some amazing things with it.
     
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  3. Martaine2005

    Martaine2005

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    May 12, 2015
    Hello,
    I am too, more hands on and a visual learner:) Books and reading give me a headache!
    I suppose soldering does take a little practice, but so does everything..
    Rather than make a cube, it might be better to find some broken electronic item and just de-solder the components, then re-solder them several times. There are also lots of videos on Youtube about soldering. The solder I use is leaded, 60/40 I think. But the reels I have are years old and labels missing.
    Lead free solder is definitely "different" to use. I don't like it.
    As far as tools, you have an iron so second would be a solder sucker or braid.
    By far the most important tool would be a multimeter or 3!

    Martin
     
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  4. Martaine2005

    Martaine2005

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    May 12, 2015
    Hey Gryd3,
    I think we both said pretty much the same!
    You just said it better!:p And seconds quicker!

    Martin
     
  5. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Haha. It's good advise when two people say it at the same time ;)
     
  6. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    Also remember to observe correct ESD handling. Otherwise some of your components will fail, either straight away or in time. This can make you think your circuit is causing the issue where it might not be anything to do with your design. This is one reason I dont like using old components, you dont know their history.
    Adam
     
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  7. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Jun 21, 2012
    Well, I was gonna post something, but my wife interrupted me. I had to hang some plastic over a window in the kitchen that has a largeish air conditioner. The heat-shrinkable plastic mounted with two-sided sticky tape keeps out this winter's cold air. Of course we are betting that there will be a cold winter this year... the temperature is balmy again today. Anyhoo, when I finally got back here @Martaine2005 and @Gryd3 had answered with everything a beginner needs to know...

    Well, almost everything. A beginner should purchase a solderless breadboard kit, a goodly supply of components (dirt-cheap assortments available online) such as @Gryd3 mentioned (except for buttons; my wife keeps a box of assorted buttons, but you may want to buy a few push-button switches instead), and a few spools of various colored insulated hook-up wire. The hook-up wire should be 22 or 24 AWG (American Wire Gauge) tinned solid copper. Avoid the use of stranded (more flexible) wire until your soldering skills are up to snuff. If you must use stranded wire, consider using crimped terminals with it. Avoid un-tinned copper wire like the kind salvaged from telephone house wiring. It is difficult make good soldered connections with un-tinned copper wire until you have a lot of practice under your belt.

    Make sure your soldering iron is not too big or too small. A 40 watt "pencil" type iron will do for most projects. Use either a spade or conical shaped tip. Conical tips work well for small places while spade tips will transfer more heat quicker (not necessarily a good thing, depending on what component you are soldering). Stay away from lead-free solder until you acquire good soldering skills. A 60% tin 40% lead alloy about 0.032-inches diameter with a rosin flux core will serve you well. I one pound spool will last many years, but smaller quantities are available at truly exorbitant prices If you can find it at a reasonable price, a eutectic 63% tin 37% lead alloy with a rosin core will make nearly perfect solder joints with just a little practice. It is important to heat the joint quickly and not be mechanically disturbed while soldering. Apply solder opposite to the position of the iron tip, on the other side of the solder joint. A little solder placed between the tip and the joint may improve heat transfer, but it is easy to get a "cold solder" joint when doing so. Always wipe the tip of the iron on a damp sponge before soldering, and apply a little bit of solder to the tip after soldering. The tip of the iron must remain clean and bright with a thin film of solder attached to the tip.

    Okay, enough advice for now. Do what Martin and Gryd said: get some junk boards and practice, practice, practice un-soldering and soldering components. Some final words of advice: stay away from aluminum. You cannot successfully solder aluminum. Do not use paste flux from a can or bottle unless you are familiar with the contents and are absolutely sure the flux is non-corrosive. Do not believe the labeling that it is non-corrosive: know the chemistry first. After soldering, you can clean off the excess solder flux (which leaves a brownish residue) with a stiff bristle brush and 90% isopropyl alcohol. If the result is a bright, smooth, and shiny joint, chances are your solder connection is good to go.
     
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  8. Martaine2005

    Martaine2005

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    May 12, 2015
    But you know they are experienced!:p

    I think you ought to explain ESD to a beginner for that ADAM!

    Martin
     
  9. Martaine2005

    Martaine2005

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    May 12, 2015
    @hevans1944
    Nice informative post as usual Hop..

    Martin
     
  10. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    Ok. ESD (electro-static sensitive-device). ESD is one of the most important aspects even in todays devices that even have some kind of protection against such evens.. The event I am on about is static electricity. This is the electrical charge inballance that can occur on the human body, machinery and even adjacent cables carrying current.

    This happens through something called triboelectric charging. When two disimilar materials seperate, like walking across a carpet for instane a part of the charge of one material can add or subtract to the other material accounting for an addition or subtraction of charge on the other material. This charge imballance really wants to go somewhere else and if it finds a path through your compnent it will take it.

    This can damage to the component and cause failure. It can cause partial damage which shows up later. You should use an ESD wrist strap and correct mains plug with appropriate connection.
    Thats the basic version :)

    Adam
     
  11. Martaine2005

    Martaine2005

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    May 12, 2015
    Blimey, I didn't mean a book!:)
    I would have said, "do you remember walking on carpet or escalators and you touch something metalic like a door knob or radiator?
    That small zap you get is "you" earthing the static electricity..Imagine that zap hitting a sensitive component!!
    But then again, I am a Londoner!:p

    PS. I forgot the balloon rubbing:eek:

    Martin
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
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  12. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    And shopping trolleys :) all that lovely plastic rubbing around. :) enough about my evening attire.
     
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  13. loudandgreen

    loudandgreen

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    9
    Dec 22, 2015
    Thanks to everyone who chimed in. I'm currently scanning around for breadboards and other useful stuff. I'm looking at partsexpress.com for atleast some of the stuff. If there's better options then please point me in right direction for better on-line stores and deals.

    I'm also trying to understand that water analogy for understanding electricity but other then ohms...everything else is confusing to me. I'm not sure what other analogy would help, or maybe as I figured from the start that some sort of childrens book would help me to understand lol.

    In a few weeks i'm going to go to the thrift store and find a few cheap electronics and start desoldering and part collecting and fiddle with soldering stuff back together. I can see myself being great at soldering and desoldering but the whole building circuits and what have ya is going to be a PITA!
     
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  14. Martaine2005

    Martaine2005

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    May 12, 2015
    I wrote a lot here but was logged out upon posting....Darnnnnn
    Basically..........Check this out..MJLorton for your water analogy.

    Also at the thrift store, buy some wall wart, phone chargers etc for 5V, 9V and 12V. Really useful for powering projects.
    Also broken items/equipment for switches, DC jacks, connectors etc.

    Martin
     
  15. loudandgreen

    loudandgreen

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    Dec 22, 2015
    I know what you mean about typing a lot then it signs you out and you lose all of what you type ... it's happened to me SEVERAL times especially when it was 2, 3 or even 5 paragraphs long LoL. I found to combat that....before you try to post it....highlite what was typed then click on copy so IF it signs you out just right click and hit paste. you may have to separate the paragraphs but it's usually all there.

    NOW to the real reason for this reply. I thank you for the tutorial and I'm slowly going through and trying hard to follow but because of the nagging learning issue of mine I gota keep rewinding and trying to understand to make it stick. I will not give up just yet though.
     
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  16. Martaine2005

    Martaine2005

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    May 12, 2015
    Thanks for the heads up on copying.... I am normally logged in, but sometimes the computer goes to sleep. Sometimes I am still logged in others not! Only happened once or twice though.

    Glad you like the video. Is that still a little too complicated?
    If you post here the bits you have difficulty with, we can try and use other terms until you understand it:)
    Never give up...I have a good friend on here who helps me all the time.

    Martin
     
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