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Hi I am a beginner
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Hi I am a beginner

by kellykel on Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:36 pm

Hi, is there any place to learn how to make your own circuits? Like how to use each componet.
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by osx-addict on Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:46 pm

Try this link for starters.. About as good as any other but I'm sure someone else will chime in..
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by zener on Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:24 pm

kellykel wrote:Hi, is there any place to learn how to make your own circuits? Like how to use each componet.

Technical school or college.

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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by John_NY on Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:57 pm

Zener wrote:Technical school or college.

Taking a laboratory course is a good way to learn. If you are self-driven you could try MIT's Open Course Ware High School-level "Practical Electronics" course (MIT OCW is a free service of MIT) :
http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Special-Progr ... /index.htm

I've not used it yet but I might check it out as a refresher. I'm in a similar situation -- I learned Electronics as part of my Physics major, but it was certainly not an engineering course, and I spent but one semester in a laboratory. There are many options for starting out (depending on your budget), and you'll find plenty of suggestions online of what components you should play with to start.
I'd suggest
Digital Multimeter -- ONe that can measure Resistance, Voltage, Diodes, with a Short-Circuit alarm function, and if you can afford it, Capacitance (I didn't get one of those)
Full sized breadboard -- will run you about 12 bucks and may include wires
DC Power supply -- Ladyada sells one for $15.
Breadboarding Wires -- Ladyada sells a pack for $6
Resistors: Radio Shack sells a 500x pack of the 12-series, as does SparkFun. They'll run you $12 to $15.
Capacitors: Radio shack sells useless sizes in their grab bag (mostly 10 picofarad capacitors) -- find a better selection elsewhere.
Electrolytic capacitors -- Radio shack sells a grab bag that was okay, Sparkfun has some too.
Integrated Circuits (IC's) -- timer chips (555), operational amplifiers (OpAmps), and whatever else your course suggests you play with. Sparkfun has some
Transistors -- I got a pack of NPN and a pack of PNP transistors to play with. Add to that whatever your course suggests.

Hardware: From my local 98 cent store, which carries a good selection of tools, I picked up a set of tweezers (helpful for plugging in wires). I also picked up some other pliers and things for soldering, but they're not needed for breadboarding.

That might get you started experimenting -- once you get something like a 555 chip, there's plenty of suggested experiments online.
Also, electronics is not like computer programming -- components can break and burn. I've taken to buying two of everything because I do make mistakes.

This will get you started on a breadboard; soldering requires a bit more equipment to do it comfortably. If you have an electronics swap meet or Ham Radio swap meet in your area, you should go with a list of tools to pick up -- E.g. a 20-year old used soldering station may be affordable (I picked up my Weller WTCPT for $20 and replaced the worn out parts for $7). (I didn't replace the part though until it dropped an 800-degree soldering tip onto the carpet of my rented apartment, resulting in a big black hole in the carpet. I don't think I saved any money there).

-John

ps -- until you can afford an oscilloscope, you'll need to make your circuits slow enough to measure with a blinky LED or by capturing the Analog-to-Digital pin on an arduino and spitting it out to the serial port. Until you can afford a waveform generator, you may have to make do with a 555 timer chip and a very slow RC circuit. For the equipment alone, it may be worth taking a course to start out with, so you know how an oscilloscope is supposed to work.
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by kellykel on Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:05 pm

Hmh, I'm not at high school yet so there is not much I can do now.
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by adafruit on Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:28 pm

http://kits.sparklelabs.com/
is a good kit for very beginners

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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by John_NY on Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:39 pm

Ah then you have plenty of time to build a good foundation.

The kit ladyada suggested looks nifty.

You may want to take an amateur radio "Novice" or electronics class:
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/courses/
The class should teach you electronics basics
The ARRL also has online courses:
http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html#ec010
Analog Electronics Course:
http://www.arrl.org/cce/sample-lesson/A ... ronics.pdf
Digital Electronics Course:
http://www.arrl.org/cce/sample-lesson/D ... ronics.pdf
The online courses apparently assign mentors to students, and correspond by email.

I started Amateur Radio at 10 years old, my younger brother started at 7 years old, and it was a good foundation. ( Most amateur radio operators are old guys, but willing to teach )

My 2¢,
-John
Last edited by John_NY on Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by zener on Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:00 am

ladyada wrote:http://kits.sparklelabs.com/
is a good kit for very beginners

That looks like a very good kit.

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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by kellykel on Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:23 am

Thanks, Ill probably do the sparkle labs. :D
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by uberscientist on Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:52 pm

Books by Forrest Mims III are great, I only have one, but I hear the rest are just as good!
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by toddfun on Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:52 pm

I must agree with "uberscientist".
Forrest M. Mims III books are the best place to start for beginners and even
great for advanced beginners. And I have referred back to these books for over 20 years now.

Best starting book for kids EVER!
"Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest M. Mims III
I used this very book in an earlier edition 25 years ago.

4 other must have books are the Forrest Mims notebooks (Vol I-IV) making up a complete set of all of his older single subject mini notebooks:

"Timer, Op Amp, and Optoelectronic Circuits & Projects Vol. I" by Forrest M. Mims III

"Science and Communication Circuits & Projects Vol. II" by Forrest M. Mims III

"Electronic Sensor Circuits & Projects Vol. III" by Forrest M. Mims III

Electronic Formulas, Symbols & Circuits Vol. IV" by Forrest M. Mims III

And for no cost at all you can't bet the online learning slide show tutorials at:
http://electronics.wisc-online.com
http://www.allaboutcircuits.com
My fun project site: http://www.toddfun.com/

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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by kellykel on Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:48 am

Hmh, that sounds like a good book. In the reveiws someone my age about read it!
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by foobillious on Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:45 pm

Don't let your age stop you from reading or experimenting from any of this stuff. A lot of the people on here probably started fairly young.

Start with some simple stuff like the sparkfun tutorials and then just experiment.
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by Sorceress Sarah on Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:58 pm

You're a beginner. And not yet in HS. Awesome. The Open Courseware at MIT is one of the best suggestions I saw upthread. Oh, and by the way, there is no reason in the world that you can't enroll in a course at your local community college. There is just no substitute for hands-on experience in a lab setting. One tremendous benefit of doing so is being able to work with a wide variety of test and measurement equipment. It's kinda tough to measure frequencies or pulse widths with a digital multimeter.

When you get past the basic AC and DC circuits and start looking at signals, you're going to want an oscilloscope. Tektronix makes a full line from entry to "metrology lab standard" grade. Consider a Tek TDS 2024b. LeCroy also makes excellent test and measurement equipment, as does Agilent. For a DMM, Fluke is considered by many to be very good gear. While you're looking at voltages with your Fluke meter, you may find that the DMM says one thing, but if you probe the same point with an analog meter, you'll get a different result. The venerable Simpson 260 is still found in many research labs and metrology labs.

B&K Precision makes some cheap gear, but that's exactly what it is: cheap gear. Others may disagree, but I would just as soon stay away from their equipment.

Don't let the cost of this stuff scare you off. You won't need all of it tomorrow. You'll end up collecting it over time. But do start with a good DMM, a bench power supply and a breadboard. Now if you really want to go "Old School" . . . then build your own bench power supply as your very first project.

But the most important thing I can tell you is this:

HAVE FUN!
I'm not a freak. . . I'm a PROTOTYPE!!!
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Re: Hi I am a beginner

by kellykel on Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:51 am

Sorceress Sarah wrote:You're a beginner. And not yet in HS. Awesome. The Open Courseware at MIT is one of the best suggestions I saw upthread. Oh, and by the way, there is no reason in the world that you can't enroll in a course at your local community college. There is just no substitute for hands-on experience in a lab setting. One tremendous benefit of doing so is being able to work with a wide variety of test and measurement equipment. It's kinda tough to measure frequencies or pulse widths with a digital multimeter.

When you get past the basic AC and DC circuits and start looking at signals, you're going to want an oscilloscope. Tektronix makes a full line from entry to "metrology lab standard" grade. Consider a Tek TDS 2024b. LeCroy also makes excellent test and measurement equipment, as does Agilent. For a DMM, Fluke is considered by many to be very good gear. While you're looking at voltages with your Fluke meter, you may find that the DMM says one thing, but if you probe the same point with an analog meter, you'll get a different result. The venerable Simpson 260 is still found in many research labs and metrology labs.

B&K Precision makes some cheap gear, but that's exactly what it is: cheap gear. Others may disagree, but I would just as soon stay away from their equipment.

Don't let the cost of this stuff scare you off. You won't need all of it tomorrow. You'll end up collecting it over time. But do start with a good DMM, a bench power supply and a breadboard. Now if you really want to go "Old School" . . . then build your own bench power supply as your very first project.

But the most important thing I can tell you is this:

HAVE FUN!


Speaking of test equipment I have made a motor and then measured the rpm of it.
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.