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reddog

I want to learn about electronics

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As per title I want to learn about electronics.

 

Although I have some scientific background in the subject, I would like to start off as an absolute beginner, so I don't miss anything.

 

I want to do thinks the old fashioned way with breadboards and soldering, rather than having a kit where everything conveniently clips together.

 

I listen to a few US podcast that recommend Forest Mims books.

 

But has anyone got any other recommendations, to teach me as a beginner?  I am interested in books and videos.

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Its a big field. So, what do you want to actually be able to do? What do you have visions of building?

Do you really want to learn all the ins and outs of analogue electronics or do you want to put down a microcontroller, a few resistors and capacitors and some interesting sensors and actuators to do ... what?

A lot of electronics today, especially hobby electronics with kit like raspberry pi involves programming microcontrollers whose IO pins then control external sensors, actuators and peripherals as maybe half or more of the task. Does that hold any interest?

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, scepticus said:

Its a big field. So, what do you want to actually be able to do? What do you have visions of building?

Do you really want to learn all the ins and outs of analogue electronics or do you want to put down a microcontroller, a few resistors and capacitors and some interesting sensors and actuators to do ... what?

A lot of electronics today, especially hobby electronics with kit like raspberry pi involves programming microcontrollers whose IO pins then control external sensors, actuators and peripherals as maybe half or more of the task. Does that hold any interest?

 

 

 

 

Hello.  I do not want to start with a raspberry pi kit, I would like to start much more basically.

 

I want to start at the start, so yes, I guess I would have to start off with analogue electronics.

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Cool. Since you really want to learn, this is the classic text:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Electronics-Paul-Horowitz/dp/0521370957

There is almost nothing you are going to do as a hobby that won't be covered in there. Its good for everything up to the end of a uni degree in electronics.

However its a long time since I did any tinkering at home (since I spend my working life doing chip design), so there may be other excellent introductory guides - but you would want to have them as well as the tome above. 

 

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13 hours ago, reddog said:

Hello.  I do not want to start with a raspberry pi kit, I would like to start much more basically.

 

I want to start at the start, so yes, I guess I would have to start off with analogue electronics.

ok so if you're wanting analogue electronics, I'd suggest building your own audio amplifier.

this can be as basic or as complicated as you wish to make it.  for a really really basic one it's only a matter of a couple of transistors(or an op-amp) and a couple of diodes.There are several different types of amp. Class A is basically just one transistor or FET .dead simple but sound quality is pants. Class AB or B is much better and you need balanced components(check HFE of transistor or IDSS of FET, and also frequency response of device, also need to put lost of cap's and inductors in to balance out for best audio over frequency range)

If you want to go a bit more high tech and quality then you will have 3 projects in one......1) decent power supply+regulator, 2)low noise pre-amp, 3) multi stage power amp. all of these require their own disciplines to get the best sound out of your amp.  you can also juice it up some more by adding graphic equalizer/LED volume display.

I did this and a multi-channel mixer as my A level electronics assignment.

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20 hours ago, reddog said:

As per title I want to learn about electronics.

 

Although I have some scientific background in the subject, I would like to start off as an absolute beginner, so I don't miss anything.

 

I want to do thinks the old fashioned way with breadboards and soldering, rather than having a kit where everything conveniently clips together.

 

I listen to a few US podcast that recommend Forest Mims books.

 

But has anyone got any other recommendations, to teach me as a beginner?  I am interested in books and videos.

What is your motivation for learning "the old fashioned way" ?

It's fiddly, and it involves nasty fumes which you don't want to inhale. You can also get burnt.

If you want to learn about passive circuits get a decent simulator. That way you can play around virtually to understand the role of different components.

 

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2 hours ago, Gigantic Purple Slug said:

If you want to learn about passive circuits get a decent simulator.

Do you have any recommendations?

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Get a copy of Horowitz and Hill  - The Art of Electronics.  It covers most of the basics and is a great reference.

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&an=Horowitz+and+Hill&tn=&kn=&isbn=

Or full price

1989 version: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Electronics-Paul-Horowitz/dp/0521370957

2015 updated: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0521809266

Not sure what the update adds as I've not seen the new version. The 1989 edition is still highly relevant and has served me well since I started my degree back in 1992  through to some of my current IoT exploits.

 

 

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You learn to solder by doing. Stock up on de-soldering braid and remove components from scrap circuits. Then solder them back in. With practice, you'll be able to remove and replace a component without the board looking like it got butchered.

The older you are, the stronger your work light needs to be.

For surface mount components, (smc) the easiest way I've found is to quickly give one side or corner a blob of solder to anchor it, then solder up the other legs. Return to the blob and fix it.  

As said, ready made electronics are dirt cheap these days. The way to go imo is to mod store bought kit or make stuff that isn't widely available. An easy mod for audio amps is replace the cheapo output capacitors with decent ones. Huge improvement to the bass. Similar with amplifier power supplies. In simple terms, all a sound system does is modulate the power supply. The smoother the voltage in, the purer the audio out.

The TDA1543 chip is used as the base of many Non Oversampling DAC projects. A usb headphone amplifier is a worthwhile project imo. Even though many projects involve ICs, there is a lot to learn about how to decide which discrete components to use with them.

I'm considering this as my next project but I'm a veroboard guy, no experience with Eagle files: [Lord Vetenari's Clock](http://www.waitingforfriday.com/?p=264)

 

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On 9/17/2017 at 10:38 AM, scepticus said:

Cool. Since you really want to learn, this is the classic text:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Electronics-Paul-Horowitz/dp/0521370957

There is almost nothing you are going to do as a hobby that won't be covered in there. Its good for everything up to the end of a uni degree in electronics.

However its a long time since I did any tinkering at home (since I spend my working life doing chip design), so there may be other excellent introductory guides - but you would want to have them as well as the tome above.

Yes brilliant book and pretty much unique in teaching you how to design real world useful circuits (where knowing which characteristics of a component you should ignore is as important as those you need to consider).

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20 hours ago, Gigantic Purple Slug said:

What is your motivation for learning "the old fashioned way" ?

It's fiddly, and it involves nasty fumes which you don't want to inhale. You can also get burnt.

If you want to learn about passive circuits get a decent simulator. That way you can play around virtually to understand the role of different components.

You miss out on seeing something you've built yourself working by doing that. That's quite a motivator to keep going. And I've only dropped a soldering iron and caught the wrong end once... (and knocked a bottle of flux over all over the desk, lovely acidic stuff, but that's not soldering for electronics).

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11 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

You miss out on seeing something you've built yourself working by doing that. That's quite a motivator to keep going. And I've only dropped a soldering iron and caught the wrong end once... (and knocked a bottle of flux over all over the desk, lovely acidic stuff, but that's not soldering for electronics).

Also you need to know the basics if your going to construct something out of ready made modules that you wire together.

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4 hours ago, John51 said:

You learn to solder by doing. Stock up on de-soldering braid and remove components from scrap circuits. Then solder them back in. With practice, you'll be able to remove and replace a component without the board looking like it got butchered.

The older you are, the stronger your work light needs to be.

For surface mount components, (smc) the easiest way I've found is to quickly give one side or corner a blob of solder to anchor it, then solder up the other legs. Return to the blob and fix it.  

 

i use a paint stripper gun and heat reflective tape 

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On 9/18/2017 at 10:42 AM, John51 said:

You learn to solder by doing. Stock up on de-soldering braid and remove components from scrap circuits. Then solder them back in. With practice, you'll be able to remove and replace a component without the board looking like it got butchered.

 

indeed. I find the knack with soldering/desoldering is to use lots of flux,and the IPA and air spray to clean after.For desolder I much prefer braid to solder suckers, but desoldering components /boards that have been conformal coated is always a b1tch!.

flux is just magic stuff,but do in a well ventilated area!

and also you need to be careful which sort of component you are soldering,and choose the right solder bit ( tin the bit  with  a little solder first,dab a litttle flux on the component then heat the component PIN,and flow the solder around it....then brush the joint with IPA and blast with air-spray)..the joint should look nice and shiny.If if is a dull colour it's not done right(dry joint), and will be brittle and break,both physically and electrically.

.you can blitz a resistor with a soldering iron with a massive bit and it won't complain too much, but you need to be careful with IC's or anything that is remotely sensitive to tiny changes in voltage.

 

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ought to add that for surface mount,the best way is to tin both pads with a TINY amount of solder first-like a skin,(with flux), then put a little extra blob on one end. Press surface mount component onto said pad with tweezers while holding the iron close, so it "melts" into the pad...Then remove tweezers and put iron on other pad of the component and add a tiny bit of solder..you need to be quick as the heat will penetrate through to the other pad and your tiny component will skid off the PCB.

once assured that both joints look nice, brush with IPA and blast with air,

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