Advice / Assistance for a humble novice

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Connect, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. Connect

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 24, 2010
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    Hey All
    I have recently become fascinated with electronics, but have reached a stand-still. I initially began by reading a bit of the literature out there for a basic background and then jumped straight into building kits. I have taught myself how to solder, how to identify various components and what their basic uses are, but i am at a loss as to how to:

    a) read a circuit diagram and follow it on a pcb, without the pcb spoon feeding me with directiions as to where components go; and
    b) really understand circuits period. if i look at a circuit diagram i dont know what is happening, why a certain resistor was used, or what function teh capcitor is in this or that design, what values are required etc etc

    i hope to ultimately be able to read a schematic and know what is happening and why certain components and their respective values were used. Even how to design my own circuit. This is where the community comes in...

    I am only into this as a hobby, but a passionate one and my math skills arent great, but understand the basics like when i read about ohm's law etc.

    i hope this is clear and perhaps i can clarify what im really asking depending on any response i might get.

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    I don't know where you are located. If you can get a copy of Horowitz and Hill, The Art of Electronics, 2nd edition, get it. It is very out of date as a text, but still useful for the basics. Of course, there are other good texts, but Horowitz and Hill is what I used when I got back into the field as a hobby.

    John
     
  3. Connect

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 24, 2010
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    Thanks for your prompt response. I am located in Australia, but Amazon is a friend of mine :). I have passed over Horowitz's book, Gibiliso, TAb series, online tutorials etc but frankly either i am stupid and should give up or those texts do not do what i need.

    most of those books, taking Gibilsco's "Teach Yourself..." tells you what components are, their basic uses, then goes into some formula to work certain things out, but im still left wondering "well why did that require a transistor... how did he know what reistor value to use at that point... how do i know how little resistance a LED can handle... what capcitance value should i use... do i even need a capcitor?" Im left at a loss as to how a circuit operates and why certain components and values for components were used. instead the resources give you theory and few formulas a few circuit examples and leave you at a loss for the WHY question, rather than the WHAT question.

    no resource has really dealt with this fundamental question.
     
  4. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    That is what AAC is for. If you post a specific question like you mention in general electronics chat, you will get at least 5, probably 10 replies. Try it. This is a very friendly site, and I have never seen someone ridiculed for asking a simple question.

    John

    BTW, you will need a schematic drawing program in order to ask you question. I use Eagle (cadsoft.de), but there are many other and simpler programs available free.
     
  5. Connect

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 24, 2010
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    Thanks for all of your help. I will ask specific questions when they arise.

    For starters though, would it be typically recommended I concentrate on schematics and try and understand what is happening and try and visualise the process taking place etc before learning more mathematical theory, or vice versa or a combination?
     
  6. Connect

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 24, 2010
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    and also about your PCB design software... funnily enough i have recently been trying to get my head around this... i've looked for tutorials and tried fiddling around with different software, especially ExpressPCB but have no idea what i am doing.... can you refer me to any resource or program for beginners so that i can actually learn how to use these things?
     
  7. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    Start with things you use, You can draw a straight
    line.Break the line and insert a fuse then a off/on
    switch then the electronic devise,can be anything.
    Then you can use ohms law to see how many watts
    of power it uses by the label.Maybe If you ask about
    an item some one that has the ability to draw on the
    computer can do you power diagram.Go to u-tube you
    can now find a lot step by step electronic instruction.
    Come on guys draw and mark some diagrams.Start
    with the little power suppies that come with
    the cell phone charger,shaver they convert a/c to dc,
    this is a good place to start,then when you read
    you will start to understand more.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  8. Connect

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 24, 2010
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    Sorry can i just ask another question re: PCB Design Software?

    If i have a number of already printed schematics from magazines or hobby books etc.... is it possible to scan that image or something so that a pcb design software can automatically populate or create the board layout, or does each component have to be manually inserted into the software?
     
  9. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    You are describing a type of optical character recognition (OCR) combined with autorouting. I doubt there is anything that can do the OCR with any acceptable degree of accuracy for a schematic. Autorouting will make it far, far harder.

    Simple answer: No

    You will have to draw the schematic in software, then create the PCB. You want "schematic capture," which helps with the PCB. You can try autorouting with the freeware packages.

    John
     
  10. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    You can't (that I know of) even draw a schematic in one software and do the PCB in another.
     
  11. nomurphy

    AAC Fanatic!

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  12. Connect

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 24, 2010
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    Thanks.

    Over the weekend i came across a package called PCB Wizard. It is very user friendly, very friendly indeed that i picked it up (about 70%) within like 2 hours.

    Now what i really need to focus on is understanding and interpreting schematics.... any suggestions in this regard?
     
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