Best resources for a new guy, plus how to populate and organize components

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by silman, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. silman

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 13, 2012
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    Hey there,

    So i am just getting into to analog electronics and i wanted to know which resources are the best for a beginner. I am not a complete beginner as i have done some small soldering projects but i don't know enough of the theory to do calculations and stuff, i want to be able to design an analog circuit, not just follow a schematic (which i am bad at) to build one - especially since when things go wrong it doesn't help that i can't really debug it since i dont know enough about the theory. Is there any good book/website/etc that teaches you the theory as you do small projects?.

    What are the best resources for a beginner wanting to get into analog circuits. I have a soldering iron and some solder but i don't have any components really. I am thinking i need the basic tools: wire cutters, crimpers, strippers, flux, desolder braid, a multimeter, etc. As well as a bunch of components that are often used.

    My second question is less serious: Do you guys get components as you go? or do you buy a fat pack of all kinds of resistors, caps, pots, etc to have around when you want to build something? Obviously this excludes special components but for the basic ones do you guys recommned having a bunch to have on hand? I am thinking i should get a bunch of components and organize them so whenever i need something i have it on hand.

    Where do you guy your components? Local shops or online stores?

    Also how do you store your components? I want to buy a cool storage box that i can neatly sort out all my components but i feel like a box with a bunch of drawers isnt the best thing (since each resistor would need its own for its specific resistance). What boxes, drawers, etc do you use to store your components. Is there a consensus on a commercial storage container/ what are your favorite ways to store stuff?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    There are lots of threads asking questions similar to yours so you could do some searching. Before I recommend a learning method, I'd like to know how much math you've had.
     
  3. silman

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 13, 2012
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    0
    I'm sorry, i will do some searching the forum for the questions i asked but i wanted to get something that is up to date.

    I just finished multivariable calculus and vector analysis and i will be starting linear algebra in the fall. Right now i just want to learn the basics and work my way up to the more advanced calculations. But what i am really looking forward to is actually learning about circuit design. I can follow schematics but i hardly have an idea how the parts interact with each other and i would like to learn these basic ideas while building projects.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  4. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    You might start by taking a look at these books. One might fit your interest. There's also the ebook by Tony Kuphaldt linked to this site.

    Mims, Getting Started in Electronics
    Malvino, Electronic Principles
    Floyd, Electronics Fundamentals
    Horowitz and Hill, The Art of Electronics
     
  5. silman

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 13, 2012
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    0
    Thanks for the recommendations!

    I have a copy of Make:Electronics that i jut had laying around, what are your opinions on it? Is it actually good at teaching?
     
  6. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    I've only seen small snips of Make so I can't offer an opinion on it. For someone just beginning, a book, projects or instructional program needs to cover the basics and be engaging enough to hold your interest through the challenges. Pick one that seems to fit your learning style and work with it. Evaluate it's effectiveness by your own criteria at intervals.
     
  7. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,355
    6,852
    The top of this page has a book about electronics! Just click on it.
    I've never used crimpers in electronics unless they were specific crimpers for a specific connector.
    We all butcher old hard drives, TV's and etc. for parts. You will find places to buy parts online like, Mouser, Jameco, Farnell, Electronics Goldmine. Which brings up, go to "UserCP" and enter some description of where you live so we know where you can get parts. You can get really good prices from online distributors.
    Plastic cabinets with lots of drawers to sort your resistors, capacitors, and transistors. And yes, we keep cabinets of parts. I usually buy 10 each when I order a part. There are kits and assortments for beginners.
    A thing called a "protoboard" is very handy but you must know not to shove oversized leads into the holes, it wallows them out.

    The knowlege of single parts is the library in your head. You will pick a part and download its datasheet. Then you will read it more than once. You will become familiar with every limitation and capability of the part. You will do this a thousand times because the datasheet is the Bible for any individual part.

    You absolutely must have a multimeter and a DC power supply (or some batteries or wall warts). After that, a function generator and an oscilloscope will be enough to do 'most anything analog, but you don't need those two right now.

    There. That's a start.
     
  8. silman

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 13, 2012
    7
    0

    thanks for the info! What is a good place to buy those plastic cabinets? and why do you buy 10 containers each time you order one part (or did i misread that)?

    What are some of your favorite online retailers?

    I live in Davis, California but my true home is just 20 minutes north of San Francisco. I am sure there are some good shops in San Francisco!.

    Is a protoboard the same thing as a breadboard?

    thanks so much for the reply!
     
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,355
    6,852
    K-mart for plastic cabinets.
    I don't buy 10 containers, I buy 10 parts. (There is usually a price break at 10 parts.) This is based on the fact that I use parts regularly and I consider it, "restocking" when I order a part.
    My Fav seller is www.mouser.com
    California is close enough, especially when you consider that we have ppl from all over the planet ask questions here.
    A Protoboard is a flat plastic thing with lots of holes and internal connectors.
    A breadboard...I don't know. Seems like a generic term for something you solder stuff onto.
     
  10. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
    13,056
    3,245
    A breadboard is generally a circuit board with holes and possibly traces that is used to solder a circuit together to give a more or less permanent circuit.

    Solderless protoboards have holes with spring contacts that allow you to wire a circuit together by just pushing wires and component connections directly into the board. Generally this is only for temporary connection of the circuit to verify and test the circuit design.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
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