# Does this happen to you?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Nwuyag, Nov 6, 2014.

1. ### Nwuyag Thread Starter New Member

Sep 12, 2013
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I am asking because I do it a lot and I am already getting addicted to it. I am 20, studying electrical/electronics engr in my final year (5yrs)

1.When I learnt of voltage and current, I begin to ask myself more and more questions and learn it at a very high intricate level. When I felt I have learnt ohms law very well, I was satisfied, but I still didn't stop thinking. When I see the wall socket, the plug, I continue to think, trying to conote what I ve seen in the textbook to real life.

When I learnt about capacitors and inductors, I had to start thinking about how what the textbook said is true, when you apply it here and there, how does it apply to different situations.
I thought about inductors at ac and dc and thought that there must be a correlation, how voltage and current increases and behaves, Infact I think everything.
And I begin to agitate when I reach stumbling bkocks. I argue with textbooks, ie I don't believe everyline there unless its to pass a test.
I then begin to think and ask Why is this this and not that. Its crazy

3. When I read a formula, I always think of the reason behind it, ootherwise my mind tells me deepdown that I don't know it.
Example is when I learnt of power factor, I was always thinking of whats the purpose of dividing real with apparent power. If not for the Internet, that will be part of the debates that keep me lost in thoughts.

Sometimes, it seems the knowledge is infinite.
When I am walking on the road, and I see the power transmission and distribution lines, I develop instances in my head, begin to ask myself how does the formula/what I have learnt apply and why does(nt) it apply. Does ohms law apply there, what voltage should I get at the transformer, does this correlate with the formulars with transformers?
Sometimes. people around my ask what is wrong with me.
Infact, i can read up a chapter in a text book and know all the formulars and definitions. The problem is that I feel I have not learnt it and I will still forget it. But the moment I take off the book and start thinking and asking why is this definition the same as this formula. How does it apply to this and that situation.

Does anyone go through anything similar or is it because of my school that doesn't have good practicals? I don't know.

Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
2. ### tracecom AAC Fanatic!

Apr 16, 2010
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"Inquiring minds want to know." You have an inquiring mind; be happy.

3. ### alfacliff Well-Known Member

Dec 13, 2013
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knowlege builds on knowlege. the more you learn, the more there is to learn. you have to learn the basics before anything more advanced makes sense.

bwilliams60 likes this.
4. ### BillB3857 Senior Member

Feb 28, 2009
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Simply learning the formulas in only a first step at learning electronics. You will eventually UNDERSTAND why the formula is the way it is. For example, it is nice to know that in DC circuits ohm's law can be stated three different ways (E=IR, I=E/R, R=E/I) but to understand WHY each is a true statement is more important than just memorizing the formula. AC throws a wrinkle into things by introducing REACTANCE, which is not only affected by the value of the component, but by frequency. To further complicate things, you need to be aware of ELI the ICE man. (Voltage leads current in Inductive circuits while Current leads Voltage in Capacitive circuits. )
You are on the right track and as you come to a better understanding of the individual concepts, they will fit together. I was taught many years ago to gain a full understanding of the basics, and those basics can be combined into much more complex concepts.

Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
5. ### JDT Well-Known Member

Feb 12, 2009
658
85
In my opinion, the only way to really learn electronics is to make things. Start simple - work up.

I started when I was less than 10 by taking things apart and playing with magnets, batteries and coils of wire. Some of us oldies from the UK might remember a couple of "Ladybird" books for children. One of these told you how to make a radio. I've still got the book! From then its been my career all my working life. Only went to university in my late 30s.

So get a soldering iron and make something! Yes, you will blow a few things up, burn your fingers, make some smoke.

The good thing about electronics is that, as far as mathematics is concerned, once you know ohms law - you are halfway there! Oh, and the resistor colour code - less important now.

ISB123 likes this.
6. ### wayneh Expert

Sep 9, 2010
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3,033
I can't think of a more appropriate time to unleash this, one of my all-time favorites

7. ### NorthGuy Active Member

Jun 28, 2014
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There are two kinds of learning - remembering and understanding. In tests, they often only require remembering. In real life, you only need understanding. If you're asking yourself why do they need to separate real and apparent power, your remembring got way ahead of your understanding. Therefore, your constant thinking is good and, hopefully, will let your understanding catch up with your remembering.

8. ### Nwuyag Thread Starter New Member

Sep 12, 2013
14
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One thing I purposely did not mention is that I an a Nigerian. Maybe cos if fear that my post will be ignored. But thanks to everyone that commented
I also attend a Nigerian university. Everything we are taught is theory. We are not even taught at all, its we students reading Indian books to understand electrical electronics. Its why during my thinking about concepts, I also try to use my head to imagine how the waveforms are because our labs are just about getting readings in a short time, then everyone goes to prepare reports. Its also why I did not know my country's voltage is 230v and its also known as a constant voltage source(in textbooks) till my 3rd year in school.

I intend on specializing in power, but I ve seen that all others are also important. Personally, I want to be the best engineer there is. I don't think there is room for escuse considering the way technology is advancing everyday. I am always looking at people up there as examples to follow. My dad is also and electrical engineer, but we don't talk mutually like that. (African way children are brought up)

I want to know any secret you used to keep making yourself better or any general secret to electrical electronics engineering as a whole irrespective of the resources available.

Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
9. ### Nwuyag Thread Starter New Member

Sep 12, 2013
14
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Just as if you knew what I was going through.
During my thinking, (I am always thinking and doing thoughts examination) I was wandering why I will think I know a formula very well, that I did not cram it, only for me to forget later after the test.

I developed two concepts which I am trying to stand by which are active and passive learning.

The part where one reads a book non-stop is what I call passive learning or just reading.
The part where one stops reading, take a break by making sure that no part of the book or definition, no matter how small is still echoing in the mind. Then the person starts to teach himself the topic by asking questions to himself is what I call studyingth or active learning.
That is what I think you mean by understanding. They can be done at the same time also.

10. ### JDT Well-Known Member

Feb 12, 2009
658
85
Got it in one!

Being an engineer is not all bad. People who can do things - get work!

Nwuygag: No racism here! But you really do need to do some real electronics. If it's hard to get components - you can always find some old junk and take it apart. Older stuff is often better because the components are bigger and easier to use.

11. ### BobTPH Active Member

Jun 5, 2013
782
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I loved this video!

When friends talk about their kid who is going to major in engineering, I ask them if s/he took apart everything in sight as a child. If the answer is no, I shake my head.

Bob

12. ### Nwuyag Thread Starter New Member

Sep 12, 2013
14
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First thing I want to mention here is thank you for taking time to reply.

An example can be drawn from your post.

You mentioned reactance.
The first question that cones to my head is what is reactance?
How did it come about? When you mention ohms with reactance, and I know ohms with resistance, I begin to think of what is the analogy, the relationship, between the two, how does it relate with coils for inductance, how does it relate with magnetic field and so much more. You said voltage leads current, but if you were with me as a paid teacher and it was when I was struggling to find out diagramatically with also its waveforms showing all that when a source is applied and its effect and its behaviour in many circumstances, I won't let you go till you tell me why till I can picture how it makes sense. Atleast, not when you don't carry any threats.

Recently I learnt about the refrigeration cycle, and since I learnt that heat moves from a hotter body to a cooler body,my mind has never stopped thinking about its applications. Like in drying of clothes, liquid moisture on the inner car glass and how it goes off when the ac is on.
Now this is the part that must be ridiculous;
When it still hasnt made full sense, tho I am frequently using a term in a calculation, I begin to wander what was in the mind of whoever that started such tern and why. I somehow feel like someone suffering from a thinking disorder.

13. ### wayneh Expert

Sep 9, 2010
12,094
3,033
No, you're suffering from the lack of formal education in the fields that interest you. That's fixable, and you'll love it. Replacing ignorance with science is extraordinarily satisfying. Maybe moreso when you have "the knack".

Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
14. ### nsaspook AAC Fanatic!

Aug 27, 2009
2,907
2,165
After many years of therapy you can lead a 'almost' normal life.

Nwuyaq you are blessed.

15. ### alfacliff Well-Known Member

Dec 13, 2013
2,449
428
reactance is ac resistance. resistance works in both ac and dc, but if you add "reactive" componants, like inductors and capacitors, they change the overall effect on ac current. smaller values of capactance incrrease reactance, and larger amounts of inductance increace reactance. that oposite effect is very usefull when you understand the reasons for it. frequency changes reactance too, as frequency increases, capacitive reactance decreases. as frequency increases, inductive reactance increases.

Nov 18, 2012
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17. ### Nwuyag Thread Starter New Member

Sep 12, 2013
14
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Thank you bwilliams60. I like hearing from those older than me (in the game).
Thanks to everyone also for contributing.

18. ### ScottWang Moderator

Aug 23, 2012
4,853
767
Studying the EE theories and doing the experiments, studying and doing repeating more and more, buy the EE kits or to making stuffs from the circuits through the internet, although the circuit maybe wrong, learning to fix EE stuffs, try to solve the problem for the members from the simply questions, treating others problem as yours and then to solve them, through solve others problem then you need to reading more and more infos(circuits, datasheet, etc...) and doing the experiments, fixing the errors, and to see other members how they solve the problems.

19. ### WBahn Moderator

Mar 31, 2012
17,716
4,788
We've had a handful of other Nigerian students on the boards and they seem to have faced the same challenges that you are facing -- namely curricula that are not well put together, that don't put much emphasis or opportunity on hands on experience, and a difficulty in getting access to parts and components to play around with on your own. That is a real shame. While you definitely have hurdles and obstacles, they are not insurmountable. As others have indicated, you will likely need to do some exploring of what is available to you through junk yards, repair shops, and even garbage heaps. Also see what is available from online stores that can be delivered to your area.

What you described in your first post -- and the reactions of others -- is quite common for engineers. We tend to have very active and inquiring minds that want to understand the how and why behind the what. We tend to be that way from a very young age and the stereotype of the kid tearing apart everything in the house to see how it works is pretty accurate for many of us. I remember in elementary school, perhaps second or third grade, seeing the rainbow colors in a puddle of water on a street on the way home from school and while most of my friends thought it was interesting and pretty and quickly moved on, another friend and I stayed there for perhaps half an hour talking about how it was possible and what we were seeing. Now, I don't remember what our thoughts on it were and I'm sure we were completely wrong, but couple years later when they talked about how a rainbow is formed my mind immediately went back to that puddle and tried to connect the two. I still didn't get it right, but I knew I was on the right track and so I started pestering my teacher who had me go talk to another teacher who tried to explain thin films to me. I grasped the major gist but it wasn't until high school that I got enough physics to really appreciate what I had first seen a decade earlier. Today, three decades after that, I can't see thin-film rainbow without reliving that progression in my mind.

But most people simply don't work that way, so they don't understand us and are baffled by us. On our honeymoon it took my wife only a few days to develop the habit of lowering her head, shaking it side to side slowly and sadly, and saying softly under her breath, "Engineers!"

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