Learning electronics

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by horsebox, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. horsebox

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 9, 2007
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    I've been learning electronics for a while now and I'm having some problems. All I've been learning so far is theory and its starting to bore the living spit out of me. I'm having a hard time learning now because I haven't been able to put any of this theory into practice. Without an even balance of learning and putting what I learn into action I'm having a hard time retaining what I learn and I'm stuck. Some things I just can't figure out because I know nothing about real life circuits. For example no matter how many explanations of it I read I still can't understand what the heck a transistor does.

    Have any of you here had similar difficulties if so how did you get around this obstacle? Should I go out and buy an electronics kit and start playing around with real life circuits?
     
  2. Management

    Active Member

    Sep 18, 2007
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    I had that same problem. People who stupid, for example, Mechanical Engineering find it easier to understand the concepts because the can make physical representations in their head. It is hard to visualize current running through a gate when your first learn about it.

    At first you should just absorb as much as the theory as you can and then sort it out when you do indeed get some hands on lab experience.

    BTW the way, how long is a while? You have not been talking any lab courses at all?

    Dru
     
  3. horsebox

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 9, 2007
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    No I've just been reading e-books and tutorials for a couple of months. I've been learning chemistry and physics at the same time though so I'm not devoting all my spare time to just electronics. The main problem is it gets extremely boring just reading theory all the time. I think I need to practice with working circuits to respark my interest in the theory of it all. I understand everything up to transistors. I really can't understand what the helck they're all about no matter how many explanations I read on them. People always give explanations about amplification and talk about transistors using a small current to control a larger current. That I understand but since I've never dealt with actual circuits I can't see how this is useful.

    What seems to happen all the time is I tend to overcomplicate the equations in my head. I look at the equations and I can't understand the authors explanation of it so I draw my own conclusions about what the equation means and usually come up with this ridiculously complicated idea of it then when I look at the equation being applied in a real life example I realize how simple it was.

    I may not be that smart but thats not going to sway me from becoming an electrical engineer. I have a natural talent for mathematics so I can use that to my advantage seeing as electronic theory is riddled with mathematical equations. Chemistry too for that matter. Judging by my difficulties learning these subjects I don't know whether to put it down to a lack of intelligence or a concentration problem or both but if I do lack the intelligence of most people in these fields I'll just have to work twice as hard as them to get as far.
     
  4. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Do you not have a local Maplins-type store where you can buy a small electronics kit? Or an outlet for buying components? Then you could have a look at our Experiments section in the e-book and build some practical circuits based on your theoretical learning.

    Dave
     
  5. RiJoRI

    Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2007
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    Let me just say that there is nothing like putting an ohmmeter across a 100 ohm resistor and seeing it read 92 Ohms! You experience the concept of 100 Ohms +- 10% unlike reading will ever give you.

    --Rich
     
  6. horsebox

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 9, 2007
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    I don't know about Maplins Dave but theres a radioshack down the road and they have electronics kits but they charge $80 for them. I don't have that much money to be spending on it. I plan on majoring in chemistry so thats my priority. All my money goes into lab equipment at the moment. I do have a multimeter though so at the very least I can test out things like Kirchoffs laws for myself.
     
  7. horsebox

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 9, 2007
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    Another quick question. How long did it all of you to become advanced in electronics to the point of being able to build any circuits that you have the schematics for?

    I may be rushing myself too much by trying to learn all these subjects as quick as possible. When I take my time and learn in a relaxed manner I grasp all the concepts easily.
     
  8. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
    4,670
    804
    You don´t need almost anything from electronics to build a kit with parts and PCB, just a bit of soldering practice.
    On a breadboard, simple circuits are as easy as reading a schematic.
    I think it´s about the time to stop reading theory and start building some circuits, like 555 flashers and LM386 speakers and so on.

    When you feel like doing more complex circuits or getting further in the theory, just experiment some more :)

    There really is no better way to get in your mind that a MOSFET has high gate capacitance, than really playing with a FET and a LED to see that the transistor really holds ON without anything connected to the gate.
     
  9. Tristy-Poo

    New Member

    Feb 12, 2008
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    Hi horsebox!

    Just thought i'd reply with a couple of possible ideas to help you along...

    A few years ago i started out in electronics and looked at what i thought might be quite "fun" to experiment with. Like LED flashers and chasers which got me more and more interested. but whatever your interested in doing there are huge amounts of schematics on the net to help you along the way.

    The place you could possibly get bulk packs of resistors and leds is ebay (www.ebay.com). As i buy just about all my stuff off there, they also sell lots of other equipment that could help you get started.

    I wouldn't say i'm advanced in electronics as i guess it just depends on how confident you feel. However on the subject of just following any schematic off the net i would say it doesn't take long at all. The only things that take time are learning the symbols and playing it smart (testing stuff before you press the on button!) to avoid any nasty suprises.

    anyhow.. Take your time and enjoy yourself!
    Trist
     
  10. Firestorm

    Senior Member

    Jan 24, 2005
    353
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    You can always use simulators to do most projects and see if they work right. You can even post pics of them on here for help easily with the Print Screen key.
     
  11. arthur92710

    Active Member

    Jun 25, 2007
    307
    1
    My school is pretty cool. they give us 2 periods of engineering. for the first one we learn the theory then we go to the lab and get the hands on part. We don't use actual components, we have like a trainer board with components in it and all you do is connect the wires.

    If you have a good idea of electronics so far you should learn about the different ic's(you dont have to memorize the part # but just what they do). As some people posted you can build a few simple circuits. Then you can try to design some thing. (I chose to design a binary clock It does not have many parts and its pretty easy, but it will help you a lot. also when you build it and hang it on the wall and some one comes over they will be like whats that? and you can say a clock! It will make you feel smarter :)!!!

    *EDIT* tristy-poo has recommended ebay, its a great place, but be careful of shipping costs and dont buy more then you will ever need, I have like 300 leds and nothing to do with them.(I will build a few of those binary clocks i mentioned earlier.)
     
  12. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    There are people on here who will tell you after 40 years experience they are still learning things. The question might be, how long was you formal electronics-specific education (college, university), and that personally for me was 10 years.

    Dave
     
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