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Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by SlowCoder, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. SlowCoder

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 25, 2012
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    Hey all! My first post, and it should be an intro!

    Since I was a kid, I was interested in electronics. My father and I bought a Radio Shack ???-in-one electronics lab back in the early/mid 80's to tinker. I had fun putting together experiments. But I never really grasped how the circuits I built worked.

    Zip forward 25 years ... I'm married with kids. I have all kinds of hobbies, ranging from cars to retro video gaming, to working on anything mechanical, to stained glass. Oh, and family falls in there somewhere. :p I've decided that I want to finally learn more about electronics, and eventually learn to build my own circuits. I know how to read and build from schematics, but just as when I was a kid, I don't really understand the relationships between all of the components.

    To start myself out, I've read through "Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest M. Mims, the book my father bought me when I was a child.

    Now I'm reading through "Make: Electronics", which I'm finding immensely helpful in understanding electronics, considering that I have a deficit in retaining read information. The book is quite hands-on and illustrated, which helps. But I'm sure for a long while, I will have MANY questions.

    Hope you're ready! ;)
     
  2. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    Welcome to the forums!
    We always welcome new members and their questions :)
     
  3. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    We have similar backgrounds in some ways, the 200 in 1 set is what got me really going into electronics. Still have yours?
     
  4. SlowCoder

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 25, 2012
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    How I wish I did! I don't remember the number of projects in the kit, but I believe I remember it had a wood case, rather than the plastic ones I see everywhere. I could be wrong on that detail. Early-mid 80's, and I was probably about 10. I have looked on eBay, but I haven't seen one like what I remember.


    Wow! I just went back to eBay, and I swear this is the one!
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-Science...194?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20c3f5ff02
    I'm taking a Darnitol pill right now, because I haven't got the cash to buy it!
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  5. Sparky49

    Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Welcome!!!
     
  6. Blofeld

    Active Member

    Feb 21, 2010
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    Welcome, SlowCoder !

    Not my first, but my favourite one: Kosmos Elektronik Labor E200, found it with google (using the picture option, didn't remember the name).

    http://www.experimentierkasten-board.de/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=243
    (if you scroll down a bit you can see some pages from the manual)

    First time I came in contact with an op amp (LM324). I had much fun and learnt a lot. Generally speaking I think I owe more to the Kosmos company than to the German school system :rolleyes: And to my Grandpa who subscribed to the German edition of Scientific American.
     
  7. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    2,428
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    Welcome to AAC, SlowCoder! :)

    My background is similar to yours, minus the wife/kids and a dad who was helpful :p

    I started back when I was about 12 years old, throwing together circuits with junk I had laying around. One of my favorite activities back in the day (and still today) was/is to open up old electronics and see what I could get out of them :D

    You're in good company, SlowCoder, and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future!

    Kind regards,
    Der Strom
     
  8. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    While Radio Shack is a good source of parts I do not recommend them due to an extreme markup of prices. There are many place you can buy the same parts even after shipping for a fraction of the prices.

    Look at the text book on top of the page. Volume 6 is a set of practical experiments. I've written a few myself, mostly on a general purpose chip called a 555.

    If you want to get your feet wet just ask for help.
     
    DerStrom8 likes this.
  9. SlowCoder

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 25, 2012
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    Yep, that was actually one of my first questions. :)

    I tried to peruse some of your texts today between work, and it really appears quite well done! I'm impressed.

    Oh, don't you worry about that. I will. :p
     
  10. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,442
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    I remember my first kit as a teenager. It was from Philips and cost a bundle as far as I can recall. It had AF116 and AC126 transistors. It used those spring clips and you assembled the circuits over a cardboard underlay that had the components printed on it.
    You could build a radio, amplifier, burglar alarm - that's all I can remember for now.
    I seem to recall using OC44, OC45, OC71 and OC72 transistors somewhere.
    I know what these do. OC44 is a RF mixer/oscillator, OC45 is an RF amp, OC71 is the driver for the push-pull OC72 output amp.
    I must have built a radio with these in a previous life sometime.

    I just found a photo of the same kit and a good description of it here:

    http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/philips_ee_20_ee20.html

    This was a great joy for me and launched my career in electronics.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  11. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    My first electrical project was with mains voltages @ 8 years old. I took apart a smokeless ashtray that the lady at the resale shop gave me, and I removed the motor & fan blade & mounted them inside a wooden strawberry crate surrounded in chicken wire. Power was switched with a 12VDC toggle switch I ripped out of the dash of my dad's derelict truck. It was my "desk fan", and looking back on it, I'm luck to be alive - If my parents had any idea what I was doing, they would have killed me.
     
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  12. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Hahaha, come to think of it, I actually started when I was 6 or 8 years old. I was just never really serious about it until I was 12. I was throwing all sorts of scary things together. I think the stupidest thing I ever did, I did when I was 11 or 12. I was trying to make an ignition coil driver, and I had no clue what I was doing. I had seen a circuit somewhere that used a dimmer switch and capacitors, so I thought I'd try to set it up so that I didn't need the dimmer. I tore a couple of 600v caps off a circuit board (didn't realize until later that they were DC), connected them in series with my coil and something I found laying around for a resistor "to limit the current". Then I just plugged the whole thing into the wall socket :eek:

    Nothing happened at first, so I decided to take out the "resistor" and just touch the two contacts together (two nails on the wire). Boy did I get a surprise! :D:p

    I've done some really stupid things in my day. I'm lucky I'm still alive. Of course, you guys are all lucky I'm alive too, or you wouldn't get to hear all my stories about me being stupid! :D:D:D
     
  13. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    the difference between you and me is that you knew what capacitors, ignition coils, AC, DC, and circuit boards were. :) All I knew is that electricity flows through wires.
     
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  14. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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  15. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I think everyone here has something they did when they were young that was stupid. It is a miracle we grow up.
     
  16. SlowCoder

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 25, 2012
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    Ain't it the truth?
    I knew what electricity was from a very young age. About 4 or 5. I literally did the fork in the socket. Once. One time. Never again.
    We also had an electric fence for our horses, and I can't remember (there's probably a reason why) how many times I accidentally touched that.

    But I can't stand up to what you guys are talking about having built. I guess with my experiences I knew not to try something with electricity without asking first. :p
     
  17. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    My first electronics kit was a set of building blocks - literally - with components inside. The sides of the blocks had embedded magnets in them, which were used to connect the componenet together into circuits. Wiring was then just arranging the building blocks in the correct order. I forget the name of the kit, so if anyone else knows, I'd appreciate you sharing it.
     
  18. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Sounds a lot like a Snap Circuit. I've seen those around. They've come a long way from when I first saw them, though :D

    Here's another newer version: http://www.ecnmag.com/uploadedImages/ECN/Articles/2011/05/DSC01847-web.jpg
     
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