New to Electronics- Suggestions

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by sjrobinson, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. sjrobinson

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 1, 2014
    14
    0
    So I just joined but have been interested in electronics for a while. I had to learn some things when my car started having electrical issues. And that sparked my interest. Pun intended... or maybe not.

    I mess around with my car and have been able to put together basic things. I wired a remote starter and alarm for my car as well as some LED's and messed around with the stereo.

    So my main interest is in 12v DC circuits. I bought a breadboard and some basic electrical components to play with but I'm wondering where to go from here.

    I've been looking up some schematics on voltage switches to tweak my car's sensors under different conditions.

    So I have a soldering iron, leds, breadboard, 555 timer, capacitors, resistors, switches, relays, transistors, etc. What are some components that I should get familiar with? And what more should I buy?

    Thanks
     
  2. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,647
    2,346
  3. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,520
    2,369
    Usually it is the other way around, IOW, your equipment and components are driven by the area/circuits that interest you, otherwise just buying on spec, you are liable to end up with a lot of useless or unused inventory.
    Max.
     
  4. redplaya

    Member

    Jan 26, 2014
    30
    1
    Well if you're sticking with DC it eliminates a lot of electronics and things to be aware of. But what may make your head spin is that even basic DC circuits have AC dynamics/transients. Transitions of DC states will play by your circuits poles and zeros. I have been doing this all my life (magna cum laude at OSU, visits at MIT, designed circuits in the industry, etc.) and the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know ha.

    Back to your question, the best EE can do more with less. Lesson number one, the best designed amplifier is essentially the best designed switch. If you can explain why I'll give you another one to chew on with some more advice.
     
  5. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,100
    3,034
    I'm with Max; don't buy anything until you have a goal. Many beginners get started with a LM317 voltage regulator. Combined with an old computer PSU, this can give you a very nice variable voltage supply for a lab bench, for your breadboard. Then you might like to learn about making a constant current power supply, and then maybe how to use PWM to dim an LED or control a DC motor.

    Point is, what you buy depends on what you want to do, and what you might already have in a junk drawer. You DO have a bunch of components pulled out of discarded electronics, don't you? :D
     
  6. redplaya

    Member

    Jan 26, 2014
    30
    1
    Yea I agree with these guys too, do yourself a favor, download LTSpice and simulate things you want to build and build on your understanding of how hat circuit would work mathematically without having to buy anything.

    Once you're comfortable you know what your doing for that designed project, research for parts you want (I bounce between MOUSER and DIGIKEY) and give it a go.

    Once you've done a few projects youll have parts to tinker as you simulate
     
  7. sjrobinson

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 1, 2014
    14
    0
    Thanks for the responses.

    @bertus- I didn't notice that specifically. Which is a shame but I am still hoping to learn. I'll take a look at the terms and see but does that mean any mods or just ones that tinker with emissions and therefore could be illegal in some states?
    And I did try a 555 timer once I got my breadboard kit. It was fun switching out capacitors and resistors to see the differences. Now I'm looking for more things to build that can get me acquainted with the building blocks of electronics.

    @MaxHeadRoom- I started out with a breadboard kit and liked testing the components in it. I'd like to buy components based on specs but then I need projects. I'm wondering how to work around mentioning automotive based devices now ;P

    @redplaya- AC, I understand the basics of and would like to learn more about too. It just seems to me that DC is simpler for beginners. Researching different components I realize that I haven't even scratched the surface. Reading up on ICs makes my head spin.
    As for your lesson... I'm trying to not overthink it. An amplifier should be able to completely restrict current flow or voltage as well as increase it? Just like a switch shuts off a circuit?

    I have looked into software that can simulate circuits too. Thanks for the suggestion though. I'm messing around with this and its the best free one I've used so far in that it has a variety of components and pretty simple to use. I've seen the word SPICE thrown around with the programs. What exactly is that?

    @wayneh
    - I've looked a bit into voltage regulators too. And I've definitely been wanting to make a power supply for my testing. I'd prefer to make a 120v ac to 12v dc supply. I actually made a PWM yesterday. It was influenced by what I've done with wiring for an HHO system and although I bought a PWM for it a while ago, I decided to try to make one.
    I have been collecting a few things here and there too. I had a defective car alarm system that I kept the components for. So far I've just removed a relay and a pot from it but there are a few IC's that I don't know what to do with as well as a remote and receiver.




    So I think a power supply does seem like a good start. My breadboard is a cheap little chinese one though. Whats a good yet inexpensive breadboard to look for?

    I'm pretty open to any small projects though. What did you guys start with that you found interesting?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  8. redplaya

    Member

    Jan 26, 2014
    30
    1
    as far as the board goes, back when I was in college, everyone was issued a Jameco (Value Pro).

    as far as software goes, I've used a lot of programs and ended up meeting with the designers of LTSpice to learn about their products (interesting people). It is the easiest program to use and can do a lot of need things most people don't know about.

    SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis)

    As far as the switch and amplifier, an amplifier IS a switch but operated in the transition (large slope). The larger the slope, the higher the gain of the amplifier (larger transconductance ). Ideally the best switch goes from point A to point B faster. Therefore the best designed amplifier is in fact the best designed switch.

    If you're interested, go ahead and look up what a Schmidt trigger is. If there is a lot of noise in a system (high noise floor), maybe sometimes you want some built in hysteresis to your switching devices. Very easy to implement and fun to build.
     
  9. sjrobinson

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 1, 2014
    14
    0
    I have to apologize in advance if I have a lot of questions. I feel like a kid in a candy store when it comes to this kinda stuff.

    Ok. I've looked around the Jameco website several times. They're pretty persistent as I even get their catalog in the mail >.> There is also the only electronic hobby store left around here that has a HUGE inventory of stuff. It was so hard to find. I saw a breadboard there too.

    ill look into a Schmitt trigger as well.

    One thing thats on my mind is a voltage controlled switch. Much like other things I've seen schematics for (like PWMs) there are complex ones and simple ones. I'm not sure what the differences are if they all do the job...

    I found the link below but I'm a bit confused (Ignore the reference to a car battery I suppose). I'm looking to make a switch that triggers a relay when a circuit reaches 4 volts (without losing the 4 volts as they fluctuate between .5 and 4.5v and need to continue to an input). From the circuit I can see that there are two op-amps.
    Would I be able to remove one and just use a single one for a single 'condition'? And is the condition through which the switch will activate determined by the type of op-amp or the resistor? These are the questions that haunt me...
    http://www.zen22142.zen.co.uk/Circuits/Switching/comparator.htm


    Edit:
    Hows something like this?
    http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10001_10001_20758_-1
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  10. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,520
    2,369
  11. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,647
    2,346
  12. sjrobinson

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 1, 2014
    14
    0
    Thanks. Those links are valuable, I bookmarked them. One even has GIFs. I love those :D
     
Loading...