Are we having fun yet? What is your view?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by recklessrog, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2013
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    I ask this question after watching the different approaches and aims of the members of my small electronics club.
    We seem to have distinct differences on how the Hobby of electronics is perceived and how to go about achieving a specific end goal.
    Remembering that this is from a hobby perspective, and not to be confused with commercial requirements, it seems that there is almost an indoctrinated view held by some, that unless you are using the latest components and use digital (microprocessors and code) techniques in every possible case, tested with vastly over specified for the job test equipment, then a design is not worth the effort.
    On the other hand, there are those (myself included) who will use what we have to hand and can achieve the same end result.
    Older components are not junk, older test equipment still works (it got us to the moon and through the cold war) so from the hobby perspective, don't dismiss older 'scopes, frequency counters and other test equipment if it will do the job in hand.
    Sourcing parts for a project does not always mean that they must be exactly the same component shown. For instance, a particular transistor may be specified, but in all probability, unless it has some particular characteristic essential for the operation of the circuit, there is every chance that any one of a 100 or so different ones will work.
    Often, an original designer chose one based on what he had available, or cost considerations etc. But having said that, it takes a fair bit of experience to look at a design and know where substitutions are ok and where they are not. R.F stages and power transistors require a good understanding of why one is chosen over another. But when it comes to small signal BJT's don't be afraid to try what you have. Data sheets will show whether there is any major important difference that may or may not be important for a particular use.
    Recovered components from older equipment can become a goldmine for the hobbyist, and experimentation is all part of the fun. As a hobby, we are not under time limits or other constraints when playing, YES playing, keep it fun. Failures, and learning the reasons behind them, can really lead to a wider grasp of what is going on in a design.
    I spent years in development and design, but when I started a service and repair business, I had to learn a whole different approach to working on something that SHOULD work but now was not. Intuition is built up after a few years doing this.

    Well folks, remember that a great hobby should give you enjoyment, yes there will be times of frustration, but it's all part of the game.
     
  2. OBW0549

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 2, 2015
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    Electronics is more fun when it's done for fun; engineering was OK as a profession, but it is a lot more enjoyable as a hobby now that I'm retired.
     
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  3. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I approach it as fun, and write articles because I like to teach, When I started this hobby I made a lot of do nothing projects, then gave them away.
     
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  4. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2013
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    Yes I agree, It was fun as a hobby when I was young, became a means to an end which I was mostly happy with as a career, but enjoyable and fun now I'm retired too.
     
  5. ArakelTheDragon

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2016
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    After some time every profession becomes not fun.
     
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  6. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2013
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    Sometime it was a chore, but looking back, I was involved with many forefront technologies at the time and worked on some exciting projects.
    I would not change much in retrospect.
     
  7. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    Generation-wise speaking, yes, there is an abyss between how the old school (us) and the new school (i.e. millenials) view electronics as a hobby.

    That's the point I'm trying to make in my previous observation. The building blocks of electronics have been snubbed by the newcomers, and have been traded instead for pre-assembled modules and components with the goal of quick, easy to make "projects" that will yield instant gratification to the "hobbyist". That's why I dislike the Arduino fad so much. It's an excellent starting point to get students excited about the fields of robotics and coding (and a little bit of electronics), but often it has the result of inhibiting their desire to "look under the hood".

    I can't say that I entirely blame them. After all, it was the result of what other people were doing that got me interested in the field in the first place. That is, I wanted to build projects, and not just "waste time" understanding the elemental stuff ... What a fool, ha ha ha.... Fortunately, as time went by, I began to realize that I could not go as far as I wanted to if I didn't bother to have a more through understanding of the basics. And after I started aiming for that, things got interesting, and was finally drawn into the deep. You could say that, in my case, it was an acquired taste.
     
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  8. ArakelTheDragon

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    Nov 18, 2016
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    Generation wide speaking (maybe I shouldn't do this since its not topic related): the stupidity only grows, every day I see how the new "experts" with years of experience "just put these things togheter" and it works, after all if it works they are experts, but when it brakes "who sh.t in my pants" its someone elses' fault, after all I am an exptert. On top of that the questions become bolder and since we give the ready known answer, for them it just works....so they can just buld their lego blocks without understanding them. And the hobby part is even worst......Noone understands what NPN transition is. How many "expterts" or "hobbyists" do you think can answer this question?
     
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  9. OBW0549

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    And that instant gratification must be thin gruel indeed when even the code is merely yet another pre-assembled module, downloaded from Github and plugged into the project with little or no understanding of how it works...

    Electronics is a LOT more fun when you understand what's going on under the hood. How enjoyable can it possibly be to someone who is perpetually mystified, frustrated and infuriated by the inscrutable complexities of a simple resistive voltage divider, a pullup resistor, a decoupling capacitor?
     
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  10. nsaspook

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    Aug 27, 2009
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    It becomes routine and just a variation of a theme after a while but it's always fun to see the different ways complex circuits can fail in complex systems where the electronics is just a part of the puzzle.
     
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  11. ArakelTheDragon

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    Nov 18, 2016
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    I love explosions too!
     
  12. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    There are a few lucky people that love their job but that sure is not me.


    While I am not an electronics engineer, I am a software engineer. I have a co-worker that says "Same application just different fields" :)

    Every once in a great while I get a challenge in my job that I enjoy. I also get satisfaction in doing a good job in an application and our customer gets a lot of satisfaction out of what I created.

    But for the most part, I detest my job with every fiber of my being. I count the days till retirement. Praying that I hit even a small amount on the lottery so I can get out early. Parlty it is the boredom that I hate but mostly it is all of the ridiculous policies and procedures we need to adhere. I swear I spend more time adhering to policies then in actual development.
     
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  13. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    You're right about that ... then again, I've always thought that starting from the very basics is a mistake if what one wants is to capture the interest of the student. For example, say you want to teach someone what a car is and how it works. The normal starting point would be to say that a car is an artifact that takes people from point a to point b, and that it normally has four wheels, an engine, and a protected space for its occupants, that it needs a source of energy, and that it needs someone to drive it. I say it would be a huge mistake to begin by explaining what a spark plug is, the energy yield of gasoline when it's burned, the elastic properties of springs, and so on...

    Normally, what a child sees is where he wants to get, but does not consider how to get there. The job of a teacher is to teach the kid the proper way to explore things, and to encourage him/her to find the answers on his/her own. Starting from the very fundamental abstraction of things will probably very quickly bore and discourage him. One has to make a balloon animal to draw his attention first before explaining the chemical composition of latex.
     
  14. OBW0549

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    I certainly agree with that; starting with nothing but circuit theory is not the way to go. Build stuff. Watch it work- or not work. Try to figure out why stuff does what it does. Crack some books, or do some Googling, to supply some of the why. And proceed from there.
     
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  15. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2013
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    Although off topic, you have reminded me of something my father said to me when he was near the end of his life in hospital. I told him how neignbours had admired him through the years, leaving home with his briefcase and trilby hat and and coat, then walking a mile to catch a train into central London where he had worked as a civil servant since being de-mobbed after the war. He surprised me by saying "but I hated every minute of it" I asked him why he had not sought another job and his answer defines the integrity of his sense of responsibility (that is sadly not the case nowadays)....He said "I did it for your mother and you two boys" He accepted his lot and put the security of a job he hated above any personal wishes.
     
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  16. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

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    I don't have anyone but myself. I could probably retire today but might not be able to live the quality of life I want in my retirement.
     
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  17. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Besides, the pressure is off! :cool:
    Max.
     
  18. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2013
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    YES
    :) :)
     
  19. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Mind you.... A little pressure at the time probably stops one getting lazy and an incentive to learn that much more when under the gun!
    Just glad I do not now have to get up at the crack of dawn and fight traffic!
    Max.
     
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  20. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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    Hello,

    Electronics has changed in my job.
    When I started my job about 30 years ago, you would go to the custommer with a box of parts and a scope.
    You would measure where the signal was failing and replaced a part.
    Nowerdays the electronics is so complex that repairs on site are not possible.
    Even the software can tell you wich board or unit is defective.
    You just swap the board or unit and you are finished.

    In my job the fun of electronics is gone, that is why I am active here.

    Bertus
     
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