# favourite bits

#### Neil Groves

Joined Sep 14, 2011
125
What are your best and worst aspects of our past time/hobby?

my Fav bit is de-bugging, in fact i am disappointed sometimes when i buiold something and it works first time, i find de-bugging very intriguing, and i get really excited when i find an error, especially the bit where i repair the error and switch the power back on ( i know....just the little things )fortunately i do make many errors at the moment

My least fav bit is casing the finished circuit in a suitable enclosure, that to me is boring!

Neil.

#### thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,359
I like building and troubleshooting.

Programming is good too. (PIC, PICAxe)

Enclosures also bug me, the stock injection molded look too generic, or are the right shape but wrong size, or are just too expensive.

Robotics/electromechanical is what I do for "fun", the enclosure pretty much builds itself.

#### Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,164
I like the design phase myself. I love it if a project works first time. Then I move on to the next one. I also like to write. You'll see my articles scattered here and there on the site. Some of it has wound up in the book on top of the page.

Joined Dec 26, 2010
2,148
Among the necessary but less pleasant aspects of this hobby is learning about things that can't be done, or inconvenient things that can't be avoided. This includes understanding parasitic effects that limit the use of some component types and value ranges. This can lead to disappointment, for instance if a simulation seems to show that a proposed circuit would work, but it later turns out that circuit values it is using are unattainable, for instance a 1H choke with less than 1pF parasitic capacitance.

Among the things that can't be avoided, systems require suitably rated components, and care is needed to avoid them exceeding their ratings This leads to things needing to be done which newcomers sometimes may want to avoid, such as fitting heat sinks to high-dissipation parts, or using resistors to stabilise LED currents. I would say that the bottom line is that if you want reliable results, it's best to play it by the rules!

#### tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
My favorite part is seeing theory and specifications play out in the form of working circuirts. For example, when I read a technical explanation, it often doesn't make sense after one reading. In some cases, I have to read it multiple times before it sinks in. Then, when I breadboard it and see it work, I have the classic "ah-hah" moment. That's the best part.

My second favorite part is being able to see a schematic, recognize the components, segment the schemtic into functional areas, and have a basic idea of how it works. Of course, at my current rudimentary knowledge level, that doesn't happen nearly often enough.

My least favorite parts are (1) trying to understand formulas that don't have worked examples, (2) trying to understand data sheets that have unexplained abbreviations, and (3) getting conflicting information about how components and circuits work, and being unable to rationalize the differences.

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#### GetDeviceInfo

Joined Jun 7, 2009
1,737
I like it all, from comprehending the need, formulating a practicle solution, translating that into circuits/software/mechanical, fabricating/outsourcing, commissioning, training users. I don't mind panel work at all, gives me time out to relax. Actually, panel layout can be very involving, planning for ease of operator use, safety, isolation, ability to upgrade and ease of troubleshooting.

Personally though, my fav is troubleshooting on a broad scale. When I get called out, I'll evaluate the process, interogate to uncover the real problem, isolate to confirm, recommend appropriate corrective action. It's easy if it's an electrical or mechanical fault. It becomes harder when it's a missapplication. If seen my share of stressed engineers.

#### Neil Groves

Joined Sep 14, 2011
125
The other thing that bugs me is building a circuit from a magazine, thinking it must work co's it's published, then it doesn't and when you investigate it online you find there were errors in the schematic that i didn't notice at the time or that i am not experienced enough to fix.....waste of time!

thats where you guys come in though ;-)

Neil.

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
21,880
Two parts I do not enjoy is the physical construction, getting every thing to fit nicely in a box in a way that it can be easily serviced.

The other part is sourcing all the components. With all the variations of components available it takes a long time to choose the right one. It takes me half a day (3-4 hours to place a medium size order.)

The part that I enjoy the most is designing from scratch, using the top-down approach and testing all the components and code from bottom-up - what I call system design.

#### Neil Groves

Joined Sep 14, 2011
125
oh yes....component sourcing, one other thing i hate, so time consuming.

Terry.

#### jaygatsby

Joined Nov 23, 2011
182
Personally, 0 and 1 are my favorite.

#### praondevou

Joined Jul 9, 2011
2,942
Personally, 0 and 1 are my favorite.
LOL

I like

1. troubleshooting
2. designing
3. building a prototype
4. sourcing components

I don't like

1. correcting the fault I found on the other 200 units that have the same problem
2. putting a device I built in an enclosure
3. analyzing horribly page long formulas

#### thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,359
1. correcting the fault I found on the other 200 units that have the same problem
I don't think anybody would put that on their "like" list. That's a pure headache, either removing 12-150 fasteners, swapping one or two components, cutting a trace and adding a jumper, then putting it back together. Repeat a few thousand times (did that for a bit working with glow cube displays at Daktronics during college)

#### Lundwall_Paul

Joined Oct 18, 2011
226
What bothers me is the cost of a good Oscilloscope. I still don't have one.

#### EB255GTX

Joined Apr 30, 2011
62
I like seeing 10000's of a product roll off the line and knowing that I designed (or had a part in designing) that product. Same goes for when you notice one of your products somewhere around the world - this happenned to me again just recently when poking around in the back of a server rack somewhere.

I DON'T like the "make it lower cost at the expense of performance/MTBF/specs" part of the job. When you have an elegant design and have to cripple it to meet a cost it just seems wrong.

#### EB255GTX

Joined Apr 30, 2011
62
What bothers me is the cost of a good Oscilloscope. I still don't have one.
Have you google "rigol scope" ..... i have several. They are not an Agilent or Tek by any means, but more than adequate for most hobbyists and very affordable. HTH

#### Neil Groves

Joined Sep 14, 2011
125
What bothers me is the cost of a good Oscilloscope. I still don't have one.
I was dismayed when i first looked at scopes, i thought $700-$1000 i'll never be able to afford one, and even if i could i could never get it passed management (the wife) but then i realised i didn't need an all singing all dancing toy, so i ended up getting a B&K 2020 for \$330, ok it's not a fancy super speedy storage scope, but works fine for me and what i need to do (audio work and experimental circuits to learn) and after i started using it i wondered how i ever managed without one, fault diagnosing electronics circuits without an ocilloscope is the equivalent of trying to get home from the pub in total darkness without a torch, you kind of know where you are going but you really can't be sure!

save up and get a cheap one, you won't regret it Paul.

Neil.

#### nerdegutta

Joined Dec 15, 2009
2,676
I like the PCB design in EAGLE. Especially if we're two, and together end up with a nice board.

Making enclosures is also fun, but that's up until when I have to wait for the glue to dry... (I work with wood and plywood). When it's dry, I happen to find myself way too long into another project. Sometimes I don't manage to drag my butt back to the wood-workshop at all. But those projects are most often what I call "idle-project". Things and stuff to try out, that aren't really important...

#### K7GUH

Joined Jan 28, 2011
190
Worst bit: a piece of equipment inconvenient or impossible to work on. I have two perfectly good o'scopes with noisy controls. In order to get at the controls to de-OX them, I would have to disassemble 1/3 to 1/2 the 'scope to clean the controls, then reassemble everything and pray that I hadn't made the problem worse. Grrr. Grumble, snap, snarl, growl.

#### Neil Groves

Joined Sep 14, 2011
125
Worst bit: a piece of equipment inconvenient or impossible to work on. I have two perfectly good o'scopes with noisy controls. In order to get at the controls to de-OX them, I would have to disassemble 1/3 to 1/2 the 'scope to clean the controls, then reassemble everything and pray that I hadn't made the problem worse. Grrr. Grumble, snap, snarl, growl.
Have confidence in your abilities, sit down at the bench with a cup of tea and at least half a day to spare and have a go at one, when you reassemble and use your scope for the first time after your over haul and delight in your improvements, you'll feel great and want to do the other one as well

Neil.