Future of electronics

Thread Starter

Robesim

Joined May 1, 2017
134
I'm a mechanical engineer and i have recently bought two dc powersupplies, two digital multimeters and an oscilloscope to experiment with electronics. Plan is to buy some more devices like a function generator etc. I also bought literature about electronics. Yesterday i saw a youtube film about the decline of hobby electronics.

Link:

I'm not so happy now knowing that i bought stuff and they will probably be useless in a couple of years. I say this because nowadays you only have small SMD devices on pcb's. They are way too small to work on. There are not much individual components on pcb's anymore. All the components are packed in a small black package (microcontrollers etc) and the small packages are more and more custom made for a specific device, like a TV or so. I think it's very difficult and useless to troubleshoot individual SMD components. In most cases you can replace the whole (very cheap) pcb board. There are also not much shops anymore that sell electronic components. At some point they will stop making through the hole components. In five years i think you will not find individual transistors or capacitors on a pcb board anymore. If you find them, they will be so small. Question is, do i have to invest in more equipment if troubleshooting and repair is, replacing pcb boards and modules in future.

Many thanks
 
Last edited:

BR-549

Joined Sep 22, 2013
4,938
I don't know what you are planning.........but one can not make a living repairing electronics.

Unless the zombies attack.
 

Thread Starter

Robesim

Joined May 1, 2017
134
Yes i also came to the conclusion that repair electronics for a living is a waste of time. My point is that in the next few years you can not order individual components anymore. So experimenting will come to an halt and therefore there is no need to buy more equipment. I want to know where electronics is going to. What is the trend? Will there still be individual components like resistors, transistors or will they disappear.
 

BR-549

Joined Sep 22, 2013
4,938
You will still have components. But what you say is very true. I can't and therefore don't play with the new stuff. I'm like you....it's too small for me. But some people can. Most won't.

So unless I can get the new chips pre-mounted on a board....I have to stick to the old stuff.

Most of the designing is done on a computer now. And they are putting many more functions in a smaller and low power package.

Trouble shooting systems will still be required.......but not at a component level. You just replace the sub-system now.

But it is the best time in the world for hobbyist and experimenters. It's growing. Big time. Just think robots and drones.
 

shteii01

Joined Feb 19, 2010
4,644
The trends are:
1. as you noted smd components,
2. prototyping on computer using free or cheap software (the software piracy is forcing software companies to offer cheaper smaller/limited packages that average human in developed country can easily afford),
3. rapid and cheap prototype manufacturing by professional third party (you don't build prototypes yourself anymore, you send the files to professional pcb manufacturer and they mail you the boards, again, a citizen of developed industrial nation can afford this service)
3a. the part that is still developing as we speak is the delivery of the boards to the customer, most manufacturers that build pcb for hobbyist are still use slow shipping where you will wait a month to get your prototypes from China, but it is slowly changing.
4. wider use of bluetooth and wifi microcontrollers (ESP8266 for wifi and similar)
 

shteii01

Joined Feb 19, 2010
4,644
The thing that you can do is the replacement of bad caps on motherboards and power supply boards for monitors and flat screen tvs.

I have two motherboards that I need to change a couple of caps. I plan to do it myself as a learning experience.
When a person spent 200 or more USD on a mobo, spending another 20 to replace a cap or two (when they go bad) is nothing.

TVs are more complicated. There are a lot of cheap ones and just buying another is easy as walk to walmart. On the other hand, you can pick up the broken tvs, replace the caps on power board because that is usually what goes bad, then sell tv for half or third of retail.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,980
Yes i also came to the conclusion that repair electronics for a living is a waste of time. My point is that in the next few years you can not order individual components anymore. So experimenting will come to an halt and therefore there is no need to buy more equipment. I want to know where electronics is going to. What is the trend? Will there still be individual components like resistors, transistors or will they disappear.
A waste of time?
Unlikely, even if all production was stopped (there is still a huge market for individual components) the NOS will last for a very long time like tubes. This is the golden age for hobby electronics if you take the time to use and understand modern parts and controllers and boards (there are through-hole adapters for most SMD chip).
https://www.digikey.com/products/en?k=LCQT+Series
There is also a huge stockpile of older electronics to be experimented on.
 

hobbyist

Joined Aug 10, 2008
889
My hobby in electronics is all about designing circuits at the discreet level.

I made some videos of how I like to take computer functions that are done with integrated circuits, and design from scratch, using all transistors and discreet components and emulate the results as if it was being done with commercial chips.

Here is a link to the videos of my electronic projects, as a circuit designer at the HOBBY level.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyNw71EW69pbCgutwck7hywMYl_UGpjcH

Here is a series of videos of an emulation of a tabletop game I made.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyNw71EW69pYIs08IfsZROpOEy-3NlIMY

This is a series of videos from start to finish of designing my speed controle for my mini lathe.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyNw71EW69pZ3Gr4xf4Sr5qXrqcIVt2uA

This is a series explaining the design of emulating a computer Master - slave flip flop register.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyNw71EW69pa9PPZYWGaMSdV2skMKUwNI

A binary Up- down counter emulating a commercial IC counter.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyNw71EW69pY31eK9FaMYosD8gfAF5kPE

I can design from scratch using all discreet components shift registers binary up down counters, all the configurations of a JK flip flop register, I design my own RAM.s using SCR's and transistor gatings to form input and output functions, these discreet component circuits will keep you busy for ages if it's done for a hobby, because since the discreet components are not on the same substrate, means you have to use your own ingenuity of how to make it work, to get commercial results.

I'm in the process of designing an emulation, of making a cursor move all around the array of a 8x8 LED grid, by combining my discreet component up down counters, with subsequent circuitry, where by using my SCR base RAM.s I'll be able to move the LED cursor on the grid with a homemade joystick hit a button to turn on that LED and emulate a drawing program where I can draw by turning on LED's and erase by turning off the LED's where ever I move the LED cursor to.

Using all discreet components I was able to delve into learning how to design and build from scratch my own version of a PWM with torque feedback speed controle, that I am now using on my commerecial mini lathe, and I'm getting the same results in speed controle and torque controle as I did with the commercial boards I had to purchase. Again all done with transistors and discreet components. To build this using IC's would have been a day or two to design and complete.

But by doing it with all discreet components, I had to prototype every circuit stage to design it from scratch, test and retest redesign until I got the ultimate design for that stage, then you need to make these stages work together, so now you do extrensive research on impedance matching and you delve into circuit configurations that work together, that takes time in the hobby as well, this turned out to be about a good amount of time to come up with the final product.

However because it is all done by discereets, I can tell you exactly why each component is there and the purpose for every component, in the entire system, because I have all the schematic and calculations to look back on. I can successfully design a motor speed control for a 100 VDC motor that is used on my machines, from a package of resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistors, and the enjoyment of research into the subject and designing, prototyping, each circuit and have the results of a fully functioning project all designed from scratch.

So in conclusion you can spend years in this as a HOBBY trying to design circuits using all discreets to get the results of what IC's accomplish.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,410
In five years i think you will not find individual transistors or capacitors on a pcb board anymore. If you find them, they will be so small. Question is, do i have to invest in more equipment if troubleshooting and repair is, replacing pcb boards and modules in future.
It depends on your objective and needs.

I personally have dozens of pieces of test equipment from the 70's. Most function like new and they contain many discrete components. I have service manuals for everything, and my plan is to use them until I am no longer physically able to...

Many things are throw away these days. When a video card goes out in my computer, I replace it because repair isn't viable. But that isn't new and doesn't just apply to electronics. When I bought my first house, the dishwasher didn't work. When the home warranty company found out how much the repair would cost (a significant fraction of the price for a new one), they asked me if I wanted to just take the money and apply it to the purchase of a new one.
 
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