help for beginner

Thread Starter


Joined Aug 9, 2006
Hello. I am an absolute beginner. If this is too elementary for this forum, I apologize.

What I would like is forum user recommendations for beginning books and how to do simple electronic projects, and where to buy the supplies.
I wish I had a buddy who could help me, but I don't know anyone.
Thank you for any suggestions.

David Owens:)


Joined Jun 30, 2006
Simplest experiment you can do is a battery, resistor and an LED.
Battery plus to resistor resistor to one lead of LED then other lead to battery. If you hook up the LED right it will light, wrong and it won't.

You can buy from if you have a large order. There's also jameco and others.

Chris Wright

Joined Jul 26, 2006
I am also going through a similar search as I try to refresh my knowledge of electronics. Check out RadioShack even though they are pretty much a joke as an electronics store these days (Allied Radio must be turning over in it's corp. grave). Although some of the smaller RadioShack stores have closed out their hobby component parts sections altogether, the larger ones still have a limited selection of most of the basics, as well as books and hobby kits.

First go to and down load his Circuit Simulator Java Applet so that you can have it open and running offline on your machine as you go through All-About-Circuits. The simulator is animated and has dozens of sample circuits as well as a graphic interface that allows you to build your own circuits. Simpler and cheaper than bread boarding it with real components.


Joined Aug 10, 2006
I am the author of a recently published book of beginning electronics projects in the For Dummies series. I and my co-author tried to include some good basics about getting supplies and setting yourself up, as well as some fun projects that I think fit the bill of what you're looking for. I also co-authored Electronics For Dummies so if you feel you need a grounding in some of the basics of electronics and electricity, that might be a good reference for you as well.

Go to my web site at for some info about the book, which you can buy at any online bookstore such as and Barnes and Noble (you can even buy it on my web site through Amazon).

Let me know what you think of it if you decide to give it a try!


Chris Wright

Joined Jul 26, 2006
The circuit simulator on a is great program. I'm a beginner self learning electronics.

I do need some help getting the applet runnig as a stand alone. Any suggestion are appreciated.
What problems are you having? Is the java script applet not running at all? (You do have Java installed?). Or are you having problems creating your own circuits? There is a link to directions above the download link here: . They are not inclusive, so if you have specific questions feel free to ask.


Joined Dec 1, 2006

The Java script applet is running, have Java installed. I'm able to run and create circuits, however, only while on-line. I would like to be able to operate this program not logged on. Is that possible? Downloaded and unzipped the files. The circuits are text files. Read the cut and paste procedure in the instruction and was sucessful in exporting and importing a curcuit I created. When attempting to open the Circuit.jar file the following error appears: "Failed to load Main Class manifest atribute from C:\...................."

Thanks for the responds,


Chris Wright

Joined Jul 26, 2006
While off line, use your Browser and open the file "Index.html". This will locally load the background page which calls the Applet in a separate window just like when you are online.

Not everything is in the instructions. For instance, the polarity of some devices depend on which way you drag to create the device, like the battery or a diode, so you have to play around with things sometimes.

Here is another site with step-by-step instructions for breadboarding experiments for when you get to that stage:

Scroll down to the heading "Circuit Assembly" and press the "Start" button and it will show you each step.

Here are some web sites full of example circuits:

Bowden's Hobby Circuits:

Circuits by VA3AVR:

Discover Circuits:


Joined Dec 1, 2006
Thanks Chris,

All is working well off-line once I opened the index file first. Since finding this program I've spent much time playing with it and learning. It's fun taking an existing circuit on file and modifying it.

Also downloaded Linear Tech LTspice. This program is more advance than my skill at this time. Made-up a 555 timer ciurcuit with it and have not figured out how to get the scope to operate while running simulation.

Once again, thanks for your help.



Joined Oct 3, 2006
I have been using Java Circuit Simulator for some months ,it has been steep
learning curve for me as my previous electronics experience has been
restricted to turning on appliance switches.
I have questions for Chris,can I save my circuits?,how and why would I use
the Import and Export buttons? and do I need to Install any other Programs
on my computer?:confused:

Chris Wright

Joined Jul 26, 2006
Yes, you can save your work. Most browsers restrict Java access to the Operating System to stop malicious code, so you have to use "Cut and Paste" to Save and Open your work.

To save a circuit, select "file - export" and copy the text file from the window that appears and then save it to a text editor to save it to the hard drive (save it as plain text).

To open a saved circuit, open the file in your text editor and copy it. Open Circuit Simulator and select "file - import". Paste the file into the window and click the "Import" button.