how to be good at electronics

Discussion in 'Homework Help' started by fez, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. fez

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I'm in my junior year of EE in an american-styled college. Right now I am studying a course of microelectronic circuits, we just covered the diode and are now onto MOSFETs. It's all very exciting and interesting, because these are things I had been seeing in so many electronic, music-related schematics for the last two years.

    But there is a problem. How will I reach the level of actually understanding the circuits as a whole, intuitively? There are still so many components, and it takes me a a while to analyze just a simple diode circuit! How does one analyze complex circuits intuitively without resorting to EDA softwares for simulation? How do you reach that level? I am dying to make my own electronic, music hardware.
    TO2 likes this.
  2. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009
    That's the million dollar question! I have been studying 3 years now as an EE and for anything more complicated than digital logic circuits and simple transistor layouts, I am still at a loss.

    Getting involved with making simple builds every now and then sure helps, but unfortunately, theory is essential, so read as much as you can too.
  3. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    The simple answer isn't going to please, experience. When I was a teen and didn't have a very good grasp I read a lot, my aunt had a box of old Popular Electronics. This counts, and you build on previous experience. You also build kits or your own designs. To paraphrase an old saying, you learn more from your mistakes than your successes.
  4. Rbeckett


    Sep 3, 2010
    Just to give you an idea, I have been working on cars for nearly 30 years and it took a while to get good. As you progress in the field, you will see more and more interesting things that you did not see before. It's kind of like going to Grandma's, you never saw that old race car in the yard till you got interested in cars, now you see em everywhere. I just got started about 6 months ago and I still read and re-read things and find stuff I missed the last time. Patience will make you good, perseverance will make you good quicker. Once you do something for a while the "ahh-hahh" moments come more and more frequently and it all starts to fit together and make more sense. So dont worry about fast, just learn tha basics as good as you can and it wil hapen. Hope this helps.
  5. fez

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Thank you everyone.
  6. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    The more physics you learn, and the better your understanding of "The Big Picture", the more likely the "little parts" will make sense as well. Some people just have the knack, others by rote learning, etc. They all get the big picture part that I've seen. General classes of circuits, why they are needed, etc. A lot of it is the hardest to get: Experience.
  7. Fraser_Integration


    Nov 28, 2009
    I'm in my second year at a UK university and I've come to learn that the Bachelors degree I am taking is a very broad one, in my first year I did Circuit Theory, Digital Electronics, Comms Systems, Mathematics, Electromagnetism, Semiconductors and more, so obviously they didn't take us too deep into each one. It is designed to expose you to a whole bunch of topics and get you familiar with them in just 90 weeks of learning (3 years!)

    I think that to get to the level of some of the posters on this site will take many years dedicated to a certain area, and you'll only achieve that because you have to (work) or because you really enjoy it.

    I personally don't think I'll ever be able to properly describe every transistors job in a 741 but I have a rough idea!!
  8. DickCappels


    Aug 21, 2008
    Go with Bill's explanation. If you love it, you will do it a lot. Eventually, it will become second nature.
  9. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
    What is a "american-styled college"? What other styles are there?
  10. Fraser_Integration


    Nov 28, 2009
    Don't know if it's relevant, but a friend of mine has a girlfriend who did an exchange over in America (we're from UK) for a few months in an Animation course.

    She said that in America, they sort of "teach" you what it is you need to do to solve a certain problem, or start a task or what have you. Whereas in the UK, the onus is on the student to find out how to complete the task that is set.

    I don't agree with it and often find it frustrating when I am given a task and expected to find out how to do it myself (what am I paying the £3300 a year for??).

    Also my Tutor who has worked in America said it is common for students to attain marks of above 90% in their years at university, whereas in the UK getting over 70% is a first class degree. This would seem to correlate with the idea that over here you are sort of left to either sink or swim with the new topics etc.

    Sorry, bit drunk. Merry Christmas forum dudes!
  11. VoodooMojo

    Active Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    as you read the posts on this forum you will see that many of the questions and confusions come from the less glamorous components such as capacitors and resistors. What values to use and what results are to be expected by varying the values.
    weeks worth of back and forth postings deal with the most rudimentary circuits.

    learn by reading, asking, questioning, and experimenting.

    Remember also that one never really knows a subject as well as when he begins to teach the subject.
    So share your knowledge with those that question you. You will be rewarded with the knowledge and wisdom you seek.
  12. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    You could try switching places with me.

    I know everything there is to know about electronic circuits.

    I can just rub my hands over a circuit and almost "braille-like" tell what the circuit is and what values all the components.

    I am just THAT GOOD.

    I have only been studying electronics for fifteen minutes. thats not true at all.

    sorry. Merry Christmas!


    Accept your failures. They are THE BEST WAYS TO LEARN.

    If you put a circuit together and it works.. well great. You can follow directions.

    When It DOESN'T work is when you learn WHY it does what it does.

    You are learning about diodes. With that knowledge, you will also have info on transistors (which are also P-N junctions PNP or NPN) and are a great start.

    Search for answers WELL before asking questions, BUT dont be afraid to ask once stumped.
  13. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    download one of the free spice programs and build some circuits in the virtual world, if you don't have breadboard and components to play with yet.

    Build simple circuits and change values to observe how things are affected by those changes. It is a great substitute for actually tinkering with the physical components, if you have nothing else. And you'll need it soon enough in a double E degree, so learning to use it now will get you one step ahead.
  14. Rio

    New Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    the answer is experience ,,,, first u need to know how to analyze one transistor(BJT , MOSFET ) from good books like ((Electronic devices and circuit theory Boylestad )) or from (( Microelectronic circuits by Sedra Smith )) those r really good books
    second learn how analyze multistage ((it's easy when u r a good at the single stage ))
    u will get it soon ,,, it will be second nature in a while
  15. KC9LGS

    New Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    Hello, I see this question was placed in late 2010 it's now 2012. Hopefully my advice will help you still. There are several steps if you want to become a real good EE. It depends on what walk of life your in. If you want to be really strong there are several important steps to take. But first you must evaluate your present skill level. School is important but may be just a waste due to lack of preparation. Ideally you would have had a Dad that spent tons of time mentoring from your early youth. These make the great EE's. Most of you may not of had it so good. There are very powerful steps you can take to avoid disaster. Before you go to school you may need to home study EE on your own. The old days we would use Heathkits. Heathkits are not strong but had a clear path from DC to Microprocessor. Heath company still has basic EE courses but they took away the meaty courseware. In the past Heathkit path would be DC to AC to Semiconductors to Electronic Circuits to Op Amps, PLL, Active Filters also Digital to Microprocessors, Analog Circuits,and Transistor Circuit Design. These old Heathkits courses can still be found on eBay and they are worth gold if used thoroughly and in order. But they are only a spoon fed path. To put meat on your bones you need to buy Schaum's Outlines not only in Electronics but in math! Can you see sitting at home Saturday night solving thousands of EE and math problems in a Schaum’s book? But if you have the character to do so when you take the college class you might just find yourself making 100% on tough tests. Ok Life style you going to have to make some real changes such as NO: partying, TV, mindless web browsing, and yes NO video games!. IF you can find a dedicated like mined friend or friends to study with that's a plus (unless they drag you off the path). Also, you may want to get involved in amateur radio. You may ask what's EE and high tech about ham radio ?. Well AMSAT, space balloons, Moon bounce (EME), Meteor scatter, Laser comm. and the such. Of course there are many ways of using digital techniques in ham. But far more neglected and brain challenging is the analog side of Ham radio such as: Building amplifiers, Impedance matching, UHF/EHF engineering and much more. Don’t just be digital get the analog side with calculus. EE should be a way a life for family and community not some dead zombie like science.!
  16. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    KC9LGS, I would suggest you go back and edit your post and insert paragraph breaks where appropriate.

    Your post is painful to read.

    It is like having to listen to someone speaking at 200 words per minute non-stop for 10 minutes.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
    KC9LGS likes this.
  17. t_n_k

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 6, 2009
    I would never taken up engineering if I had read that post 40 years ago. My father ditched me & my mother when I was three years old.
  18. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
    Excellent question, with a very simple answer.

    The way to get GOOD at electronics is to just BUILD a lot of circuits. There is no shortcut to this. I was building crystal radios and motors when I was 8 years old. I don't know any other way I would have gotten the intuitive feel for electronics.

    Good luck, my friend!

  19. KC9LGS

    New Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    Hi Mr. Chips, I agree with your assessment. Only one problem- I don't know how to edit my post.
  20. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    You can't until you have made 10 posts, then an edit box will appear under your replies.