How to improve and get better understanding in electronics

Thread Starter

kzsolt87

Joined Jul 13, 2023
13
Hi All,

First time posting a thread here, I was mainly just reading different topics here so far (and found them very useful).

I started looking into electronics closer maybe 1 year ago. Since then I built a small home lab with the basic components / tools - mainly around integrating different type of sensors, motors with ESP32 or trying to build new components for my 3d printer. I'm also interested in home automation (hence ESP32).

The question I got is where to get inspiration or what would be a logical next step for me? What are some cool things to put on a breadboard and gives some challenge and can be useful to learn more about the way its working.

I got some understanding on the basic parts (resistor, transistor, fet, leds and basic ICs like 555).

Thanks
Zsolt
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,943
What are some cool things to put on a breadboard and gives some challenge and can be useful to learn more about the way its working.
Pick something that you'd like to learn about and build it.

Do you have an experimenter (solderless breadboards with a power supply and other features)? A member built this and gave it to me when he decided to give up electronics:
homemadeExperimenter.jpg
It's battery operated and has 2 adjustable power supplies based on LM317. The display in the middle was an ammeter that I rewired to be a voltmeter. The batteries are fake 16340's that don't have much capacity, so I added jacks so it can be powered by adapters.
I got some understanding on the basic parts (resistor, transistor, fet, leds and basic ICs like 555).
A pet peeve of mine. Learn how to spell things correctly.

There are many types of FETs. You're probably referring to MOSFET (and enhancement mode at that). Since junction FETs were the first to be made, I always think of JFET when I see FET. I've known engineers who called MOSFETs FETs. They're not wrong, but they're not being very specific. That's like saying "I drive a car". What kind of car do you drive?

Like FET, LED is an acronym, so it's spelled with all caps.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,581
One choice of good reading material will be manufacturer's application notes. Those are intended primarily to help engineers understand how to successfully use products and so usually they explain just how some item and system work. So they are both honest and correct.
Explanations on the cartoon channel are intended to make a profit by having viewers and thus are under no obligation to be correct. So we see fake results and phony data presented along with an occasional correct description.
By "Cartoon Channel" I am referencing the You Tube site, home of a great deal of stuff, with a fair amount of garbage.
 
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dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,943
I suggest you do what Bill Hewlett did when he was working on his master's degree at Stanford. He studied schematics until he understood what every component did. In addition to doing that, you can also try to understand how every component and value was selected because there are usually many components and values that will work.

One of my instructors once used a 1W resistor where it wasn't required because that was what was convenient. The circuit was used in a satellite.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
3,097
If you are serious, it's not about learning; it is about understanding. Do a search for "ESP32 projects" You will find lots of projects with tutorials. The more you experiment, the more you will understand.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,943
Something I do for fun is design counters and decoders for problems students post in the Homework Help forum. I don't show them my solutions, but it lets me talk intelligently about issues they're having and I can check their work.

You'll learn about truth tables, excitation tables, and Karnaugh maps by designing counters.

Another of my pet peeves is that some college professors are teaching students to label flip flops in counters backwards. When I was in school, the letter A was always used to designate the LSB (Least Significant Bit). If you had 2 bits, A was LSB. If you had 4 bits, A was LSB. Now they use A for the MSB (Most Significant Bit), A is 2^3 in a 4 bit counter. But it's 2^2 in a 3 bit counter. It's baffling to me.

I've seen too many YouTube videos with instructors labeling backwards.

For reference, here's some Texas Instruments information from the 1970's:
1705947068364.png
1705947161448.png
1705947143040.png
In the above, you can see from counts other than 0 and 9, that QA is the LSB.

TI 7447 BCD to 7 segment decoder:
1705947583372.png

Motorola MC14511 decoder:
1705947465137.png
 
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MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,581
The reason for the reversed labels is that they are not engineers, but rather writers and MBA types who always start with the assumption that the most significant digit, to the leftmost, is the start of a sequence. That comes from being mostly thinking of DOLLARS.
 
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