How to learn electronics ?

Thread Starter

Xenon02

Joined Feb 24, 2021
355
I'm actually learning electronics since technical school and now I'm in 1st year at university.

I've learned alot of stuff, but the information I get usually confuses me.
I was trying to learn from books, from teachers, from forums. But electronics itself is really hard. When I learn new stuff I find something that doesn't give me a break like "what if". Problems with calculating non linear resistance by using norton thevenin or problems with understanding how in one condition something works one way but somehow when I try to use it in a little bit different way then they act differently than in the theory.

Also when I see at some electronic stuffs I wonder how much calculations does it take to know what voltage will be at the end. How many transistors and resistors and anything is in it. It makes me uneasy. I'm trying really my best to understand everything, even the smallest details about electronics, and I still get even more confused from more information.

I'm also annoying many people. So it's adding more thing. When I try to understand stuff using thing I already have (simulations, some pdf's, theory from teachers). I feel like I'm a failure, but I can't change it. I want to learn electronics but it's hard. I don't know what I will be doing in the future so I'm focusing on every details and it is overhealming.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
10,406
The trick is managing technology complexity by building on a good foundation of the basics so you have a way to analyze and create mental patterns that make sense step by step. Remember, even actions and skills that our bodies and minds were naturally designed for like walking takes time, so we crawl first. We don't say babies are failures for not walking before crawling. You're just having the new subject initial learning experience all humans experience.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,113
Electronics, like many other subjects can be overwhelming.
Think of it as a journey where you take one step at a time.

Start with a battery, resistor, voltmeter, and ammeter.
Learn and master how to use Ohm's Law.

Go to the next step only after mastering the first step.

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MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,113
I am learning to speak French. It is really hard. Will I ever be fluent in French? I really don't know.
Should I give up? Of course not. I don't try to speak a whole bunch of words. I start simple. I know how to say "Je parle français".
That is a start. And that in itself is a success!
 

Thread Starter

Xenon02

Joined Feb 24, 2021
355
I mean I understand some basics, but when I step into something new, then usually I ask some questions "what if" which usually ends up with that I am trying to understand to much details.
I know some basics but usually those basics might get difficult to use in some examples I had.

I just wonder if I will get at a certain point in electronics, I don't want to give up but everytime I'm confused I just annoy many people in forums and I just get discouraged ... Also I was learning for 4 years (most of the time were PLC), but learning basics again usually doesn't help me I don't know why for more complex stuff.

I am also very impressed everytime I see a circuit with many capacitors ect.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
10,406
I mean I understand some basics, but when I step into something new, then usually I ask some questions "what if" which usually ends up with that I am trying to understand to much details.
I know some basics but usually those basics might get difficult to use in some examples I had.

I just wonder if I will get at a certain point in electronics, I don't want to give up but everytime I'm confused I just annoy many people in forums and I just get discouraged ... Also I was learning for 4 years (most of the time were PLC), but learning basics again usually doesn't help me I don't know why for more complex stuff.

I am also very impressed everytime I see a circuit with many capacitors ect.
Review your basics with a good baseline of information like this: https://archive.org/search.php?quer...Electronics+Training+Series"&sort=titleSorter
Yes, I know it's hard but take the electronics information given by credible sources as faith in the beginning, save your probing questions for later.
 

Thread Starter

Xenon02

Joined Feb 24, 2021
355
Review your basics with a good baseline of information like this: https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject:"The+Navy+Electricity+and+Electronics+Training+Series"&sort=titleSorter
Yes, I know it's hard but take the electronics information given by credible sources as faith in the beginning, save your probing questions for later.
I mean I can understand the basics but sometime some elements acts differently in specific circuits or something like that.
I can always say it works like and that's all but whenever I get into details, it's just really hard that even basics doesn't help me.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,113
I mean I can understand the basics but sometime some elements acts differently in specific circuits or something like that.
I can always say it works like and that's all but whenever I get into details, it's just really hard that even basics doesn't help me.
It is because you have not understood the basics correctly.
1) Understand how resistors behave.
2) Understand how ideal voltage sources behave. Then understand the difference between an ideal voltage source and a real voltage source.
3) Do the same with an ideal current source and a real current source.
4) Do the same with an ideal voltmeter and a real voltmeter.
5) Do the same with an ideal ammeter and a real ammeter.
6) Now study how to solve problems with resistors in series and resistors in parallel.

Do all of the above before introducing inductors and capacitors.

The behaviour of resistors, inductors, capacitors, voltage sources, and current sources are universal.
The circuit application might be different but the fundamentals do not change,
 

Thread Starter

Xenon02

Joined Feb 24, 2021
355
Again, the Thevenin impedance is -j/(wC). Period. It doesn't matter whether it is a DC source or an AC source or twenty different AC sources all at different frequencies. The single Thevenin impedance is -j/(wC).

When you want to find the total voltage across the load, because you have sources at different frequencies, you use superposition.

Remember, DC is just a special case of AC in which the frequency happens to be zero.
1) Understand how resistors behave.
2) Understand how ideal voltage sources behave. Then understand the difference between an ideal voltage source and a real voltage source.
3) Do the same with an ideal current source and a real current source.
4) Do the same with an ideal voltmeter and a real voltmeter.
5) Do the same with an ideal ammeter and a real ammeter.
6) Now study how to solve problems with resistors in series and resistors in parallel.
I know how do they work, but thank you :)

I'll still try my best, but as I mentioned I do not feel to confident.
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,826
I know how do they work, but thank you :)

I'll still try my best, but as I mentioned I do not feel to confident.
my way of seeing things is that electronics is a lot like playing a musical instrument ... EVERYONE sucks the first time they pick a guitar and try to produce a sound ... it's with lots and lots of practice and aided by good guidance that one eventually gets to be a decent player.
No one can learn such things for you, only you yourself can. But that is exactly why a place like AAC exists, to gather a bunch of people with an interest in electronics, and form a network dedicated to learning, teaching and collaboration.

So you are not alone. I suggest you start BUILDING something physical (baby steps) and start playing with it. Also, downloading and exploring a simulation software such as LTSpice (which is free, as in "no cost to you") is highly recommended.
 

Thread Starter

Xenon02

Joined Feb 24, 2021
355
my way of seeing things is that electronics is a lot like playing a musical instrument ... EVERYONE sucks the first time they pick a guitar and try to produce a sound ... it's with lots and lots of practice and aided by good guidance that one eventually gets to be a decent player.
No one can learn such things for you, only you yourself can. But that is exactly why a place like AAC exists, to gather a bunch of people with an interest in electronics, and form a network dedicated to learning, teaching and collaboration.
I know I have forum like this. But I annoyed to many people, so usually it's a problem, because I'm problematic.
Also I am trying to learn it for 2-3 years :D It's still devastating.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
30,768
You seem to want to jump into the complex or unusual circuit configurations before you fully understand the simpler circuits, and that is going to frustrate you.
Complex matrix circuits, like those containing dependent voltage and current-sources are mainly academic exercises, and seldom found in real life, so solving those can be interesting mathematically, but generally aren't that useful in the design or understanding of real circuits.

All the designs I do seldom involve more than Ohm's law and some simple phasor calculations.
 

Thread Starter

Xenon02

Joined Feb 24, 2021
355
You seem to want to jump into the complex or unusual circuit configurations before you fully understand the simpler circuits, and that is going to frustrate you.
Complex matrix circuits, like those containing dependent voltage and current-sources are mainly academic exercises, and seldom found in real life, so solving those can be interesting mathematically, but generally aren't that useful in the design or understanding of real circuits.

All the designs I do seldom involve more than Ohm's law and some simple phasor calculations.
but usually when I see huge circuits that contains a lot of components always makes me think "why is there so much, calculating it doesn't take a lot of time?"

About dependent voltage I heard a lot that it isn't useful, but some examples can make me and other scratch their heads :D
Also I was really interested in creating circuits but usually when I watch tutorials I just can't stop myself from asking why the voltage on some components doesn't drop or why does it drop at specific value.

I also had a lot of problem understanding the transformer, now I understand it more but still it makes me uneasy with the fact that many electronic topics can get complicated :D I was also thinking about doing embedded stuff. But most likely I end up understanding why there is "this specific voltage drop" or something like that.
 

Thread Starter

Xenon02

Joined Feb 24, 2021
355
Sorry, but I don't understand what that means. :confused:
ayy my bad :D

I meant here that when I see complex circuits (that consist a lot of components), then I was wondering how much time did that person had to spent to create it (calculating voltage drops, phase shifts, how current flows, etc.).
When I look at some circuits I just can't imagine myself doing it on my own. Just how much time does it take to calculate all of this with great precision.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
27,389
Whether you will use controlled-sources down the road depends on what you end up doing. In some fields you use physical things that either are or are well-modeled as controlled sources. These range from individual ICs (an opamp is, to a good approximation in many applications, nothing more than a voltage-controlled voltage source (VCVS), and you can go to DigiKey and buy ICs that are current amplifiers (CCCS) and transimpedance amplifiers (CCVS) and transconductance amplifiers (VCCS)). You can also buy equipment that are high-end versions of each of these types of controlled-sources that approach ideal behavior over their intended range of interest. These are used in a LOT of instrumentation and control applications.

Beyond that, many discrete circuits can be reasonably modeled as having controlled sources -- the various transistor models for doing small-signal analysis and design are just one example.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
27,389
ayy my bad :D

I meant here that when I see complex circuits (that consist a lot of components), then I was wondering how much time did that person had to spent to create it (calculating voltage drops, phase shifts, how current flows, etc.).
When I look at some circuits I just can't imagine myself doing it on my own. Just how much time does it take to calculate all of this with great precision.
Most circuit design is done incrementally and with a degree of modularity. What you see as a large, complex circuit, the designer planned out as a collection of much simpler circuits that interact only at their interfaces. With practice, you get to a point where you can look at that final schematic and start picking it apart as to what those simpler circuits are and where the interactions occur, but that is often very tricky and may end up being an exercise in trying to read the mind of the original designer.

As for "great precision", that is usually not the goal. In fact, the goal is for the (whatever) to function (good enough) in the face of a lot of inaccuracy and imprecision, usually in the form of component tolerances and environmental factors.
 

Thread Starter

Xenon02

Joined Feb 24, 2021
355
Most circuit design is done incrementally and with a degree of modularity. What you see as a large, complex circuit, the designer planned out as a collection of much simpler circuits that interact only at their interfaces. With practice, you get to a point where you can look at that final schematic and start picking it apart as to what those simpler circuits are and where the interactions occur, but that is often very tricky and may end up being an exercise in trying to read the mind of the original designer.

As for "great precision", that is usually not the goal. In fact, the goal is for the (whatever) to function (good enough) in the face of a lot of inaccuracy and imprecision, usually in the form of component tolerances and environmental factors.
I mean simple circuits.
But usually they always interact when you connect one simple circuit with another, but then everything changes. The votlage drop will change in both circuits, and the current also changes and that is the thing that always makes me panic. Because how much stuff can change by adding one component or changing one ccomponent.

I also pretty often see random capacitors on many circuits that I usually don't understand or random resistors.

Also stuff like nonlinear makes me also confused. Knowing something about calculating and adding stuff like Norton makes my head spin.

But I'm still trying my best.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,113
When you look at someone else's complex circuit you can become overwhelmed. That is because you don't have the experience as yet designing enough simple circuits. Sometimes it is better to stay away from other people's circuits.

Start designing simple circuits on your own first.

Here is an example.
Design a one-transistor circuit that turns on an LED when the sun goes down. (Don't look it up. Do this on your own.)
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,350
ayy my bad :D

I meant here that when I see complex circuits (that consist a lot of components), then I was wondering how much time did that person had to spent to create it (calculating voltage drops, phase shifts, how current flows, etc.).
When I look at some circuits I just can't imagine myself doing it on my own. Just how much time does it take to calculate all of this with great precision.
Things are generally a complicated circuit is built up of a lot of simple systems - especially in digital electronics. Things can get messier in analog RF transmitters and receivers. But even those are made up of "stages" or "sections". Realize that a block diagram is often used to design the flow of a process or system.
Think about it in words or stages first. You want to build a sensor to measure or sense something. You'll need
- a stable power supply.
- an amplifier (and possibly a virtual ground)
- an Analog to digital converter (ADC)
- a digital display to see the values of the sensor

Then you decide on an old-school ADC that can directly driva seven-segment display. Or you decide if you want ti use a microcontroler that you have to program.
In the end, the complex thing is a bunch of smaller simpler things.
 
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