I have NO idea how anything works and I want to understand how to make stuff

Thread Starter

bababooeyfr

Joined Mar 7, 2023
16
As stated above, I'm confused, and have an old PC motherboard laying around, and I want to make something out of the salvaged components. I've posted an image of the PCB that I have. The PC motherboard has lots of little capacitors, but I don't know how to them. For power, I have a handful of old 9v batteries and a few half dead AA batteries. I also disassembled an alarm clock, so I have a wall outlet plug. what could I make to help get me into electronical engineering?
 

Attachments

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
21,227
This is not a problem you can fix overnight. You need to start somewhere, and you need to learn some things before you can make any progress. Making anything remotely interesting or useful from a motherboard would be a tall order, even for me and I have half a century under my belt. I have found that the use of simulators is especially useful for gaining understanding of basic principles. The cost of entry is a surprisingly low $0.00
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,823
Welcome to AAC!

There are many ways to get started in the fascinating, enjoyable, and very rewarding hobby/career of electronics.
You can begin by reading through the eTutorials found by clicking on the Education tab at the top of this page.

By far, the best ways to learn is by doing. You want to get started by building simple projects.
You can begin by purchasing one of the many electronics components kits. Some kits come with project ideas and instructions.

You can also begin by building simple projects such as a 5V regulated power supply or a crystal radio. When I first started out in electronics, two very useful tools for finding faults in radio circuits was an AF signal generator and accompanying signal tracer. These two were built into discarded pen flashlights and ran on 1.5V batteries.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
34,464
Read some tutorials first, as suggested.
It can then help to simulate a circuit before you build it to help understand the circuit operation and minimize mistakes.
(Some don't like simulators, but I find them very useful and generally wouldn't built a circuit without simulating it first.
The allow you to readily view all voltages and currents in a circuit, which is difficult or impossible with the real circuit.)
Several here use the free LTspice simulator from Analog Devices.
It has a somewhat steep learning curve but there are many tutorials and sample circuits to help get you started, as well as help from this forum.
Then building the circuit is the final step to help in your understanding.
 

LowQCab

Joined Nov 6, 2012
4,075
One very important thing to keep in mind is that there will be a never-ending
stream of Words, Symbols, Abbreviations, and Acronyms, that You will run into.
Misunderstood-Words are the most important thing in Life to get a handle on,
no matter what the subject matter might be.

Anytime You run into a Word or Symbol that You are not familiar with,
DO A SEARCH, get a DEFINITION.

You should be spending at least half of your time just defining odd Words or Symbols.

The other half of your time should be spent doing
physical demonstrations of the theories that You have been reading about.

True Learning only comes from making mistakes, LOTS OF THEM.
So You might as well get used to it.

.
.
.
 

Thread Starter

bababooeyfr

Joined Mar 7, 2023
16
There are many ways to get started in the fascinating, enjoyable, and very rewarding hobby/career of electronics.
You can begin by reading through the eTutorials found by clicking on the Education tab at the top of this page.
Thanks dude! (BTW, Mr. Chips goes very well with that frog pfp)
 

Thread Starter

bababooeyfr

Joined Mar 7, 2023
16
Making anything remotely interesting or useful from a motherboard would be a tall order, even for me and I have half a century under my belt.
Thanks Papabravo, I'll work on taking the rest of the components off of the board. After that I'll come back and post images of the salvaged components. There is also an old boat battery charger, would it be a bad idea to further disassemble it?
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
8,998
Most of the components on a motherboard will not be useful to you. These use advanced chips thar are not for beginners. Older circuit boards that use discrete components would yield much more useful components. To actually build things, you will have to buy components.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
3,097
One of the first and most important toosl you will need is a multimeter of some kind. It will allow you to see what is happening in basic circuits and help you to understand what is going on. I started out, many years ago by building one out of a second-hand 100uA meter movement, some resistors and a rotary switch. It taught me a lot.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,823
One of the first and most important toosl you will need is a multimeter of some kind. It will allow you to see what is happening in basic circuits and help you to understand what is going on. I started out, many years ago by building one out of a second-hand 100uA meter movement, some resistors and a rotary switch. It taught me a lot.
My first meter used basic materials from around the house, string, wire, needle, rubber band, Plasticine modeling clay.
It was a basic moving magnet galvanometer consisting of a magnetized sewing needle.
I pierced the needle into a rubber band and suspended it at the centre of the coil. I used Plasticine to hold the coil upright in a small cardboard box.

1678291263381.png
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,584
Welcome to AAC!

There are many ways to get started in the fascinating, enjoyable, and very rewarding hobby/career of electronics.
You can begin by reading through the eTutorials found by clicking on the Education tab at the top of this page.

By far, the best ways to learn is by doing. You want to get started by building simple projects.
You can begin by purchasing one of the many electronics components kits. Some kits come with project ideas and instructions.

You can also begin by building simple projects such as a 5V regulated power supply or a crystal radio. When I first started out in electronics, two very useful tools for finding faults in radio circuits was an AF signal generator and accompanying signal tracer. These two were built into discarded pen flashlights and ran on 1.5V batteries.
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!! Before you can "learn by doing" you need to at least have a clue as to what you are doing, and that will require some reading of informative material. The start should be learning the concept of circuits and current flow, followed by developing some understanding of resistance and voltage.
Without any understanding of basic circuits the reason for whatever happens will be hidden and you will not learn anything useful except for how to destroy stuff and start fires.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
3,097
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!! Before you can "learn by doing" you need to at least have a clue as to what you are doing, and that will require some reading of informative material. The start should be learning the concept of circuits and current flow, followed by developing some understanding of resistance and voltage.
Without any understanding of basic circuits the reason for whatever happens will be hidden and you will not learn anything useful except for how to destroy stuff and start fires.
I learned by doing as well as reading at the very beginning. In 1949, I found a book on my Father's bookshelf that he was awarded when he was in school in the 1920s called "The Boy Electrician" (He became an accountant!). It is very outdated by now, as it was first published around 1912, but it contains a host of very fascinating electrical experiments using nothing but household items, magnets and bits of wire. I built galvanometers, microphones, electro-magnets, electric motors and a whole book full of other intriguing electrical items without even understanding Ohm's law. It got my interest so much that then I started reading electronic hobbyists' magazines, learned some theory and immersed myself in a lifelong hobby and career in electronics.
That book is available on-line:
https://www.tayloredge.com/museum/museum/TheBoyElectrician.pdf
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,823
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!! Before you can "learn by doing" you need to at least have a clue as to what you are doing, and that will require some reading of informative material. The start should be learning the concept of circuits and current flow, followed by developing some understanding of resistance and voltage.
Without any understanding of basic circuits the reason for whatever happens will be hidden and you will not learn anything useful except for how to destroy stuff and start fires.
I beg to disagree.
My kids were building circuits from the time they were 5 years old.
They were wiring together a battery, switch, light bulb, motor, and a voltmeter into a circuit long before they knew what is current, voltage, resistance, electrons, etc.

DEC_board.jpg
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,584
Assembling something is not at all the same as learning anything except how to follow some instructions. That is not the same as understanding.
 

qstrejo

Joined Jan 17, 2023
1
Assembling something is not at all the same as learning anything except how to follow some instructions. That is not the same as understanding.
You're not wrong, but it's also hard to understand theory without seeing the practical results first. It's really not all that important to understand much beyond the names of components and how to connect them in a circuit for someone first starting. Developing 'intuition' then provides a foundation to build on with theoretical knowledge.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,312
You're not wrong, but it's also hard to understand theory without seeing the practical results first. It's really not all that important to understand much beyond the names of components and how to connect them in a circuit for someone first starting. Developing 'intuition' then provides a foundation to build on with theoretical knowledge.
Understanding theory without seeing the practical results first is science, using that theory (and understanding at the practical level) for practical results is engineering. The 'intuition' needed for science is a different animal and IMO you must have some basic background in electrical science before moving to the technology of electronic circuits to advance beyond the 'paint by numbers' stage. For a young child a 'paint by numbers' approach is fine (it's what I used for my children) but once a child starts to ask the 'why' question, it's time to study the science of electricity, in nice easy steps, to build a foundation for understanding.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,584
It is very difficult to explain how a circuit works to those who have no understanding of whay what they connect does what it does. That has been my experience and observation.
 

atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
4,771
Thanks Papabravo, I'll work on taking the rest of the components off of the board. After that I'll come back and post images of the salvaged components. There is also an old boat battery charger, would it be a bad idea to further disassemble it?
Hi @bababooeyfr

Now I know how much time I spent salvaging a huge amount of components that I never used. Please just keep the boards if you like but do not waste time.
One day maybe, and only maybe, you could use one or two parts occasionnally.
 
Top