Studying electronics

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by sarah22, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. sarah22

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 6, 2010
    I'm currently a 4th yr computer science student that focus more in 3D computer graphics which I really love and want to work on great companies like Blizzard, Crytek, ID software, Infinity Ward, and etc.

    I want to learn the basics first and move to the more advanced topics in electronics. But I'm not doing it with the university teaching, but on my own. Is it possible? I don't know how those transistor, capacitor, resistor, diode and many more really work in real world. I want to connect it also on my computer but I guess I'll do it after I learn many things in basic stuffs.

    Is it so hard? Can anyone here give me some advice on what should I do? I'm doing this just for a hobby. I just want to have some knowledge kept on my own not only on my real track.

    Thank you very much
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Yes. Formal courses help, they fill in gaps you might not even know are there, but it is entirely practical and reasonable to self study, and use resources like this forum to ask questions. I was working with circuits long before I got into college. Had to unlearn some things, but overall I had a good handle on it.
  3. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    It's definitely possible, and it's how many of the people here first go into electronics.

    The basic answer is to do hands-on work either repairing electronics or building project circuits. Start simple and work up from there. This will then draw you into reading books/articles, and asking questions here. There is no faster way to learn. The problem with university programs is that they don't give enough hands-on experience. However, they do provide very good fundamental knowledge which is important to becoming the best you can be. Also, remember that once you have a college degree in any technical area, you pretty much know how to teach yourself science and technology.

    Given that you have computer experience, you can start with digital electronics projects, starting with simple gates and progressing to microcontrollers. Later, if interested, you can move into analog electronics and electromagnetic devices.
  4. MaxSmoke

    Active Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    It is certainly possible to teach yourself electronics and as Steve has said a great way to start is by building basic circuits. Often when you make a new circuit it will not work as you expect the first time and you will need to correct the faults, this happens but do not be put off.

    If you want a fun way to learn the basics and progress to more advance electronics, why not consider Amateur Radio, there will probably be a club near you and often clubs run courses. These days Amateur Radio covers RF, analogue, digital electronics, plus programming.

    Besides the texts on this website, take a look at the book by Horowitz and Hill "The Art of Electronics", should be in your university library.

    Have Fun!
  5. Mike33

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 4, 2005
    It's definitely possible to learn electronics on your own, esp. since you have shown an aptitude for logical processes like computer science!
    I started in 2000 with the old Forrest Mims books from RS - 555 timer circuits and the like. I didn't want to work with #'s, Ohm's Law, etc., I wanted to build things! LED circuits, timing circuits, tone generator toys, reality, I was seeing how resistors and caps change things in circuits, though. It also helped with construction technique (soldering!). An EE friend helped me a lot, but is now sick of questions ;)

    And in the process of making cool gadgets, I came to realize that to do more I'd have to know Ohm's Law, and about Thevenin equivalencies and stuff. So I got books (ARRL Handbook is awesome if you don't have a wealth of stuff available) and asked on forums like this one! Circuit sim software (electronics workbench, LT Spice..) helped even more. Got into building and designing guitar effects thru DIY Stompboxes, where you'll really need a knowledge of how things work to get good results, but you can still get ok results in the beginning. Then SS amp repair (lower voltages), and now tube amp building, preamp design/build etc etc.

    My advice is to do like myself and others did, and start at the beginning. Follow forum topics and try to see what's going on...get a little project book like those from Mr. Mims and put some low-voltage things together to modify and tweak. Read about basic electricity/electronics (a wealth on the net!) and actually do the experiments! Get a breadboard and decent DMM and use them.

    There are only about 3 physical properties in combination that components can have (resistance, capacitance, inductance)< forgive me for the simplicity> Everything is based on those qualities, which is why beginner texts make a big deal of them. Then into the time domain (frequency), and you've got it. Bear with it and go thru that, and you'll start to understand ALL KINDS of different circuits!!
    Good luck!

    ~Mike :)