What got you into Electronics

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Wolframore, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Wolframore

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 21, 2019
    Here's an interesting topic. What got you into electronics?
  2. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    Electronics, while interesting, was always just a tool in the skillset for a greater job that needed to be done. I was always interested in electrical science as a broader subject where electronics was just one technology area in the field of applied electrical science.
  3. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
    Helped supplement my income as a rodeo clown.
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  4. Wolframore

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 21, 2019
    OK here's mine:

    I broke things and took things apart - usually for good... didn't figure out how to fix and put things back til later... I can still remember some of the things I puzzled at like the motors and mechanism in tape drives and so on. I think it's this desire to understand that fuels my interest.

    Radio Shack - I believe it was the 30 in 1 kit and later a police scanner, I had some other Radio Shack kits that has spring connectors that worked like a kids breadboard.

    Military - formal training for component level microwave radio repairs. My micro-min kit was amazing I wish I had that kit now.

    Nuts & Volts Magazine - this was a great publication - maybe still is...

    What a great time to be into electronics. Never was so easy and almost free to get information. This forum is an amazing example. Much appreciated.

    Internet sales - I miss radio shack but I don't miss the lack of choices and high prices 5 resistors for $1 or something like that... in 70's 80's money,,, wow.

    It's an amazing time to be in electronics glad to be here.

    BTW - I still break things... but more make it back

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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  5. ElectricSpidey

    Active Member

    Dec 2, 2017
    That’s a good question, hard to answer actually, but as I look back I have to say it probably all started with my model train and slot car days as a young child.
  6. paulktreg

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 2, 2008
    The need for a job.

    Time served as an Electronics Technician testing and repairing security related devices like control panels, microwave radars, CCTV cameras, etc.

    This is like 1976 onward, how things have changed!
  7. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    You have the knack. It's sometimes a curse.
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  8. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
    I am sure we both enjoyed the Dilbert cartoon about that. For those who haven't seen it,

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  9. Dodgydave

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 22, 2012
    Gosh!! I was repairing television and audio amps at 15yrs old (1976) so i decided to take an apprentiship at British Aerospace (uk) and i am glad to say it's been a good thing for me, can't beat a good circuit diagram to study, and test equipment to use and to fault find...invaluable !!!
  10. Yaakov

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    In 1961, two very important things happened: JFK declared we would go to the moon, and I was born. While I admit for most people the former was for more important, for me, the latter was life changing.

    I grew up at a critical time. WWII was only 20 years old, and it had radically altered the pace and face of technology. Many things came from it, but probably the most critical was “electronics”, particularly the transistor and everything that would spring from it. It was not just new, it was radically new, and following it were the integrated circuit, and the digital computer.

    Growing up in the “space age” made everything technological seem possible. The rate of change seem neck-breaking. It was accelerating, and I had a front row seat. I was curious, and intensely interested in taking things apart and putting them together. I don’t think I could have avoided electronics without great effort.

    I also met radio, and I was enthralled. It was mysterious and exciting. I could tune in to so much from all over, and I could transmit! I naturally gravitated to things that involved electrical, electronic, and radio bits and learned as much as I could.

    I am a technological polymath because it is utterly natural for me, and always has been, to engage with technical topics by participation. I do stuff, just because. I learn stuff because, what else would I do? So, you might say, I didn’t get into electronics, it got into me. It’s one facet of possibly too many in my interfacing with the world.

    And, after all, who wouldn’t want to be able to do magic? Magic has always been about technology. Wizards have always been the people who knew how to take bits of the world and arrange them into effective things. When you can do electronics, or chemistry, or woodworking, or metalworking, or all of those things that take the material world and make it do what you want, you are a wizard, and how cool is that?

    [Edited to fix “autocorrect” helpfulness, sheesh.]
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  11. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
    My father, who was a schoolteacher, got me many educational toys. He wasn’t into electronics, per se, but built a shortwave radio from a kit. It intrigued me, so he bought me a crystal radio kit and later, one of those 101 Electronics Projects kit.

    In elementary school, I found some soft scrap metal near an electric substation up the street from my home. I built a demonstration of series and parallel circuit with that metal and some brass brads for switches.

    Then, while staying at my grandmothers, my Papa had a lot of the black cloth electrical tape. I made flashlights and even a light bulb with bell wire, thread and a peanut butter jar.

    I studied Math st Georgia Tech and many of my friends were EEs. They taught me a lot and I bought the TI TTL Handbook. I still have it. I built clocks, counters, a security lock and alarm and a game device for my Dad.

    After school, I continued to make devices for personal use. And THATS how I got involved in electronics.
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  12. OBW0549

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Back in the late 1950's, it started with a "crystal set" radio: a tapped inductor hand-wound around an empty Quaker Oats can, a 365 pF variable cap, a 1N34A germanium diode (tried a lump of galena instead of the diode, but got crappy results), and a long-wire antenna strung under the eaves.

    The only station I could pick up on it was New York's WABC, whose 50 kW transmitter and antenna were just a few miles fro my house. It drowned out everything else from one end of the AM band to the other and was so loud in the headphones I had to unplug them at bedtime or the music would keep me awake.

    After the crystal set I got my hands on some transistors-- CK722, 2N107 and 2N170, mostly-- and was off and running. I got my first paying job, as a production line test technician, at age 16 in 1965 and later got my EE degree; now, 54 years later, I'm retired and back to enjoying electronics as a hobby.

    Life is good.
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  13. Externet

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 29, 2005
    Dad's friend installed the first TV station in a country overseas and pushed him to accept me as helper at his TV repair shop during school vacations for a couple of years. I was 11. Later was the crystal radio, the Phillips experimenters kit, a mail electronics course, a workbench, gathering parts from anywhere...
  14. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011

    When I was about 5 y.o.
  15. sagor


    Mar 10, 2019
    I seem to have followed Dilbert. In the early/mid 60's went to see a friend who had some military surplus radio, tuned around the 11m to 10m bands (both were still ham bands at that time or just changed?) I was impressed...
    From there, I went on to ham radio, building my first gear around early 70's. From there, went on to be an engineer (with social ineptitude like Dilbert of course). Spent the rest of my career in IT and real time data processing/process control..... Always tinkered in electronics, from tubes to TTL logic (and first Altair computers), to newer solid state, all self learned (more or less...)
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  16. Janis59

    Active Member

    Aug 21, 2017
    When I was about so old as 5, one noble man, husband of workmate of my mother, hear that this small boy (I) like to distract old watches to see inside mechanics. So, in birthday he made a gift - two books about electronics, solder-iron, tin, piece of colophonia and large sack with resistors, capacitors triodes, some transformers and other components.

    After few years he gave me few "fascinating new invention" - transistors, still I remember a label - MP1. He was those man, built with own hands a first TV station at Riga city, and few radio-transmitters, including police radio center, sea radio station etc.

    So, hook was in lip and I start to went to "soviet young technicians station" as fast it was permitted, think from 4th grade or somehow about. That was section of radio-telemetry so we was making radio-steerable constructions until I got my first patent in my 14 age and my soldered measurer artwork was directed to moscow "VDNH" exhibition at my 16 birthday.

    Thus the voyage to 1000 km afar capital became my first travel outside my land without parents, I felt very adult and wise, however all I did was far from the wisdom. Cigarette smoking I had a chance to throw away later. But traveling I liked very much from that time.

    When very late about 17 I learned to use a bicycle, I rapidly teared into "self-organized tourist" club, so I have by more than 50% realized my boy-dream to see all the soviet boarderlands from inside by bicycle (still is lacking Far East and Far North).

    Then after graduation of University (radiophysicist) I worked in most progressive that time research institute whilst the three, later four kids was hanging me down, the scientist salary at ussr was something the redneck salary divided to factor 10 and no hope for any room for living,

    I meditated, how long I may inquisite my parents. So I went off from science to the First State Atmosphere Quality Testing Lab - we start to build it from ground zero. Who new then that home I earned will bring a divorce not a happiness and will be left behind my first wife; who new the hatred political system will collapse (thanks a Bzezinsky doctrine) and my land will get the non-violent revolution and regain the independence, those what first time was plucked by generation of my grandparents and then stolen by communists; who knew that new freedom will be stolen in shades by thick fatbellies who have so well made "der ordnung" so well, that third of my nation folks foreseen the only viable way to save their physical existance in fleeing away to Brittain, Ireland, Germany, Canada - identically as 1945 when they fled from communists. And who knew that now, nearest days happening Europarlament deputies voting here, the only candidates from us having the best chances, will be three times judged for spying into behalf of russia woman who organized and organizes the Latvia incorporation into communist slavedom "paradise" again, the other candidate who stole a some milliards Eur from Riga city cash, organized a hundreds of criminal schemes for children slavery trade and wholesale scale bribery, onto whom have hanging opened plenty criminal investigations, who have with Minister condemn-bull thrown out of position but still incapable to free his cabinet - those are people who now probably will steer the bright naive Europe toward an imminent happyness for all people?

    So, anyway, after 11 years working for State behalf, I went for bit rest at teacher job and then back to pure science where I am at last 15 years. Ah ya, some years I worked at emmigration - Spain, Sweden, Israel and so on but better money never are bringing the better life, only bit freedom out of depth chains. So, I hear my heart says my place ought be there where my folks was living last 10K years at least.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2019
  17. DickCappels


    Aug 21, 2008
    Sometime in or around 1955 my father came home from work and showed me a D size flashlight cell, a flashlight light bulb and and a short length of wire. He completed the circuit. Upon seeing the bulb light my fate was cast. My parents and neighbors continued encourage me to exercise my curiosity about electricity (and later electronics). Though I have seen some amazing things since, nothing has electrified me (excusable pun) like seeing that first light bulb come on in my father's hands.
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  18. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
    I saw a "Popular Electronics" magazine with a perf board circuit on the cover in a local drug store. Since I seemed interested, Mom bought it for me. I was ~12 I think. I've been involved as a hobby and a profession ever since.
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  19. Tonyr1084

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 24, 2015
    The color red. More to the point, the red glow of the heater in a tube.

    When I was a kid my mom had a toaster oven. When it was running there was a neon bulb that indicated the oven was on. I would put my eye as close as possible to that red (orange-ish) light as I found it mesmerizing. I also loved Christmas time. The tree with all the lights. But my favorite light was the red one. I would close my eye and put it super close to the red bulb. And there's a biological reason for this.

    Before I was born the world I knew while developing in the womb was warm and cuddling. In bright light situations, as my earliest eyesight began to develop it was the color of the light shining through the body that I first detected as a developing child. Ever since, that color has held a special place for me.

    So how did that lead me into electronics? Like I said, I spent many hours just watching the tubes glow. TV's radio's, anything with that color. From there it was an easy reach into playing with electronics. In another post I described an air boat I made from an old reel to reel tape deck.

    As a side note - one other thing has remained with me all these years, the warm cuddled feeling I first knew before birth. As a toddler, whenever the heater (electric, with that familiar glow) came on I would stand in the air stream, feeling the warm air caress my body. As a teenager, going through the sometimes depressing emotions of change from boyhood to manhood, it was the warmth of the heater and the orange glow of the coils that got me through those difficult times. Today, when the heater comes on I like to sit on the floor at the heater vent and direct the warm airstream toward me. I still find it very comforting.

    I don't remember my birth, but I DO remember toddling. And that started before age 1.
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  20. Tonyr1084

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 24, 2015
    It was Popular Electronics and Radio Electronics where I first learned of digital. How basic gates worked. I was in my 30's. Until then my electronics hobby was mostly about tearing things apart and playing with the new found gizmo's.
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