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15463Re: [Electronics_101] Re: Point me into the right direction please.

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  • Roy J. Tellason
    Feb 1, 2005
      On Tuesday 01 February 2005 12:26 pm, drbillpmt@... wrote:
      > Hi Mahan,
      > Your problem is familiar. I've taught numerous people electronics over the
      > years and the best advice I can give you is as follows:
      > 1. Get a breadboard device such as is available from Radio Shack. This
      > is a plastic grid that you can push the leads of various electronic parts
      > into to create circuits. The best part of this is that you can re-use all
      > of the parts and the circuit requires no soldering. You will need a power
      > supply to energize the circuits. Radio Shack carries small power supplies,
      > ready built, that provide regulated 12 Volts DC. This is a good place to
      > start.

      I wouldn't even say that regulated is necessary to start with, and in many
      cases, unless you're working with logic chips or something of that sort that
      needs it. My most-used power supply is a transformer salvaged out of
      something or other, a bridge rectiifier, and a couple of caps, mounted
      into a minibox with a power switch, an LED, and a terminal strip.

      > 2. Component sources are only limited by your imagination. You can
      > strip a lot of parts from old TV chassis. This is what a lot of people I
      > taught did. Surplus is another good place but many are rip-off artists so
      > be careful! Radio Shack has bundles of resistors in decade values fro
      > little money. Don';t buy transistors, IC's, etc. from them - they get an
      > arm and a leg for them.

      And their solid-state stuff often leaves a lot to be desired in terms of
      meeting the specs. I have a curve tracer, and on testing some of the
      unmarked parts that they at one time sold as being roughly equivalent to
      2N2222, I was finding breakdown voltages of around 6-8V in most cases!

      I've scrapped a LOT of stuff over the years. My comment on that is that the
      older the stuff is, the more usable parts are going to be had from it. Too
      much these days is specialized chips, surface mount, and similar nonsense.
      It's probably easy enough to ask around for "electronic junk" and then scrap
      stuff out...

      > 3. Once you have a few parts, build circuits over and over to experiment
      > with. That is the only way to learn and gives a lot of pleasure when they
      > work, and lots of experience troubleshooting when they don't.

      Yep. Although troubleshooting something that doesn't work can be *REAL*
      frustrating when you're inexperienced.

      > 4. Don't try to learn without building as it won't stick. You can calculate
      > forever, but only by building and experimenting can you reinforce what
      > books tell you. There are many sources for circuits you can try. There is a
      > series of books you can get that show literally thousands of circuits.
      > They are called Encyclopedia of Electronic Circuits. I've been in
      > electronics all of my life and still keep them around for ideas. Radio
      > Shack has little booklets with circuits also.


      > 5. Don't get the idea that I own stock in Radio Shack, it is sort of a
      > universal parts house for experimenters. One of the things NOT TO DO is
      > buy kits and build them. The only thing you learn is to follow directions
      > and solder.

      And _maybe_ troubleshoot when it doesn't work right off. :-)

      > Hope this has been of some help to you. I can't imagine starting over at
      > this point in my life since I had my first amateur radio license when I was
      > a sub-teen and I'm 74 now, and still at it every day designing and building
      > medical equipment.

      Now there's an area where I haven't done anything (yet?)...

      > If you would like to e-mail me, I'll try to help you out where I can.

      I think this is a lot of what this list is all about, wouldn't you agree?
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