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Re: [Electronics_101] Re: Heathkit Educational Series

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  • jong kung
    Glen, The ONE book that I found very useful (and basically made me understand electronics - as a self learner) was; Electronics self teach guide - by Harry
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 21, 2013
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      Glen,


      The ONE book that I found very useful (and basically made me "understand" electronics - as a self learner) was;

      Electronics self teach guide - by Harry Kybett

      I had the first edition. It has some errors but nothing I could not could not figure out. Now there's the third edition so I am assuming those errors were corrected. This books explains the theory, and has plenty of problems with solution for you to work out. It also has chapters on filters that many self learner books are missing without using too much advance math (just algebra).

      I also found this book helpful in understanding the 555:

      Practical Electronics for Inventors - by Paul Scherz

      Kind of thin on theory for most of electronics - but it does go into more practical explanation (like different types of capacitors - almost never touched on by other electronics books, etc).

      ========

      Be careful of college textbooks. I found that they are NOT good at self learner style. For example, the classic "The Art of Electronics" - while it is a great book for reference, I found it terrible as a learning tool. It says that electronics is an art and it should be done on almost back of napkin (intuitive style). But then in just few pages later it goes into calculus in explaining the simplest electronics (and in first chapter no less). I found nothing intuitive about his explanation at all. And many college course text books assume such.

      I like Forrest Mimms books for his simple yet clever electronics circuits. But I find he does NOT explain his circuits at all most of the time. His books are nice to have once you understand electronics and you can look at his circuits to learn (just from schematic) but he provides little in terms of explanation - that's been my experience. For example - often he might have circuits using 555 IC - but almost never explains why the R and C is wired that way. He just assumes you know that few of the R & C makes up for charging and discharging (timing) configuration. But now that I have some understanding of analog electronics, I very much like Forrest Mimms books.

      ======

      All things said so far - I want to stress again - get some sort of oscilloscope if you can afford it. Some are USB type (not my favorite) and others are stand alone type (digital OR purely analog). It is your best friend as a self learner. VOM / DMM only gets you so far - and it is mostly helpful in DC electronics. You will need a scope to really learn AC electronics (any circuit with varying signals).

      Have fun.


      Jong
    • rtstofer
      ... Electronics, beyond the level of copying circuits from how to articles, involves mathematics. Even the voltage across a capacitor is related to the
      Message 2 of 17 , Feb 22, 2013
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        --- In Electronics_101@yahoogroups.com, jong kung <jongkung01@...> wrote:
        > All things said so far - I want to stress again - get some sort of oscilloscope if you can afford it. Some are USB type (not my favorite) and others are stand alone type (digital OR purely analog). It is your best friend as a self learner. VOM / DMM only gets you so far - and it is mostly helpful in DC electronics. You will need a scope to really learn AC electronics (any circuit with varying signals).
        >
        > Have fun.
        >
        >
        > Jong
        >

        Electronics, beyond the level of copying circuits from "how to" articles, involves mathematics. Even the voltage across a capacitor is related to the integral of the current flow. So, you don't get very far into any textbook before calculus comes up.

        If I were starting out, I would give serious consideration to Digilent's Analog Discovery because it provides a 2 channel scope, 2 arbitrary waveform generators, + & - 5V power supplies and a 16 channel logic analyzer.

        http://digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,842,1018&Prod=ANALOG-DISCOVERY

        I'm pretty sure I just pencil whipped my lab classes in college. But this thing makes circuit analysis fun!

        I never spent much time with op amps (my interests have always been digital) but these days I am having a lot of fun with op amp circuits for analog computing. Integrators, differentiators, inverters, comparators, analog switches, etc.

        The first several videos of this course don't require a lot of math. But the instructor does recommend a concurrent course in differential equations so that assumes a background in differential and integral calculus. Still, that level of math doesn't come up until he starts in with capacitors and inductors. There's a lot of good material before he gets there:

        http://digilentinc.com/Classroom/RealAnalog/

        His explanation of op gain is worth getting to. It makes "Op Amps For Everyone" a lot easier to understand.

        Even without all this stuff, there's still a lot of fun to be had in just tinkering. There are a lot of projects posted to the Internet.

        Richard
      • Kerim F
        I like adding; when we were kids, they helped us learn for learning only without knowing to what this will end up ;) But when adult, it is good to have a
        Message 3 of 17 , Feb 22, 2013
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          I like adding; when we were kids, 'they' helped us learn for learning only without knowing to what this will end up ;) But when adult, it is good to have a specific goal in mind, a useful project no matter how small and simple it is, so that the study could be directed to build this first project while understanding, as possible, every detail in it. Then a second useful project could be chosen with more confidence. It usually needs more reading, studying and thinking. This is how I became gradually professional in designing (this started after I bought my first oscilloscope) but also thank to the zillions of errors (silly and serious) I did during my long journey (till now) from which I have learnt most. At work, withdrawing doesn't exist in my vocabulary ;)

          --- In Electronics_101@yahoogroups.com, "rtstofer" <rstofer@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In Electronics_101@yahoogroups.com, jong kung <jongkung01@> wrote:
          > > All things said so far - I want to stress again - get some sort of oscilloscope if you can afford it. Some are USB type (not my favorite) and others are stand alone type (digital OR purely analog). It is your best friend as a self learner. VOM / DMM only gets you so far - and it is mostly helpful in DC electronics. You will need a scope to really learn AC electronics (any circuit with varying signals).
          > >
          > > Have fun.
          > >
          > >
          > > Jong
          > >
          >
          > Electronics, beyond the level of copying circuits from "how to" articles, involves mathematics. Even the voltage across a capacitor is related to the integral of the current flow. So, you don't get very far into any textbook before calculus comes up.
          >
          > If I were starting out, I would give serious consideration to Digilent's Analog Discovery because it provides a 2 channel scope, 2 arbitrary waveform generators, + & - 5V power supplies and a 16 channel logic analyzer.
          >
          > http://digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,842,1018&Prod=ANALOG-DISCOVERY
          >
          > I'm pretty sure I just pencil whipped my lab classes in college. But this thing makes circuit analysis fun!
          >
          > I never spent much time with op amps (my interests have always been digital) but these days I am having a lot of fun with op amp circuits for analog computing. Integrators, differentiators, inverters, comparators, analog switches, etc.
          >
          > The first several videos of this course don't require a lot of math. But the instructor does recommend a concurrent course in differential equations so that assumes a background in differential and integral calculus. Still, that level of math doesn't come up until he starts in with capacitors and inductors. There's a lot of good material before he gets there:
          >
          > http://digilentinc.com/Classroom/RealAnalog/
          >
          > His explanation of op gain is worth getting to. It makes "Op Amps For Everyone" a lot easier to understand.
          >
          > Even without all this stuff, there's still a lot of fun to be had in just tinkering. There are a lot of projects posted to the Internet.
          >
          > Richard
          >
        • jongkung01
          Even though I got A s in calc 1 & 2, I don t find calculus very intuitive. Maybe if I did more on a day to day basis... As for things like capacitors, I try
          Message 4 of 17 , Feb 22, 2013
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            Even though I got A's in calc 1 & 2, I don't find calculus very intuitive. Maybe if I did more on a day to day basis... As for things like capacitors, I try to make rules of thumb (10%, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 90% charging time) and use that. Remember that numbers change but not the shape of charging a discharge curve. It not only makes the math simpler, it makes understanding circuits more intuitive (at least to me). This isn't just for electronics but anything in life I may do repetitive calculation. Also capacitor values are not exact enough that precise math often means nothing. I know if I was paid engineer I should do more precise calcs IF I had to. But I find that as hobbyist this gets me very far (not only in design but in understanding circuits - my tiny failing mind can only grasp so much these days). Also with tools like LTSpice, I can do more "complex" design "on paper".

            To me it is equivalent to using a calculator to find value of sin(x), instead of figuring it out using the Taylor series or evens chart.

            My brother (the math and physics major) hates this kind of math. He like precise calculations instead of estimation. Sadly people (sometime) think I'm actually smart because I can so some math in my head (like figuring out tip at the restaurants) - and my brother don't even try!!!

            =====

            Try it.


            Jong



            On Feb 22, 2013, at 11:20 AM, "Kerim F" <ahumanbeing2000@...> wrote:

            > Electronics, beyond the level of copying circuits from "how to" articles, involves mathematics. Even the voltage across a capacitor is related to the integral of the current flow. So, you don't get very far into any textbook before calculus comes up.
          • bruce_fleming
            ... I agree that using an oscilloscope is a great learning tool. However, when just getting back into electronics, it would probably be a good idea to spend a
            Message 5 of 17 , Feb 23, 2013
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              --- In Electronics_101@yahoogroups.com, "rtstofer" <rstofer@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > --- In Electronics_101@yahoogroups.com, jong kung <jongkung01@> wrote:
              > > All things said so far - I want to stress again - get some sort of oscilloscope if you can afford it. Some are USB type (not my favorite) and others are stand alone type (digital OR purely analog). It is your best friend as a self learner. VOM / DMM only gets you so far - and it is mostly helpful in DC electronics. You will need a scope to really learn AC electronics (any circuit with varying signals).
              > >
              > > Have fun.
              > >
              > >
              > > Jong
              > >
              >
              > Electronics, beyond the level of copying circuits from "how to" articles, involves mathematics. Even the voltage across a capacitor is related to the integral of the current flow. So, you don't get very far into any textbook before calculus comes up.
              >
              > If I were starting out, I would give serious consideration to Digilent's Analog Discovery because it provides a 2 channel scope, 2 arbitrary waveform generators, + & - 5V power supplies and a 16 channel logic analyzer.
              >
              > http://digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,842,1018&Prod=ANALOG-DISCOVERY

              I agree that using an oscilloscope is a great learning tool. However, when just getting back into electronics, it would probably be a good idea to spend a couple of hundred dollars on the bare necessities and components. Going out and spending the extra $200 (at least) on an oscilloscope may or may not pan out. The $200 figure is in the neighbourhood of what you will pay for a low end, yet still functional, USB oscilloscope. I have one, a PoScope.

              Make sure you have the interest first, let the electronics bug bite with whatever projects you like, then spend some more money when you decide you need it. There are literally a thousand projects you can build without using an oscilloscope. Keep your projects simple enough that you should not need a scope. A lot of troubleshooting can be done with a DMM and observation of what kind of assembly techniques you have used and what you did poorly such as solder joints and too many wires too close together in a big rat's nest. Learn from your mistakes.

              In the end, most projects will not need calculus. Ohm's Law, V = IR, is the basis for most analysis and a number of other equations such as RC time constants and filter equations.

              The subject of the MIT (was that the top level school providing this course?) online electronics course that so many people started and then so many said that it was too much work and some of it was way over their heads. It was probably here and on PICList as well. That had a lot of calculus or so I heard.

              Here is a link:
              http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/6002x-mitx-begins-today-0305.html

              My opinion is not that calculus is useless and that electrical engineers even more so, far from it. If we did not have electrical engineers and calculus, I would probably not be experimenting transistors and op amps, let alone uC's and PCs.

              If you have a look at some technician level textbooks you will probably find that there is very little calculus involved. I have seen calculus, studied it for two years and did quite well in it. At some point, I might even try to figure out how it gets used on the electrical engineering level.
            • jong kung
              ... That device is just $200 and it includes a low speed oscilloscope and a function generator. It can also be used as logic analyzer !!! ... Just speaking
              Message 6 of 17 , Feb 23, 2013
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                > > http://digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,842,1018&Prod=ANALOG-DISCOVERY
                >
                > I agree that using an oscilloscope is a great learning tool.
                > However, when just getting back into electronics, it would
                > probably be a good idea to spend a couple of hundred dollars
                > on the bare necessities and components. Going out and
                > spending the extra $200 (at least) on an oscilloscope may or
                > may not pan out.

                That device is just $200 and it includes a low speed oscilloscope and a function generator. It can also be used as logic analyzer !!!

                ======

                > Make sure you have the interest first, let the electronics
                > bug bite with whatever projects you like, then spend some
                > more money when you decide you need it. There are literally
                > a thousand projects you can build without using an
                > oscilloscope. Keep your projects simple enough that you
                > should not need a scope.

                Just speaking from my personal experience, I am a purely self taught hobbyist. I think I had maybe 10 minutes of tutorial from somebody with EE education in my life. I built plenty of simple circuits (blinking led types, etc.) to more complex and functional circuit (AM / FM radio, etc.) before I got my o-scope. I still had NO real understanding of electronics because a person just cannot "see" electrons move and volt meters just don't react fast enough. It was when I put my first scope probes (old and used / ebay special) on to my 2 transistor oscillator - I was shocked at the voltage curve and my understanding of electronics just jumped. NEVER once I was told in that famous circuit the voltage can go negative !!!

                Let's just say that from my personal experience, I am trying to save the next guy a lot of lost time and learn faster.


                Jong
              • Larry Beaty
                Jong, it is not calculus to determine the charge on a capacitor, the equation uses logs. Easy to do on a (scientific) calculator. I m sure you can figure dB
                Message 7 of 17 , Feb 23, 2013
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                  Jong, it is not calculus to determine the charge on a capacitor, the
                  equation uses logs. Easy to do on a (scientific) calculator. I'm sure you
                  can figure dB ratios, same thing. And probably in your head!



                  I spent my life in Electrical Engineering and never used calculus. The only
                  problem I could not solve was the current/voltage relationship for an
                  incandescent lamp. Sent the problem to University of Miami Math dept. They
                  came back two days later and said it was insolvable! Yea! For my team!



                  All my years of work, algebra put the bread and butter on my table.



                  Larry



                  From: Electronics_101@yahoogroups.com
                  [mailto:Electronics_101@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of jongkung01@...
                  Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 9:49 PM
                  To: Electronics_101@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [Electronics_101] Re: Heathkit Educational Series







                  Even though I got A's in calc 1 & 2, I don't find calculus very intuitive.
                  Maybe if I did more on a day to day basis... As for things like capacitors,
                  I try to make rules of thumb (10%, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 90% charging time) and use
                  that. Remember that numbers change but not the shape of charging a discharge
                  curve. It not only makes the math simpler, it makes understanding circuits
                  more intuitive (at least to me). This isn't just for electronics but
                  anything in life I may do repetitive calculation. Also capacitor values are
                  not exact enough that precise math often means nothing. I know if I was paid
                  engineer I should do more precise calcs IF I had to. But I find that as
                  hobbyist this gets me very far (not only in design but in understanding
                  circuits - my tiny failing mind can only grasp so much these days). Also
                  with tools like LTSpice, I can do more "complex" design "on paper".

                  To me it is equivalent to using a calculator to find value of sin(x),
                  instead of figuring it out using the Taylor series or evens chart.

                  My brother (the math and physics major) hates this kind of math. He like
                  precise calculations instead of estimation. Sadly people (sometime) think
                  I'm actually smart because I can so some math in my head (like figuring out
                  tip at the restaurants) - and my brother don't even try!!!

                  =====

                  Try it.

                  Jong

                  On Feb 22, 2013, at 11:20 AM, "Kerim F" ahumanbeing2000@...
                  <mailto:ahumanbeing2000%40yahoo.com> > wrote:

                  > Electronics, beyond the level of copying circuits from "how to" articles,
                  involves mathematics. Even the voltage across a capacitor is related to the
                  integral of the current flow. So, you don't get very far into any textbook
                  before calculus comes up.





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Jong Kung
                  ... Funny you said that. I mentioned to a group of my colleagues / fellow software weenies - that in school we were required to take calc 1 & 2... yet we
                  Message 8 of 17 , Feb 23, 2013
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                    >> I spent my life in Electrical Engineering and never used calculus

                    Funny you said that. I mentioned to a group of my colleagues / fellow software weenies - that in school we were required to take calc 1 & 2... yet we mostly do +1 and -1. We hardly ever use multiply. Nobody disagreed.

                    Calculus!!! I can barely spell that anymore.


                    Jong

                    On Feb 23, 2013, at 9:22 AM, "Larry Beaty" <lbeaty@...> wrote:

                    > I spent my life in Electrical Engineering and never used calculus
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