Circuits for noobs

xcj999

Member
2014-11-08 4:37 pm
Hi guys,

I've spent quite some time lurking around and trying to figure out how some circuits here work. I've never had any "eletronics training" before, so I have to start from scratch. Ive read quite a bit about V, R and I, capacitors and the basic stuff. The thing is, as soon as circuits get a bit more complicated i get totally lost ;-) And i would really like to understand them a bit more...

So i was wondering, if any of you had to start from 0 without any teachers and how you went about it. Can you suggest any good books/websites? Especially ones that could help me understanding how to read a bit more complicated circuits.

Do you usually think in terms of V or I when looking the first time at a diagram? Or is it more about recognizing certain element groups and knowing what their effect is?

Would be cool to hear how you got your knowledge :)
Kind Regards
Cj
 
xcj999 said:
Or is it more about recognizing certain element groups and knowing what their effect is?
Yes, that is the way to do it. For example, once you understand how an emitter/drain/cathode follower works, and what its typical characteristics are, you can look for that sub-circuit in various circuits.

A useful split (provided it is not pushed too far) is to divide a circuit into two:
1. parts for setting DC bias
2. parts for handling the signal

Most of my electronics knowledge is self-taught. I started with a Philips EE kit and made the circuits in the manual, then started modifying them. There are modern versions of this. In my view this is better than buying a specific kit for a particular piece of equipment, if your aim is understanding rather than just experience of building stuff.
 

xcj999

Member
2014-11-08 4:37 pm
alright, so this seems to be the right direction ;-) In the moment my biggest trouble is getting my head around transistors - don't know why I have such a problem with them *lol* i guess its because to many connections show up and i get confused. I think corkpullers suggestion might help in that regard.

Understanding and building - both fun. Ideally I am looking for understanding the circuit before i build it :)
 
Hi guys,

I've spent quite some time lurking around and trying to figure out how some circuits here work. I've never had any "eletronics training" before, so I have to start from scratch. Ive read quite a bit about V, R and I, capacitors and the basic stuff. The thing is, as soon as circuits get a bit more complicated i get totally lost ;-) And i would really like to understand them a bit more...

So i was wondering, if any of you had to start from 0 without any teachers and how you went about it. Can you suggest any good books/websites?

Lets face it, the books I learned basic electricity from were hand-lettered in calligraphy by monks on sheep's skin, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. They are long out of print, so that will be no help to you.

Seriously, back in the day my dad had a set of these and they are what I learned basic electricity from:

Audels New Electric Library 1929 10 Volume Set Leather

The principles are still the same but the illustrations include first generation vacuum tubes and knob-and-tube wiring, so the context might be confusing.

There has been quite a bit of favorable comment about a book named:

"The Art Of Electronics"

The third edition is on Amazon for about $90 for the third edition,

http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Electronics-Paul-Horowitz/dp/0521809266

but there are plenty of earlier editions on eBay and other places on the web for about $20.

The new edition is pretty cool, but basic electronics hasn't changed since I was a pup. I've reviewed the relevant chapters from both editions, and really nothing of substance has changed.

Oh, and the book doesn't even mention tubes.
 

xcj999

Member
2014-11-08 4:37 pm
arny: *grins* sounds like the good old time? ;-)
but I heard about the Horowitz book the second time so I will definitely have to look into it. I guess part of the difficulty is all the maths behind it, and the lack of opportunity to apply it. Well , or more my impatience - trying to learn new stuff before i fully understood (and practiced) the old stuff :D

bruce: yeah, i spent quite some time on google but the sheer mass of information is hard to filter. And good explanations are a bit hard to find. I'm sure they are there, but buried under tons of confusing stuff. I guess I lack a bit of structure also ;)
and i guess if I spend quite some money on building projects - which will happen sooner than later - i guess its worth spending some money on a good structured book as well. Also, i get your point, why waste money when there is free stuff around *grins*
 

Mooly

Administrator
Paid Member
2007-09-15 8:14 am
Do you usually think in terms of V or I when looking the first time at a diagram? Or is it more about recognizing certain element groups and knowing what their effect is?

Would be cool to hear how you got your knowledge :)
Kind Regards
Cj

Thinking back and I learnt by reading, reading and reading... scouring the local libraries for anything and everything electronics related.

A plug in breadboard and a bag of components teaches you much, you get a real feel for what is happening. Even the simplest of things such as controlling an LED from a transistor and seeing how the transistor behaves would be the kind of stuff to begin with.

There are no short cuts but if the (your) interest is there then you will learn, and learn quickly. These days test equipment is cheap. A good meter and dare I say it, a cheap USB type oscilloscope would be a huge bonus.
 

xcj999

Member
2014-11-08 4:37 pm
thanks for letting me know about you beginnings and the encouraging words

you are absolutely right, i definitely have to get doing stuff... i guess it would be easiest to get one of the premade kits. I don't really have a source for electronic parts locally and ordering piece by piece is getting expensive

about the oscilloscope - is usb the cheapest way to go? or is it maybe worth trying to find something old online? any special features I should look out for? am a bit short on money for the next months ;-)
 

Mooly

Administrator
Paid Member
2007-09-15 8:14 am
Well if your really interested then a 'real' analogue scope would be a worthwhile purchase. A dual trace 20Mhz or higher model would make a great first scope. As to buying bits and pieces, well you could get a 'resistor kit' that has say 10 of all the popular values, a handful of general purpose transistors and some opamps and a selection of capacitors. £$30 should get you a good assortment to start with for simple circuits.
 

Mooly

Administrator
Paid Member
2007-09-15 8:14 am

xcj999

Member
2014-11-08 4:37 pm
*lol* good that i asked ;-) thanks for the audacity guide and the links.
I have absolutely no clue why these scopes didn't show up when i searched for them on ebay... really wierd. I only get results that are all at least 150 Eur. anyway, that pricerange looks really doable, thanks a lot!