What got you started?

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Hi all,
I was wondering how you DIYers got started, especially the ones who did not study electronics or those who are not working in the electronics field.
For me, the inspiration was my uncle, a whiz at DIY. Watching him wind his own transformers, construct, repair was a fantastic sight. That led me to pursue a B.Sc in electronics. And of course, there were was one other guy in college who was a DIY buff.
I would like to see comments from others too.

Hi Jean,
I did that too. I opened up our TV set and looked around when my parents were out. Fortunately for me, nothing went wrong or else I would not be here today.
Oh and how can I forget the cassette player I totally wrecked with the excuse of fixing it after it conked out. Now, I salvage it for parts.

i too used to dismantle things as a kid just to see how they worked. of course, taking something apart and seeing a circuit board as a kid told me nothing, but i still enjoyed taking it apart :)

i ended up here (and ultimately becoming more and more DIY), becuase of the projector thread. but, after seeing nelson pass here, i was hooked. knowing i could build old pass labs stuff with supervision and guidance, i was all for it. so, i guess the prescence of pass was the main factor.

thank you nelson.
Joined 2001
Paid Member
My 1st DIY was to disassemble the flip down TT hifi my parents had bought and rehouse it into separates (in my early teens). The speaker boxes were made of a double layer of wood i salvaged from mandarin orange crates with orange grill cloth -- i still have one of those boxes. I still have the amp from this which went thru another transformation into my 5-buck amp.

For me, it was the 150-in-1 electronics project kit from Radio Shack that my parents got me for Christmas one year when I was a kid. You could make all kinds of radios, oscillators, etc.

Several years later, I build a pair of cheap stereo speakers (again, used Radio Shack components) after toasting a pair of bookshelfs with a 100wpc amp. Necessity caused this one:) Good thing, too, as they will be my test speakers for my new a40 amp - don't really care what happens to them...

Then I grew up and found this place, though I should probably be spending my time elsewhere:D
Joined 2002
For me it started when I walked into a JBL dealer back in the 70’s. They were playing a tri-amped system they built as a rental and I was hooked. I read some articles in Audio Magazine that referenced papers by these guy’s, Theile, Small, Allison, Olsen, and others. So it was off to the library dumping rolls of nickels into the copy machine coping journal papers one after another. When I began to read the papers, it was very apparent that all these guys were Greek because I couldn’t understand a thing they were saying. I decided to leave the hangout in front of the drugstore and go back to school to get my BSEE, but in the mean time, I did manage to DIY my sub-bass end tables via the JBL instructions.

Rodd Yamas***a
I started out in a time when everything was new and very expensive.
CD players were in fashion but very expensive. Buying a HIFI was expensive. My parents couldn´t afford a hi-fi back then so I started thinking , how do these things work? How are they built? I started with a 3 way speaker that costed allmost nothing and then an amplifier and so on.
Today after studying and reading a lot I think that in a few things I can do it better than commercial units because I can control the quality and quantity of what I build.
Another factor that was really important is that I love to listen to music and I want to listen to it in real good quality.
Rodd I guess your last name is out of line for the new moderation rules!!!
My dad built kits when I was a kid including a color TV. I kind of took it all for granted but a really funny thing happened to me in high school. I was big into art and went on to study it in college, dumb as a bucket of rocks about math and electronics and crazy about music. I talked the art teacher into letting me bring in some parts of an old kit my Dad had built me for Xmas one year so we could play records. It was a flip open TT with integrated amp and a pair of 6X9 speakers. Well it also had an input jack so I rigged up a transister radios ear plug to input the signal by splitting the signal and using a stereo phono jack into the input. Later as it was starting to take up tu much space the kit was dismantled so that just the TT amp section was left and I had a pair of 6X9s with baffles only for speakers. Sounded awful and so I started trying out different things to put them in and finally found that in the bottom of those old steel trash cans they had in the school rooms they sounded pretty good. The cans had a bit of a flair to them and after getting them tilted and using matt board etc I actually ended up with some front loaded horns! That system lasted for 3 years in that classroom. FM radio and stereo record player. Everyone loved it. I found out that by being persistant and using my imagination that I could make something as silly as a pair of old beat up trash cans make good music.
Pulling things apart

I found a carbon microphone when I was in 3rd grade and hooked it up to a speaker via a couple D-cells. When I had the mumps in 4th grade my father bought me a REMCO crystal radio set. I built my first ham transmitter on an baking pan using a directly keyed 6DQ6B sweep tube! I took apart TV's to make many transmitters, got all the way up to the 1296 band! At that time there was a lot of surplus military stuff around which was sold by the pound, so you could buy a microwave receiver for less than $20. I had jobs helping physicists out repairing equipment in college, or figuring out how to do things, like make a phase-lock amplifier with 12AX7's, or eliminating noise, various assistant jobs in physical chemistry, but it wasn't exciting enough to do full time for a living. In the cold war period, kids with an interest in electronics were very highly encouraged to pursue their avocation/vocation.
All began in the end of the 70th.
At that time I was infected by the HiFi-virus already (instead making the drivers license, I invested my parents 18th birthday money gift in a second hand Micro-Seiki TT and everybody called me nuts when I told them what I have payed for it) but hadn`t an imagination that one could DIY this also as I saw by chance what a fellow schoolboy did in the neighborhood. He made incredible speakers and an aweful carpenter job at his enclosures.
From that time on it was clear that by all means I want to be able to DIY also and since I have been at the poor guys home almost every day asking bunches of questions and borrowing cataloges, a book about DIY speakers (actually the ONLY one avaiable at that time) and tools .
The book was like chinese to me but I read it again and again, everytime understanding a bit more.
Short time later I did my first speaker with a Fostex Fullrange driver and an Audax Dome tweeter (the ONLY single drivers avaible at that time were Fostex, KEF, JBL and Audax) that I liked more than the Wharfedale`s I had. One after the other project followed periodically. Always been on the hunt for more information and improving my knowledge and skills and upgraded my tools and equipment continually.
25 years later I´m still infected and more deeply involved in DIY-Audio (still particular in speakers but electronics also) than ever before - and no end in sight.
Retired diyAudio Moderator
Joined 2002
For me, I have been interested in electronics since I was a young kid, taking apart anything that I could find, and fixing small electronic devices. I also had an interest in audio.

Since taking an analog electronics last fall at college, I began to understand how basic analog devices worked, and looking over schematics for amplifiers, I realized that I could build one myself. I built my first amplifier, a two channel Leach amp, and since then, I have built several more projects, and started many more.

Many of us seem to have gotten the interest in audio electronics by breaking up things.
I forgot to mention that I had also ruined an old Philips record player. It was made of wood with a plastic hood. I do not remember which model it was. But pulling off the tonearm was fun then. So was removing the counterweight and ripping apart the motor. I wish I had not done it at that time or else I would have had a TT now.

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