GoClick
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 7:54 pm

Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 5:31 pm

What resources would you recommend for learning about electronics for someone who already has a little bit of experience, years of programming experience, and who isn't a dolt? It seems all the books are geared towards seven year old kids, or people who want to go much deeper than I do.

Optional background information:
I've been web programmer since the mid '90s (I started with BASIC, then Pascal, and C, then went into Web stuff with PHP back in '98, but have been on Python for over a decade now.) Recently I've wanted to have some fun making things that aren't purely virtual, but don't know too too much about electronics.

I picked up a copy of the 3rd edition of "Practical Electronics for Inventors" by Paul Scherz, Simon Monk. However I've found it unpleasant to get through. It's very slow, partially because it's very dry, and partially because it's not structured to my taste. For example it discusses calculating resistance in different gauges of wire before gauges are even introduced (of course I know what wire gauge is, it's just annoying. There's also coverage the effects inside of semiconductors before basic circuits have really been introduced. It's that it's too difficult for me, I already understand basic circuits a bit, it's just annoying to get through and way too slow.

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panik
Posts: 369
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Location: Netherlands

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 6:27 pm

"The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill just came out in a 3rd edition. http://artofelectronics.net/

A bit pricey, but the title must be mentioned.
Microcontroller addon boards and software for Raspberry Pi A+/B+/Pi2:
- ARMinARM: ARM Cortex-M3 (STM32)
- AVRPi: ATmega32U4 & ATmega328 ("Arduino")
http://www.onandoffables.com

GoClick
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 7:54 pm

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 6:42 pm

Price isn't really a huge issue but I am concerned that The Art of Electronics is perhaps too advanced / has too much detail for me. I'm not looking to build a career in electronics, just play around. That said, is there any reason the 2nd edition wouldn't be good enough?

I didn't consider the Evil Genius book because in my past experience books like that usually for kids and are often too simplistic to take the contents of the books beyond the examples in the books easily. Also they tend to assume you're either totally ignorant of the topic and end up wasting time. I'll certainly give it more consideration now.

Heater
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Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 7:13 pm

I'm sure the second edition of "The Art of Electronics" would be just fine.

If I remember correctly it has some chapters on micro-processors/micro-controllers that will be out of date now. I never really understood why they included that digital stuff. The rest of it is still mostly valid.

But hey, have a search around the net for electronics tutorials, there are many.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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clive
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Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 7:37 pm

Have a look at Make: Electronics by Charles Platt. Starts easy, enough depth for serious hobbyist, good fun, lots of background and theory but not too heavy. You can look inside on Amazon...

Only downside for me was US-centricity (Radioshack parts lists). This may or may not be a problem depending on where you live ;)

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joan
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Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 7:45 pm

You could do what I do and just stick to the digital stuff. Then you don't really need any electronics knowledge at all.

GoClick
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 7:54 pm

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 7:51 pm

The Make book and it's sequel are probably at the top of my list right now.

I live in the US but honesty I didn't even know Radio Shack still existed.

Heater
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Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 8:47 pm

joan
You could do what I do and just stick to the digital stuff. Then you don't really need any electronics knowledge at all.
You could. But that is really boring. And I presume you mean programming, because creating digital circuits is a very analogue affair.

At some point your "digital stuff" has to interact with the real world. Then we are into electronics and physics.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Jednorozec
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Location: Deposit, NY

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 9:12 pm

GoClick wrote:I live in the US but honesty I didn't even know Radio Shack still existed.
They closed a lot of their stores but there are still some around.
The most important leg of a three legged stool is the one that's missing.
It's called thinking. Why don't you try it sometime?

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panik
Posts: 369
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:29 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 9:27 pm

Heater wrote:I'm sure the second edition of "The Art of Electronics" would be just fine.

If I remember correctly it has some chapters on micro-processors/micro-controllers that will be out of date now. I never really understood why they included that digital stuff. The rest of it is still mostly valid.
Yeah, the parts are updated. But the theory behind the digital stuff is still valid too. My 2nd edition will not be replaced any time soon.

"We're not worthy!": http://www.eevblog.com/2015/03/26/the-a ... d-edition/
Microcontroller addon boards and software for Raspberry Pi A+/B+/Pi2:
- ARMinARM: ARM Cortex-M3 (STM32)
- AVRPi: ATmega32U4 & ATmega328 ("Arduino")
http://www.onandoffables.com

boyoh
Posts: 1341
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:30 pm
Location: Selby. North Yorkshire .UK

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 10:27 pm

GoClick wrote:What resources would you recommend for learning about electronics for someone who already has a little bit of experience, years of programming experience, and who isn't a dolt? It seems all the books are geared towards seven year old kids, or people who want to go much deeper than I do.

Optional background information:
I've been web programmer since the mid '90s (I started with BASIC, then Pascal, and C, then went into Web stuff with PHP back in '98, but have been on Python for over a decade now.) Recently I've wanted to have some fun making things that aren't purely virtual, but don't know too too much about electronics.

I picked up a copy of the 3rd edition of "Practical Electronics for Inventors" by Paul Scherz, Simon Monk. However I've found it unpleasant to get through. It's very slow, partially because it's very dry, and partially because it's not structured to my taste. For example it discusses calculating resistance in different gauges of wire before gauges are even introduced (of course I know what wire gauge is, it's just annoying. There's also coverage the effects inside of semiconductors before basic circuits have really been introduced. It's that it's too difficult for me, I already understand basic circuits a bit, it's just annoying to get through and way too slow.
Electronics 2000
HomeCalculators
Downloads
Technical DataPin-outsBeginners Guide
ForumLinks
FAQContact
Beginners Guide - Introduction

OK, so you're new to electronics, or wondering whether to take it up as a hobby. The question is, where to start? Electronics covers many areas, just think how many pieces of equipment use electronics - you're using one of them right now. It can leave you wondering just where to begin.

This guide covers everything you need to get started. Probably the best way to get started is to build a kit. This allows you to get experience of the practical side of electronics, without worrying about the theory. Sooner or later you will probably want to learn some theory, so that you can design your own circuits, but you don't need to worry about that yet.

As well as a kit you will need a few tools to construct it with. However, don't be fooled into buying every tool under the sun - only the basics are needed to get started. This is discussed further on in this section.

That's all you need to start with, apart from a few basic skills such as soldering, also covered in this section. Use the arrows at the bottom of each page to view the pages in order. You can also skip around if you want, using the menu at the top of the page. Make sure you read all the sections before starting, then follow the sections in order as you build the kit.

Go for it!
BoyOh ( Selby, North Yorkshire.UK)
Some Times Right Some Times Wrong

boyoh
Posts: 1341
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:30 pm
Location: Selby. North Yorkshire .UK

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Wed May 13, 2015 10:48 pm

boyoh wrote:
GoClick wrote:What resources would you recommend for learning about electronics for someone who already has a little bit of experience, years of programming experience, and who isn't a dolt? It seems all the books are geared towards seven year old kids, or people who want to go much deeper than I do.

Optional background information:
I've been web programmer since the mid '90s (I started with BASIC, then Pascal, and C, then went into Web stuff with PHP back in '98, but have been on Python for over a decade now.) Recently I've wanted to have some fun making things that aren't purely virtual, but don't know too too much about electronics.

I picked up a copy of the 3rd edition of "Practical Electronics for Inventors" by Paul Scherz, Simon Monk. However I've found it unpleasant to get through. It's very slow, partially because it's very dry, and partially because it's not structured to my taste. For example it discusses calculating resistance in different gauges of wire before gauges are even introduced (of course I know what wire gauge is, it's just annoying. There's also coverage the effects inside of semiconductors before basic circuits have really been introduced. It's that it's too difficult for me, I already understand basic circuits a bit, it's just annoying to get through and way too slow.
Electronics 2000
HomeCalculators
Downloads
Technical DataPin-outsBeginners Guide
ForumLinks
FAQContact
Beginners Guide - Introduction

OK, so you're new to electronics, or wondering whether to take it up as a hobby. The question is, where to start? Electronics covers many areas, just think how many pieces of equipment use electronics - you're using one of them right now. It can leave you wondering just where to begin.

This guide covers everything you need to get started. Probably the best way to get started is to build a kit. This allows you to get experience of the practical side of electronics, without worrying about the theory. Sooner or later you will probably want to learn some theory, so that you can design your own circuits, but you don't need to worry about that yet.

As well as a kit you will need a few tools to construct it with. However, don't be fooled into buying every tool under the sun - only the basics are needed to get started. This is discussed further on in this section.

That's all you need to start with, apart from a few basic skills such as soldering, also covered in this section. Use the arrows at the bottom of each page to view the pages in order. You can also skip around if you want, using the menu at the top of the page. Make sure you read all the sections before starting, then follow the sections in order as you build the kit.

Go for it!
I'm sorry to disappoint you there is no magic books
or formula for learning Electronics, Only reading
and practical circuit building, and testing
The books that you said are for 7year olds
are the books that you want. Remember
a Volt's Amps Watts Ohms , are all the
same value witch ever book you get.
My advice is start at bottom.Learn Ohms Law
Regards BoyOh
BoyOh ( Selby, North Yorkshire.UK)
Some Times Right Some Times Wrong

boyoh
Posts: 1341
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:30 pm
Location: Selby. North Yorkshire .UK

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Thu May 14, 2015 7:41 am

boyoh wrote:
boyoh wrote:
GoClick wrote:What resources would you recommend for learning about electronics for someone who already has a little bit of experience, years of programming experience, and who isn't a dolt? It seems all the books are geared towards seven year old kids, or people who want to go much deeper than I do.

Optional background information:
I've been web programmer since the mid '90s (I started with BASIC, then Pascal, and C, then went into Web stuff with PHP back in '98, but have been on Python for over a decade now.) Recently I've wanted to have some fun making things that aren't purely virtual, but don't know too too much about electronics.

I picked up a copy of the 3rd edition of "Practical Electronics for Inventors" by Paul Scherz, Simon Monk. However I've found it unpleasant to get through. It's very slow, partially because it's very dry, and partially because it's not structured to my taste. For example it discusses calculating resistance in different gauges of wire before gauges are even introduced (of course I know what wire gauge is, it's just annoying. There's also coverage the effects inside of semiconductors before basic circuits have really been introduced. It's that it's too difficult for me, I already understand basic circuits a bit, it's just annoying to get through and way too slow.
Electronics 2000
HomeCalculators
Downloads
Technical DataPin-outsBeginners Guide
ForumLinks
FAQContact
Beginners Guide - Introduction

OK, so you're new to electronics, or wondering whether to take it up as a hobby. The question is, where to start? Electronics covers many areas, just think how many pieces of equipment use electronics - you're using one of them right now. It can leave you wondering just where to begin.

This guide covers everything you need to get started. Probably the best way to get started is to build a kit. This allows you to get experience of the practical side of electronics, without worrying about the theory. Sooner or later you will probably want to learn some theory, so that you can design your own circuits, but you don't need to worry about that yet.

As well as a kit you will need a few tools to construct it with. However, don't be fooled into buying every tool under the sun - only the basics are needed to get started. This is discussed further on in this section.

That's all you need to start with, apart from a few basic skills such as soldering, also covered in this section. Use the arrows at the bottom of each page to view the pages in order. You can also skip around if you want, using the menu at the top of the page. Make sure you read all the sections before starting, then follow the sections in order as you build the kit.

Go for it!
I'm sorry to disappoint you there is no magic books
or formula for learning Electronics, Only reading
and practical circuit building, and testing
The books that you said are for 7year olds
are the books that you want. Remember
a Volt's Amps Watts Ohms , are all the
same value witch ever book you get.
My advice is start at bottom.Learn Ohms Law
Regards BoyOh

Now I know you live in the land of the Silicon Chip USA
There are very good books on Electronics called
Engineer's Mini notebooks by Forrest M. Mims III.
I have sets of them on different applications of electronics
I'm 84yrs and still learning
BoyOh ( Selby, North Yorkshire.UK)
Some Times Right Some Times Wrong

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morphy_richards
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Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Thu May 14, 2015 8:14 am

panik wrote:"The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill just came out in a 3rd edition. http://artofelectronics.net/

A bit pricey, but the title must be mentioned.
The bible! :o
./~ Ooooooaaahhhhhh ./~ (Queue angelic choir sound)

I have the second or first edition, bought back in 1996. It's the only book that I didn't sell on once I finished uni.
I like to take it out from time to time and look at it while turning the pages reverently.

henryhanselscott
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:31 pm

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Thu May 14, 2015 10:04 am

Many folks may find the Forrest Mims series of books childish. However, they are the best way that I have found to teach electronics to young and old people. Once I was asked to teach a semester of high school electronics at a private school. They picked my curriculum for me, the typical heavy math based learning material. After a couple of weeks of trying to keep the class engaged to no avail, I switched over to the Forrest Mims books. At that point the class came alive and most of the students "got it".

If your goal is to "self learn" without an instructor to help you when you get stuck, you will want material that is full of practical applications that you can build and learn from. The Forrest book series is exactly that.

My career is in industrial control systems. My job requires me to design and build embedded controls for automation equipment in the manufacturing sector. I would not be doing this today had I not picked up the book "Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest Mims.

Henry

IvanHewlett
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 8:50 am

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Thu May 14, 2015 10:16 am

Hi
I won't say electronics is easy, but it really isn't that difficult - and with component prices dropping it isn't too costly even if you blow some things up. I tried building a MosFet based motor controller back in the late eighties and hate to think how much money went up in smoke then !!
The internet is a wonderful resource though and there are some great sites out there - for example type in 'H bridge design' into google and you will find several sites detailing H bridge motor controllers that will also explain how to interface them to arduino or Pi.

As another reply said, paraphrased, at the end of the day its all volts, amps and ohms - at least at DC most of the time, stick within data sheet limits (these are also freely available on the web) and don't be afraid to experiment, I use 12 or 24 volt DC most of the time and provided the supply lines are fused you are pretty safe. A word of caution though, applying 24 volts directly to an LED without limiting resistor creates a bright flash....and shrapnel - you have been warned ;)

Cheers Ivan

webzterd
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:47 am

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Thu May 14, 2015 10:27 am

from your description of you, I am very similar.

programmer & DB admin at heart for my job now, I'm not slow on the uptake unless I am tired/hungry & when I was young had a 250-in-1 electronic project lab but that was quite some time ago and much of what I learned about actual electronics forgotten. I learn by doing much better than solely reading and this happens every time I learn something new - make it practical and I remember.

so here comes some advice from me:

buy an arduino kit and get practical. this is a step away from the pi, but given you can get arduino uno compatible boards for much cheapness, im not worried about making silly mistakes and blowing them. its also teaching me the deeper workings of the electronics.

Next, add google & youtube.

For example I had an external fish tank heater that went on the fritz, it was the pcb. I then had an idea that I could use an arduino with a temp sensor & make my own controller with a suitable relay. googling helped and next thing I'm making a really simple version without the arduino at all.

im now back to the Pi and so much more is making sense immediately for me, although I'm now delving into the wireless world and completely lost again :s

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MarkHaysHarris777
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Location: Rochester, MN
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Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Thu May 14, 2015 1:20 pm

joan wrote:You could do what I do and just stick to the digital stuff. Then you don't really need any electronics knowledge at all.
:? I have been suspicious of this... :!:

I do know what you mean, all kidding aside. In fact, many people slip into that mode often especially in today's environment where 'stuff' just seems to work 'logically' more often than not, and standards (sometimes) allow things to be connected together without fuss.

But the attitude that 'engineering' is not needed is incorrect; particularly when trying to build a 'long' 1Wire Lan, or interfacing 1v8, 3v3, and 5v SoC(s) and devices... or knowing when and how to use pull-up or pull-down resistors and why, and a host of other 'electronics' issues. A good solid foundation in electrical theory will make the hobby more interesting as well as 'safer' if you know what I mean.

I am an amateur radio operator (W0MHH) and I like to do QRP (low power) CW continuous wave communications on the 40 m band just for the fun of seeing how far, how many, contacts I can make with my own equipment on the lowest power settings. SoC(s) come into it these days, and at least for me and other radio hobbyists a knowledge of electronics engineering is absolutely essential.

From a digital 'only' angle, then yes, less electronics engineering is mandated, but not completely should it be ignored. IMHO
marcus
:ugeek:

boyoh
Posts: 1341
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:30 pm
Location: Selby. North Yorkshire .UK

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Thu May 14, 2015 2:51 pm

joan wrote:You could do what I do and just stick to the digital stuff. Then you don't really need any electronics knowledge at all.

Joan I have followed many of your posts.
all very good answers, But sticking to
digital electronics is the easy way out.
It's nice to know about the analogue
Circuits in that little black package with
all. them little legs. If you understand
Analogue electronics you will learn
digital electronics easier, If you only
understand digital electronics, you
will find analogue electronics much harder
to grasp, Think of all the analogue signals
that will have to be converted for the Pi.

With great respect BoyOh
BoyOh ( Selby, North Yorkshire.UK)
Some Times Right Some Times Wrong

jcreasey
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:09 pm
Location: Seattle, USA

Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Sun May 24, 2015 9:38 pm

While not about designing/making your own circuits, I just released a book that's at least focussed on interfacing at a reasonable target age level. Not for the complete code/hardware newbie.
https://www.packtpub.com/hardware-and-c ... essentials
The book is aimed at teens and up with the learning objectives designed to introduce the reader to design thinking around microprocessor projects based on the Raspberry Pi rather than just entry level simple scripts.
Unfortunately, all of these books have to start with the installation processes, but I tried to have the reader build a development environment that will help them as they develop skills. The code for the book is all downloadable so not limited to what you can type in, and the majority in Python. I kept the Python simple, without using class modules, so all the code is as readable as I could make it. There is also considerable extra material in downloadable form (about another 30 content pages worth along with chip data sheets etc) as I tried not to over simplify any project.
You can get a feel for my writing style density here: https://www.packtpub.com/books/content/ ... and-1-wire

JackC

marked
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Re: Learning electronics, for smart people.

Mon May 25, 2015 9:15 am

morphy_richards wrote: The bible! :o
./~ Ooooooaaahhhhhh ./~ (Queue angelic choir sound)

I have the second or first edition, bought back in 1996. It's the only book that I didn't sell on once I finished uni.
I like to take it out from time to time and look at it while turning the pages reverently.
EEVBlog's take - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4-jbobSll4

1996 would be 2nd edition (unless you bought used) I bought my 2nd ed in 1991, during my first year of Electronic Engineering...

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