boyoh
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Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:30 am

Learning Electronics
Gone are the days when you could have a breadboard full of
Triple 5s OpAmps D Type flip-flops Build your own power
Supply. Send off for bags of surplus components very cheep
Analogue multimeter witch you had to calculate It’s impedance
In your test’s and NO GOOGLE, Today it is all plug & play
And buy it not build it

Regards BoyOh 87yrs Retired Electrical / Electronics Technician
BoyOh ( Selby, North Yorkshire.UK)
Some Times Right Some Times Wrong

Heater
Posts: 13855
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:15 am

Hello boyoh,

Luckily the days that you could have a breadboard full of triple 5s op amps D type flip-flops are not quite over yet. All those things are still available. Cheaper than they were back in the day. Check ebay. There are a surprising lot of people around the net still doing that kind of thing.

Sending off for bags of surplus components very cheap. It is actually much easier and cheaper today than it was when I started tinkering with electronics as a kid in 1970. Again, Check ebay, want hundreds of transistors, capacitors, resistor, chips?No problem.

Arguably now is a better time for a young kid to get into electronics than it ever was. There are so many interesting an cheap components, gadgets, test instruments, whatever available.

I visited a Maker Faire in California a couple of years back. Amazing. It was a huge event with all kind of people building all kind of electronic things.

Best of all, the was a new edition of "The Art of Electronics" out recently: https://www.cambridge.org/ir/academic/s ... 0521809269
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

echmain
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:52 am

Is this a slam for or against the Raspberry Pi?

Not sure what this post is doing here.

jamesh
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:16 pm

boyoh wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:30 am
Learning Electronics
Gone are the days when you could have a breadboard full of
Triple 5s OpAmps D Type flip-flops Build your own power
Supply. Send off for bags of surplus components very cheep
Analogue multimeter witch you had to calculate It’s impedance
In your test’s and NO GOOGLE, Today it is all plug & play
And buy it not build it

Regards BoyOh 87yrs Retired Electrical / Electronics Technician
Probably not particularly Raspberry Pi oriented?
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
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alphanumeric
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:23 pm

Also a retired Electronics Technician. Personally I'd much rather buy a breakout board, Hat or pHat etc with most of my work done for me. Audio amplifier, sensor, motor controller etc. Why reinvent the wheel? ;) You can still do it from scratch though, if you want to take the time. I have better things to do. Bit if I can't buy it I can and will build it. =)
Last edited by alphanumeric on Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rpdom
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:48 pm

It depends what I'm building.

If I just want something that does a particular function and there is a part available that does it all for me, then I'll use that.

If I'm designing a project of my own I will probably build it using discrete components although I now tend to use smd devces on proto board instead of through hole on breadboard.

I agree with Heater that these are really good times to live in for component availability and pricing in many cases. Thirty years ago (or so) you could go into your local Tandy and buy a little bag with 5 resistors in for £0.25. Now you can get packs of 100 on ebay for £1 :-)

My component boxes have never been so full!

Currently I'm investigating making my own PCBs (again, but much better than the old hand drawn ones), some for use with my Pis (to make it tenuously on-topic).

Heater
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:19 pm

jamesh
Probably not particularly Raspberry Pi oriented?
The Pi has a GPIO connector. One would expect that is for connecting things to. One would expect those things might be home made. That is electronics.

Learning some electronics seems within scope of the Pi community to me.

Especially as we see a daily stream of people asking about connecting this or that who clearly have no idea, can't tell an amp from a volt.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Burngate
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:46 pm

Back in the day, I used a real breadboard with nails knocked in, until my mother gave me a wallop (she said it ruined the toast)

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rpdom
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:08 pm

Burngate wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:46 pm
Back in the day, I used a real breadboard with nails knocked in, until my mother gave me a wallop (she said it ruined the toast)
I have done similar, but I was kept away from the bread board. I used a few pieces of soft wood instead.

Andyroo

Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:13 pm

Burngate wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:46 pm
Back in the day, I used a real breadboard with nails knocked in, until my mother gave me a wallop (she said it ruined the toast)
You so and so - had me going around trying to work that out till I read the end of thesentence :lol:

As for the OP and thread title. It is one area that lets the Pi community down for on-line support and the Jam groups could step up and grow.

The number of posts that assume things are just plug and pray are significant and the lack of basic search skills embarrassing.

I know SMDs have taken electronics beyond the beginner but classic through hole parts are still available but the knowledge behind how and why has been replaced by ‘plug this HAT in’ or ‘fit this USB device’ and even trying ‘blue wire to pin 3’ Is not followed in some cases.

Can the Foundation do anything? Possibly a basic electronics set with good examples the do things is needed again rather than a new Pi and some way to get this out to the general user?

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Imperf3kt
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:21 pm

rpdom wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:08 pm
Burngate wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:46 pm
Back in the day, I used a real breadboard with nails knocked in, until my mother gave me a wallop (she said it ruined the toast)
I have done similar, but I was kept away from the bread board. I used a few pieces of soft wood instead.
I remember my first 'breadboard', it consisted of springs stuck in a cardboard box and a bunch of wires.
55:55:44:44:4C
52:4C:52:42:41

alphanumeric
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:29 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:21 pm
rpdom wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:08 pm
Burngate wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:46 pm
Back in the day, I used a real breadboard with nails knocked in, until my mother gave me a wallop (she said it ruined the toast)
I have done similar, but I was kept away from the bread board. I used a few pieces of soft wood instead.
I remember my first 'breadboard', it consisted of springs stuck in a cardboard box and a bunch of wires.
I can remeber electronic learning kits like that. The components were mounted in the carboard with a spring on each of their terminals. You built your circuit by linking the springs with the included jumper wires. The projects in the book stated out really simple and progressed in difficulty as you went though the pages. I had one as a young lad. It was what lead me down my career path. I am now a retired electronic technician. :D

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:38 pm

alphanumeric wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:29 pm
Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:21 pm
rpdom wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:08 pm

I have done similar, but I was kept away from the bread board. I used a few pieces of soft wood instead.
I remember my first 'breadboard', it consisted of springs stuck in a cardboard box and a bunch of wires.
I can remeber electronic learning kits like that. The components were mounted in the carboard with a spring on each of their terminals. You built your circuit by linking the springs with the included jumper wires. The projects in the book stated out really simple and progressed in difficulty as you went though the pages. I had one as a young lad. It was what lead me down my career path. I am now a retired electronic technician. :D
Those are still around. My son gave my grandson (his nephew) one of those kits a couple of years ago.

alphanumeric
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:46 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:38 pm
alphanumeric wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:29 pm
Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:21 pm


I remember my first 'breadboard', it consisted of springs stuck in a cardboard box and a bunch of wires.
I can remeber electronic learning kits like that. The components were mounted in the carboard with a spring on each of their terminals. You built your circuit by linking the springs with the included jumper wires. The projects in the book stated out really simple and progressed in difficulty as you went though the pages. I had one as a young lad. It was what lead me down my career path. I am now a retired electronic technician. :D
Those are still around. My son gave my grandson (his nephew) one of those kits a couple of years ago.
Thats nice to hear. :)

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Imperf3kt
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:59 pm

Don't forget the paper PCB. All you need is a graphene pencil, a sheet of paper, and some sticky tape.
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alphanumeric
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:03 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:59 pm
Don't forget the paper PCB. All you need is a graphene pencil, a sheet of paper, and some sticky tape.
Insert big thumbs up smiley here. :D

Taking it one step further I'm seeing stuff done with conductive thread. Wearable electronics taken to another level. :D

LTolledo
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:31 pm

Audio reproduction (amplifiers and peripherals) has drawn me to the world of electronics. Making and audio amp was my first "pet project".
To learn more about how to realize my project I researched inside some libraries and bought some books.
After getting hold of an electronics project making book, got me interested in more projects.

There were times that I asked (sometimes appealed to) some professors if it was possible to "sit-in" on his/her electronics/computer class (if there is no schedule conflict with my regular course subjects) so that I can learn more about the subject. Most of them approved my request (didn't earn me college credits though, but hey I got to learn more for free)

As a college student that time, buying electronics parts for my project means saving part of my daily allowance to finance my hobby.
And as the local electronics cluster of stores is in short distance from school, I'd walk (to save additional cash) through it to browse stores on some parts and kits.
Successfully built my first DIY "component style" audio system before I graduated college.

One college project that we need to complete to pass a particular subject (from the regular course) was to make a "micro computer" based on the Z80 microprocessor. That got me to learn about digital electronics. The system was setup using breadboards to demonstrate that it works. We had to learn how to use a breadboard. Of the 20 groups assigned to do the same project, our group was one of two that successfully ran the test program and passed the subject.

Due to my keen interest in electronics and computer programming, most of my college batch mates actually though I graduated from Electronics Engineering or Computer Engineering when in fact I graduated from Electrical Engineering (dealing in power generation, power transmission and distribution) :D . Most of them were surprised and wondering why I was with the "wrong group" during graduation.

Well recently the RPi and Arduino got me back to that interest. Have steadily increased my parts inventory mostly acquired from online shops.
And there are still more projects that I want to complete. Its just a matter of finding time after work (and other hobbies). ;)
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alphanumeric
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:37 pm

I've spent way more money on bits and bytes for my Raspberry Pi addiction, now that I'm retired than I ever did on tech when I was working. :D
Only going to get worse now that I have a BBC Microbit and an Arduino Uno. :lol:

boyoh
Posts: 1347
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Re: Learning Electronics

Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:38 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:16 pm
boyoh wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:30 am
Learning Electronics
Gone are the days when you could have a breadboard full of
Triple 5s OpAmps D Type flip-flops Build your own power
Supply. Send off for bags of surplus components very cheep
Analogue multimeter witch you had to calculate It’s impedance
In your test’s and NO GOOGLE, Today it is all plug & play
And buy it not build it

Regards BoyOh 87yrs Retired Electrical / Electronics Technician
Probably not particularly Raspberry Pi oriented?
“Jamesh “ you have surprised me very much, I did not expect this
From a engineer “ Probably not particularly Raspberry Pi oriented?”
When I started learning electronics the Raspberry Pi was just
Pi in the sky This was in around about 1950 TTL days
So discreet components was the day No GOOGLE
No Digital multimeter No Computer No Calculator
I have made my own PCB, using etch resist pens and a
Bath of Ferric Chloride If the circuit failed to work you had
To know how to test it, All this was part of the learning curve

Regards BoyOh
BoyOh ( Selby, North Yorkshire.UK)
Some Times Right Some Times Wrong

hippy
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Location: UK

Re: Learning Electronics

Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:55 am

boyoh wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:30 am
Gone are the days when you could have a breadboard full of Triple 5s OpAmps D Type flip-flops Build your own power Supply.
Probably true. But for most people 'modules' and pre-built 'break-out boards' are the thing these days. I would have loved to have all those available years ago; I've done so much more and learned a lot through not having to build from the ground up with all the problems that posed.

I've still got OC71's lying around, chunky resistors and caps salvaged from TV's, original IC's with gold plated legs and lids. I would love to assemble my Am2901's into some sort of CPU one day, but it's so much easier and less hassle to just use an FPGA these days.

I guess whether it's better now depends where one's focus is and how one wants to have fun.

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Burngate
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Re: Learning Electronics

Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:59 am

boyoh wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:38 pm
jamesh wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:16 pm
boyoh wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:30 am
Learning Electronics
...
Regards BoyOh 87yrs Retired Electrical / Electronics Technician
Probably not particularly Raspberry Pi oriented?
“Jamesh “ you have surprised me very much,
...
The job of a moderator could be difficult in situations such as this - when is teaching computing not teaching computing?

When I first encountered a computer, "Hello World" was the first thing taught, using a high-level language, followed (in my case) by assembly.
That needed a bit of a map that included the ALU, a few registers and a bit of memory, but no real introduction to how those bits worked.

The guts of the thing were left till very much later, with a reluctant nod to the existence of the printer port as a way of interacting with the real world.
You weren't encouraged to take the lid off.

The Pi is very much inverted - the GPIO header sits there begging to be used, and blinking a LED comes close to the beginning.
There's no lid to take off.

I was going to go on by using an analogy with Tudor history that requires at least a bit of boat-building, or astronomy, where you can't understand the life-cycle of a star without at least encountering General Relativity, chemistry, and quantum mechanics, but I've rambled too much already.

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PeterO
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Re: Learning Electronics

Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:05 am

boyoh wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:38 pm
This was in around about 1950 TTL days
I think you are out by a few years !
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transisto ... stor_logic
"TTL was invented in 1961 by James L. Buie of TRW, which declared it, "particularly suited to the newly developing integrated circuit design technology."


PeterO
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Heater
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Re: Learning Electronics

Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:33 am

Well he does say "around about". Given that this is all 6 decades ago it's close enough.

My first encounter with digital logic chips was with the Diode Transistor Logic (DTL) 900 series, from Fairchild I believe, launched in 1961. Although it was a decade later that I got hold of them.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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PeterO
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Re: Learning Electronics

Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:47 am

Heater wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:33 am
Well he does say "around about". Given that this is all 6 decades ago it's close enough.
Actually it's not "close enough". Technology development in the 1960's was very fast. Not only at the hardware/gate level, but also at the architecture level. The decade started with serial machines with delay line and drum memories and ended with parallel machines with core stores and disks used for secondary storage only.

PeterO
Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!
Interests: C,Python,PIC,Electronics,Ham Radio (G0DZB),1960s British Computers.
"The primary requirement (as we've always seen in your examples) is that the code is readable. " Dougie Lawson

boyoh
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Re: Learning Electronics

Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:03 pm

Yes I might have got some of the dates wrong, but not the subjects
This date I know I have got correct, My first venture in to electronics
Was in 1945 , I built a radio crystal set using a crystal diode a cats whisker a wire coil tuning condenser and a bloody long outside
Arial I was given a pair of BBC headphones, The first programme
I tuned into was the BBC Nine o’clock news I was 14yrs old, Jest
Ready to leave school and start a 7 year industrial electrical
Apprenticeship yes it was a 7year stint in them days , Then
2 yrs National service on Anti Aircraft Control systems ( Shells
Not rockets) I worked on mechanical computers The Predictor
No OP-Amps but a mechanical Comparator for Lateral & Vertical
Deflections

Regards BoyOh
BoyOh ( Selby, North Yorkshire.UK)
Some Times Right Some Times Wrong

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