12 Replies Latest reply on Jul 22, 2021 10:34 PM by sferenci

    Where do I start!

    philanirsa

      Hi,

       

      I'm an engineering undergraduate, majoring in Mechanical engineering. I have really fallen in love with programming and electronics.

       

      I'm love building things, although I haven't made anything. I'd like to know where can I start. I feel like there's a huge cap in knowledge of electronics. Honestly BJTs, op amps and transistors kind of went over my head in sophomore year.

       

      Please help me out, any suggestions on starting material would help me out.

       

      Regards,

      Thobisa Philani Ndlovu

        • Re: Where do I start!
          jw0752

          Check out Jeremy Blum's Exploring Arduino. It is a well presented series of building experiments that use the Arduino to demonstrate some of the basic capabilities of the board. This may give you some ideas for expanded builds.

           

          https://www.exploringarduino.com/

          6 of 6 people found this helpful
          • Re: Where do I start!
            neilk

            Jeremy Blum's Arduino Tutorials got me started.

             

            Neil

            2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Where do I start!
              philanirsa

              Thank you so much for your responses, much appreciated. I will check him out.

               

              Regards

              • Re: Where do I start!
                genebren

                There is a wealth of knowledge and learning material her on this site.  Read into the details of projects or check out the learning center Learning Center  which has many ways to learn more about electronics.  Within the learning center is an area with introduction to electronics videos The Learning Circuit  produced by makerkaren . These videos are a good source of simple explanations of how electronics work.

                 

                Look around.  Ask questions. Find things that spark an interest and then repeat the steps and learn as you go.

                 

                There are a lot of knowledgeable and friendly members here that can help you get started.  By finding areas of interest, it will help you narrow down your questions, which in turn will make it easier for other members to help you.

                 

                Good luck on your journey!

                5 of 5 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Where do I start!
                    philanirsa

                    Thanks alot Gene, Sean mentioned the same thing to me, about finding an area of interest and exploring it. I will definitely be using the information on the site, didn't know you had them.

                     

                    Honestly the "internet on the box" reminded me of this community. I joined and then forgot, I know I'm guilty. But it was during reading the documentation for that DIY project, that I realized I don't know anything about this stuff.

                     

                    Thanks again for the insight, looking forward to the journey.

                     

                    Regards

                  • Re: Where do I start!
                    colporteur

                    Well your profile suggests that you are not knew to the community. Maybe you took a hiatus for studies so welcome back.

                     

                    I worked in electronic for 17 years and then my career diverted to computers for system administration and design engineering. After a forty year career, twenty away from electronics, I have started to do more than dabble in the electronic component side. A friend has a model railroad that he is building. I to feel the electronic knowledge gone stale but I have discovered the foundation knowledge comes back and can still be used to build on. I have used this community to answer simple questions like transformers. Using transformer secondary windings

                     

                    Simple projects using microcontrollers (Arduino) or single board computers (Raspberry Pi) can get you back into the stream. What are your personal interest? In my example above, I don't do model trains. I do like computers. My contribution is animation on a railroad layout. Raspberry Pi's running a drive-in movie theatre or Arduino honking a car horn and turning on the headlights or simulating people walking using motors. All a blend of technology knowledge.

                     

                    My preference would be SBC. You have developed a number of knowledge points in engineering. A SBC projects gives you some success from those knowledge points while enabling you to improve in some other areas. Think of your interest areas and search microcontroller or SBC projects in that interest area. Take for example gardening and Arduino. You would be surprised the tech guys that have combines the two different interests.

                    3 of 3 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Where do I start!
                      DAB

                      Go to the Library and pick up the Make Magazine books on electronics and projects.

                       

                      They do a good job of walking newbies through the basics to get them up and running.

                       

                      DAB

                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Where do I start!
                        kmikemoo

                        philanirsa  Since you like to build... Buy the Arduino, a breadboard, some LEDs, some 330 ohm resistors and some Dupont jumper wires and start wiring stuff up.  Making things happen will inspire you to try more complex things.  I still take apart things that I'm going to throw away and see if I can scavenge usable parts off of them.  I rarely get usable parts, but every once in a while, I score an LED (with long enough leads to keep), a relay or a buzzer.  I've also recovered usable voltage regulators with heat sinks.  You're better off buying a resistor assortment rather than trying to scavenge those.

                        3 of 3 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Where do I start!
                            philanirsa

                            Awesome Mike, that's great advice. I like keeping stuff things that don't work anymore, with the hope that one day I could fix them, although I never do.

                             

                            I think that's a great way to apply things I'll learn. Scavage parts and make useful things. I like it.

                             

                            I feel like a kid haha. Awesome advise, thanks.

                             

                            Regards

                          • Re: Where do I start!
                            sjmill01

                            If you are on a budget or are tight on space, a good gateway to robotics is using AutoDesk Fusion 360 and the Unity Game Engine.  It's all free.

                             

                            You'll learn .Net coding, learn to design for fabrication, learn circuit design, and learn how to make things move and respond to its environment.  All transferrable skills to future robotics projects with no money down.

                             

                            For my bigger projects such as CNC, I do them 100% in Autodesk Fusion 360, including the circuits, before getting out of the easy chair.  It's a good pass time during terrible Netflix movies.

                             

                            See ya',

                            Sean

                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Where do I start!
                              dougw

                              I like to learn by setting a project goal and then learning how to accomplish it.

                              It is more satisfying if the project has some usefulness and even better if it impresses other people.

                              Starting off it is useful to build a project with a known outcome as a good way to maximize success.

                              Here is a low cost starter project that hit all those checkboxes for me:

                              Cyber Chicklet

                              Here is one that is a bit more involved:

                              Feather Weather

                              When you are doing projects and run into problems, you can post questions here rather than just getting frustrated with your progress.

                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                              • Re: Where do I start!
                                sferenci

                                Start with some easy projects to get the hang of how things work.

                                Think of your components as little Lego like building blocks.

                                 

                                Buy a breadboard and design some basic relay circuits using a transister and flyback diode.  Have the relay control a different circuit.  The transistor would be used as a switch not an amplifier.

                                 

                                Work with some LEDs and a resistor. 
                                Buy an Arduino and start small.  Arduino has one of the friendliest coding environments that I have ever seen.

                                Have fun with this stuff.

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful