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I want to learn to build stuff

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July 13, 2011 9:20:53 PM

I want to learn to build circuits and stuff like that. I don't start school again(getting out of the military) until January and I want a hobby until then, in the general area of basic electronics. Anyone have any ideas? I don't want to build computers, because they carry a pretty hefty price tag, but I'm okay with wasting a little bit of money to learn something.

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July 13, 2011 11:58:40 PM
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a transformer can take an input voltage and decrease it or increase it.
while it does this.. it also seperates the physical connection.
because the voltage goes through the first windings, travels through the air to the second windings, and together with a magnet.. the electricity is boosted or cut.

when no boost or cut happens, the thing is providing a break in the physical connection for noise reasons.
electricity will go where it can, and that means it can 'drip' into places it shouldnt be.
anybody with a ground loop would know the importance of breaking the physical connection.
also known as an 'earth lift' switch.

capacitors mainly store energy.
they can boost energy if they are allowed to charge.
but
mainly their purpose is to provide the energy in bigger or smaller chunks than what the input voltage can provide.
to create a very good sounding amplifier, you would want lots of current feeding the capacitors.. and then letting the capacitors chop up the current into little pieces for all of the fine audio details.
good capacitors can deliver lots of tiny chunks of electricity as well as larger chunks of electricity.
otherwise, the entire system would need to be dependant on another capacitor to work together.. combining many small pieces of energy to create one big one.
this means you need extra capacitors to prevent 'stealing' the small chunks of electricity from other capacitors when the system requires those small chunks.
everything needs to remain fed with food.. so you need extra for moments when they are to be working together.

i dont know how well capacitors work if you go to the store and buy one.
they all have different personalities.. that much i do know.
i also know you dont want your capacitors to charge up and release extra amounts of energy.
this can lead to extra volume from the speakers until the capacitors charge goes down and is then being recharged from the voltage input.


resistors are more strange.
they can reduce voltage, or they can act like a water dam and completely block the voltage.
when the resistor is reducing the voltage, what happens to the voltage after it goes through is totally dependant on the characteristic of the resistor.
again, each resistor has a different personality.

transistors are used to switch polarity.
that is why transistor radios became popular.
the audio input would be fed to the transistor, and the transistor would switch back and forth to the bank of capacitors to allow the soundwave to be amplified.
this proves a point.. a transistor doesnt have to sound perfect, you could assemble a bank of capacitors to even out the sound (within the limits of the capacitors).

transistors can be simply A or B.
or
they can smoothly switch from A to B.


you dont have to use transistors in an amplifier if you use two banks of capacitors and clamp them down onto eachother.
the audio signal runs through the middle of the clamp, and since the voltage is more than what it was when it went in.. there is a boost.. thus making it an amplifier.
a problem here is getting the audio input seperated from the capacitors.
you dont want the electricity to flow back into the audio input.. and then moving on to the device sending the audio.
it would fry the piece sending the audio.
and the result of the audio output that has had its electricity boosted, that will totally depend on the quality of the capacitors - as well as the quality of the work that was done when seperating the audio signal from the capacitors.

designing a circuit is first about picking which pieces you need.. they have to work together as a team to get the desired result.
and THEN..
each of the pieces have their own personality.. so you have to hunt down which personality you want to get the final result the way you want it.

so..
not only do you have to pick 'what person goes where'
you also have to pick 'how each person acts'
if you dont.. you could find your pieces fighting eachother.
it could create heat, it could make something break, and it could make the whole thing not work right.

doing a kit is pretty dumb.
they send you the pieces already designed, and you put it together to learn how to solder.
if you follow your work deeply step by step, you might get a review of why each piece is needed.
but
the personality from each piece is already picked out for you.. and that means you shouldnt be running into problems with each piece fighting one another.

you really arent designing anything then.
all you would be doing is assembling something.

for you to design your own things..
you could try something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-200-in-One-Elecronic-Proje...

i had one when i was a kid.
all i ever did was create.. i think ONE thing from the book (maybe two).
somebody came along and ripped my wires out and upset me.
i never got the chance to create my own things using nothing but my head.
but
if you want to try to create something, simply because you know what you want.. this could prove to do it.
but
most of the designs are generic noises and a bunch of analog nonsense.
you wouldnt be creating things like an amplifier.
you could design a radio.. but radios are hard to learn WHY they do what they do.
this is more of a .. watch what you are doing step by step to know WHY the sound from the speaker does what it does.

it could prove easier to simply learn what pieces do, and maybe find a piece of electronics you want to play with.
some people would choose a radio.
some people would choose an amplifier.
some people would choose an electric car.

electric cars are fun.. but it doesnt teach you how the signal is received and does what it does.
and that really makes the rest of the project useless.. because all there is to it is a servo that turns the wheels left or right.. and a motor that goes forwards or reverse.

all of the kits and toys easily available seem to be sounds, lights, remote control cars, or amplifiers.

everytime you buy a kit.. you could put it together and say.. okay this piece makes the electricity go up, and this piece makes the electricity go down, this piece tells the electricity to stay away from this area.
but
circuits are more complex than that.

they pulse, oscillate, go into negative electricity, switch, wait, etc etc etc.

since your question was 'i want to learn to build circuits'
you could start with sounds from a speaker.
but
you have to pay attention to the groups of pieces in the order that the electricity touches them.
the sound can go up and down real slow.
the sound can oscillate.
the sound can pulse.
the sound can go up, wait, and go up some more.

the link i gave you isnt a complete experience by any means.
but
it is an infant start.

i remember the book that came with it had a huge list of things it could do.
most of them i wasnt interested in, but i might have different feelings about it today.
i know that the projects can get more complex.. since you can build a radio with it.
but as i said, none of them 'assemble' projects are going to teach you what each piece actually does.
and the 200 in 1 lab doesnt contain all of the pieces available in the electronics industry.
that is why i said it is a bit infant, because things are pretty simple when you are dealing with capacitors and resistors.
things like diodes are a big step up.
but
it should be a whole lot easier to learn the new pieces once the basic ones have been taught.
because then you would know where or why you need them.. or at least, how you could use them to help.
July 14, 2011 1:12:17 AM

anwaypasible said:
a transformer can take an input voltage and decrease it or increase it.
while it does this.. it also seperates the physical connection.
because the voltage goes through the first windings, travels through the air to the second windings, and together with a magnet.. the electricity is boosted or cut.

when no boost or cut happens, the thing is providing a break in the physical connection for noise reasons.
electricity will go where it can, and that means it can 'drip' into places it shouldnt be.
anybody with a ground loop would know the importance of breaking the physical connection.
also known as an 'earth lift' switch.

capacitors mainly store energy.
they can boost energy if they are allowed to charge.
but
mainly their purpose is to provide the energy in bigger or smaller chunks than what the input voltage can provide.
to create a very good sounding amplifier, you would want lots of current feeding the capacitors.. and then letting the capacitors chop up the current into little pieces for all of the fine audio details.
good capacitors can deliver lots of tiny chunks of electricity as well as larger chunks of electricity.
otherwise, the entire system would need to be dependant on another capacitor to work together.. combining many small pieces of energy to create one big one.
this means you need extra capacitors to prevent 'stealing' the small chunks of electricity from other capacitors when the system requires those small chunks.
everything needs to remain fed with food.. so you need extra for moments when they are to be working together.

i dont know how well capacitors work if you go to the store and buy one.
they all have different personalities.. that much i do know.
i also know you dont want your capacitors to charge up and release extra amounts of energy.
this can lead to extra volume from the speakers until the capacitors charge goes down and is then being recharged from the voltage input.


resistors are more strange.
they can reduce voltage, or they can act like a water dam and completely block the voltage.
when the resistor is reducing the voltage, what happens to the voltage after it goes through is totally dependant on the characteristic of the resistor.
again, each resistor has a different personality.

transistors are used to switch polarity.
that is why transistor radios became popular.
the audio input would be fed to the transistor, and the transistor would switch back and forth to the bank of capacitors to allow the soundwave to be amplified.
this proves a point.. a transistor doesnt have to sound perfect, you could assemble a bank of capacitors to even out the sound (within the limits of the capacitors).

transistors can be simply A or B.
or
they can smoothly switch from A to B.


you dont have to use transistors in an amplifier if you use two banks of capacitors and clamp them down onto eachother.
the audio signal runs through the middle of the clamp, and since the voltage is more than what it was when it went in.. there is a boost.. thus making it an amplifier.
a problem here is getting the audio input seperated from the capacitors.
you dont want the electricity to flow back into the audio input.. and then moving on to the device sending the audio.
it would fry the piece sending the audio.
and the result of the audio output that has had its electricity boosted, that will totally depend on the quality of the capacitors - as well as the quality of the work that was done when seperating the audio signal from the capacitors.

designing a circuit is first about picking which pieces you need.. they have to work together as a team to get the desired result.
and THEN..
each of the pieces have their own personality.. so you have to hunt down which personality you want to get the final result the way you want it.

so..
not only do you have to pick 'what person goes where'
you also have to pick 'how each person acts'
if you dont.. you could find your pieces fighting eachother.
it could create heat, it could make something break, and it could make the whole thing not work right.

doing a kit is pretty dumb.
they send you the pieces already designed, and you put it together to learn how to solder.
if you follow your work deeply step by step, you might get a review of why each piece is needed.
but
the personality from each piece is already picked out for you.. and that means you shouldnt be running into problems with each piece fighting one another.

you really arent designing anything then.
all you would be doing is assembling something.

for you to design your own things..
you could try something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-200-in-One-Elecronic-Proje...

i had one when i was a kid.
all i ever did was create.. i think ONE thing from the book (maybe two).
somebody came along and ripped my wires out and upset me.
i never got the chance to create my own things using nothing but my head.
but
if you want to try to create something, simply because you know what you want.. this could prove to do it.
but
most of the designs are generic noises and a bunch of analog nonsense.
you wouldnt be creating things like an amplifier.
you could design a radio.. but radios are hard to learn WHY they do what they do.
this is more of a .. watch what you are doing step by step to know WHY the sound from the speaker does what it does.

it could prove easier to simply learn what pieces do, and maybe find a piece of electronics you want to play with.
some people would choose a radio.
some people would choose an amplifier.
some people would choose an electric car.

electric cars are fun.. but it doesnt teach you how the signal is received and does what it does.
and that really makes the rest of the project useless.. because all there is to it is a servo that turns the wheels left or right.. and a motor that goes forwards or reverse.

all of the kits and toys easily available seem to be sounds, lights, remote control cars, or amplifiers.

everytime you buy a kit.. you could put it together and say.. okay this piece makes the electricity go up, and this piece makes the electricity go down, this piece tells the electricity to stay away from this area.
but
circuits are more complex than that.

they pulse, oscillate, go into negative electricity, switch, wait, etc etc etc.

since your question was 'i want to learn to build circuits'
you could start with sounds from a speaker.
but
you have to pay attention to the groups of pieces in the order that the electricity touches them.
the sound can go up and down real slow.
the sound can oscillate.
the sound can pulse.
the sound can go up, wait, and go up some more.

the link i gave you isnt a complete experience by any means.
but
it is an infant start.

i remember the book that came with it had a huge list of things it could do.
most of them i wasnt interested in, but i might have different feelings about it today.
i know that the projects can get more complex.. since you can build a radio with it.
but as i said, none of them 'assemble' projects are going to teach you what each piece actually does.
and the 200 in 1 lab doesnt contain all of the pieces available in the electronics industry.
that is why i said it is a bit infant, because things are pretty simple when you are dealing with capacitors and resistors.
things like diodes are a big step up.
but
it should be a whole lot easier to learn the new pieces once the basic ones have been taught.
because then you would know where or why you need them.. or at least, how you could use them to help.


That is a really good idea to get started with. Thanks. I really know very little about electronics, and would like to learn. I'll most likely buy that kit.
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July 14, 2011 10:11:07 PM

Best answer selected by timothy2180.
July 16, 2011 9:59:59 PM

timothy2180 said:
I want to learn to build circuits and stuff like that. I don't start school again(getting out of the military) until January and I want a hobby until then, in the general area of basic electronics. Anyone have any ideas? I don't want to build computers, because they carry a pretty hefty price tag, but I'm okay with wasting a little bit of money to learn something.


there are several things you could tinker with and maybe learn something , i wouldn't rule out computers just yet ,but i don't know if i would start there .FYI there are several good usefull parts in discarded computers like power supplies , and mother board and also powerful neodymium magnets in the hard drive. learning this way as opposed to going to college for this education may be slow or trying at times . i would start by learning about electronics parts and the basics like ohm's law , wattage , amperage and voltage . some people have made more sense out of electronics by thinking of circuits as plumbing your amperage being like flow rate and voltage being like pressure and such. maybe you start by learning about a brilliant man named nikola tesla ,you will his innovations are still standard implements in today's world . you might even wonder what else he may have discovered that hasn't come to light. YouTube is a great place to see some neat projects and learn something
!