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How do you all become so knowledgeable about electric and computer technologies?

Circuits and semiconductors and transistors and capacitors all confuse and intimidate me so... :-\ I want to know how to turn a walkie-talkie into a communication jammer like in Fringe or create an X-ray machine from an old tube TV like in Burn Notice. Ultimately I'd like to become an FBI agent or CIA spy, but I've gotta start somewhere, so asking how to do electrical engineering on Instrutables is the first place to start I'd imagine.

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Read books and magazines on electronics and stuff.  Most technology from the last 40 years is still pretty relevant.  I'm building a project from Popular Electronics that was published over 30 years ago, and all the parts are still available.

Probably the single best book is "The Art Of Electronics"  Copies of that can be found online, I've heard.  So can a lot of electronics magazine back issues, if you can't find them on newstands or in libraries.
Chrizlax7 years ago
If you really want to know how electronics works properly and have a head for maths, then I highly recommend http://www.amazon.com/Art-Electronics-Paul-Horowitz/dp/0521370957 . While you can pick up stuff from instructables and other random websites, most of it does not properly explain the workings, and hence will not allow you to design circuits from scratch successfully.
Default1178 years ago
You think Instructables is knowledgeable? You should see CR4!! That website is FULL of engineers. I asked one question and now I'm kinda scared to go back! XD
lobo_pal8 years ago
By reading things on the site about this stuff, also experimentation with junk.
As with any subject- not just practice or research, but both and more.

You need to ask lots of questions about everything; not so much "what now?" as "why?" and "like this?". You need to build things, and experiment to see what effect changing this or that component has. Get a book of simple projects to try and maybe a project kit. You also need to keep a journal of what you did, what happened, and what you think this means.

As they get older, many people become afraid to fail. You can't let this happen. When you are just starting out in a subject, it's perfectly normal to know nothing. When you ask a question that turns out to be silly, you need to be happy for the correction and not so embarrassed to be wrong that you keep your other questions to yourself. When your experiment doesn't behave as expected, you need to figure out or at least write down what went wrong before starting over.

Finally, there's another bit of advice your teachers will be sure to give you. Pay attention in math class. Every chance you get, try to take the instructions your teacher gives you and rewrite them in an easier, faster, simpler, and more correct way. Ask them things like "Does this method always work?" and "How do I known when to...?". No matter what career you go into, you can't avoid math. As someone who tutors adults, I can tell you with certainty: you want to learn this when you're young and not when you have three screaming kids, achy joints, a family member who needs rides to the hospital, and bill collectors banging on your door.
110100101108 years ago
hard way is the only way ! build try electrocute hurt think understand learn
PKTraceur8 years ago
You know, when asked, I will state random facts about said subject. How do I know this stuff about stuff? I haven't a clue. I basically just float around Instructables, and Yahoo Answers. Google things that interest you. Just look around Instructables, do some projects, google, buy some RC cars, (You have NNNNOOOOO idea what their project value is!!!!!) wikipedia random stuff.
PKTraceur PKTraceur8 years ago
Esstentialy, practice, practice, practice...