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Trouble Starting in Electronics Answered

I want to start getting in to making electronics, but I can't seem to know where to start. I recently bought an Arduino Starter Kit hoping to learn, but while I can understand and do all the listed projects, I can't comprehend why things are the way they are. For example, I don't understand how to choose the right resistors for lets say LEDs. Sure I could just pick the resistors I need for one of the projects, but that isn't going to help when I start my own projects. I feel that my main problem is that I do not understand electricity and circuits, but I can't seem to find good reference material to learn from.

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MDheliMech (author)2013-08-03

I started out not knowing anything (some people might argue I still don't know anything). I have learned by doing things, and asking questions about specific things that have to do with whatever project I am working on. It would be easier for someone to answer a specific question, rather than explain the whole theory/concept/process of how circuits work. You gave a good example. How do I choose the right resistor for an LED? There are two ways. The easy way is to use an online calculator. I use ledcalc.com . The second way would be to learn the mathematical equation. It all depends on how much you want to learn. For my hobby projects I am more concerned with how to make it work, and less about why it works. I started in electronics with a specific project in mind. I wanted to make LED lights that flashed on a model of a police car. That taught me about 555 timer circuits. That lead to me wanting a better flashing effect so I tried using multiple 555 circuits together. I had circuits that used 4 or 5 timer circuits together. I learned about arduino and all of those timer circuits were eliminated by the arduino. That all lead me to learn about controlling servos with arduino. For me arduino is all about controlling real things (LEDs, servos, etc.). However if you are better at book learning then go with that.

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steveastrouk (author)MDheliMech2013-08-05

But if you don't know why it works, you'll struggle to fix anything but the most trivial stuff later on.

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MDheliMech (author)steveastrouk2013-08-05

I haven't struggled yet with anything I couldn't find a solution to on the Internet. It may sound like cheating to some, however my personal goal is just make my projects work. I liken it to Arduino. I have not written any code of my own. Every sketch that I have written includes parts of other people's sketches. I still enjoy the end result when the project works regardless of how it was designed and built. I am merely offering the possibility that with the abundance of information available it is possible to make things with limited knowledge of why things work. In a sense building on the shoulders of giants.

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steveastrouk (author)MDheliMech2013-08-05

Not cheating, but wasting your own time. If you carry the tools in your head, you can see instinctively what's wrong usually.

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MDheliMech (author)steveastrouk2013-08-05

I believe it is up to me to determine weather or not how I spend my time is wasted or not. I do not judge how anyone else spends their time, and I ask that others not judge me. It is up to each individual to determine how they will proceed with their projects. You don't have to agree with my methods, however I would appreciate you not attempting to judge my way a waste of time while your way is more acceptable. Please note the disclaimer below the comment box. "Please be positive and constructive with your comments." Stating your opinion that I am wasting my time is neither positive, nor constructive. Perhaps you could choose phrases that are a little more constructive when voicing you opinions.

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steveastrouk (author)MDheliMech2013-08-05

Learning how things work is never time wasted.

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MDheliMech (author)steveastrouk2013-08-05

I agree learning is not time wasted. Your comment was that I am wasting my own time not learning. Perhaps you meant that in your opinion my time would be better speant learning why things work, rather than just copying the work of others.

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steveastrouk (author)MDheliMech2013-08-05

No, you have taken it personally. I should perhaps have used the impersonal pronoun to make it clearer.

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framistan (author)2013-08-05

The arduino is kind of too-advanced if you want to learn basic electronics. Radio shack sells some kits like a 200 in one kit that will have you building some actual electronic circuits... That is how I got started back in the day it was a 50 or 75 in one kit.

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iceng (author)2013-08-03

Don't know if you know trig, algebra, calculus
or when you were manufactured.

Know this V=I×R,  I=V/R  and  R= ???

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mpilchfamily (author)2013-08-03

Read up on Ohms Law. It's a lot of math but very handy in understanding things.

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