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How do I get started in Electronic Circuit Engineering? Answered

I have been teaching my self the basics of Electronics in the past month and I think that I am far enough along that I want to start teaching my self what goes into a circuit. 

I understand the fundamental stuff, the basic parts and pieces and now I am trying to find some books that explains a circuit. 

Take for example a 2 transistor LED flasher. I can build this circuit from memory and is simple enough and you can find many diagrams of it on the web. What I cannot find is someplace that explains step by step the processes occurring that make it actually flash. 

The above mentioned circuit is simple enough for me to understand what is going on, but I am not talking about that one circuit in particular.

I guess what I am after is a guide that teaches me how to read what a circuit is doing, and for what purpose a component is needed for in a circuit.

I hope I was clear in my question, I wasn't really sure exactly how to ask. 


Rachel recently posted about a free online course provided by MIT about circuits and electronics. I signed up myself. It started this week but maybe you can still sign up. See her original post here: https://www.instructables.com/community/Free-undergraduate-EE-course-from-MIT/

Wow this looks very helpful. Thanks foe bringing this post to my attention :)

You need to do a lot of bread-boarding of basic Analog and Digital circuits. Making this could help:


The next stage involves a lot of maths- if you have the maths skills, electronics will open up for you.

Thankfully math comes pretty easily to me. I can see that there are a lot of formulas for figuring out what a circuit is doing. However that is all just a bunch of figures unless I understand why those figures are important to the design of a circuit.

There are methods of analysis of circuits that lead to your ability to synthesise them, but although for trivial circuits, there are "formulae", in reality, you have to work them out yourself.

If you have to start somewhere, I can't recommend the book "The Art of Electronics" more highly.

Returning to your example, What does "make it flash" then ? Explain what you think is happening.


Thanks, I got that book just the other day. It is a little dry but there seems to be a lot of good information in it about transistors. Also as for the "what makes it flash?" part; I will try to explain how I think it works.

Using the diagram I uploaded to this post.

What happens is that when the base of Q1 goes Low the current is redirected to the base of Q2 causing it to go High. The capacitors for each base keeps the collector current flowing until it drops below the base threshold at which point the current redirects to the other base and the capacitor starts to charge again. 

Rinse and Repeat.

Sorry if that is hard to understand. Now that I am thinking about it seriously I find that I only have a partial understanding.

Please feel free to correct me on anything I missed or was wrong on. It will help me understand things better.


6 years ago

Here is an expansion of your memorized flip-flop circuit to analyze :-)


Thanks, this looks like basically the same thing only instead of a flip flop it is more of a chained flip flop. One question I have is what does that arrow mean just above where it says "close to start"?

It is a diagrammatic representation of a switch.

Very correct.
The name of this circuit could be a Ring Un_Counter :)

There are lots of other universities jumping on this free web course band wagon. The MIT Sage mentioned is like an actual class with homework, online labs etc but there are sites dedicated to linking to online lectures.

Alternatively your local community/city/junior college might offer an affordable online or night circuits class.

THIS may be to basic but worth a look.

Thanks, this was actually the first instructable I read through when I was just starting out. It really helped me get started.