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What electronics or electrical did you do today?

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by /invariance\, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. cvidler

    cvidler Member

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    Dave Jones (eevblog) has a multitude of EE type videos on youtube, and he's been doing a back to basics series of late.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2DjFE7Xf11URZqWBigcVOQ

    if I can suggest one thing. learn analogue circuits first. digital appears easier at first*, but it's real life, everything is actually analogue, troubleshooting a misbehaving digital circuit without understanding of how analogue works is no fun.


    * and things like arduino are great, makes prototyping something quick and easy, but won't give you understanding how circuits really work it's like lego vs civil engineering.
     
  2. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    I'd say it is much easier these days, there are hundreds of resources out there that are freely available to learn from. Components are far cheaper too, I remember when LED's were something like $2 each, and the green and yellow ones were dearer than the reds. Now you can get a pack of 100 for less than $10. I remember going down to the local tip to find TV's and VCR's and just rob them for parts as buying them individually from Tandy or Dick Smith was pretty expensive for a young fella at the time.
     
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  3. Elder

    Elder Member

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    20yrs ago the inflation-adjusted price for a small prototype PCB run was something like $300, and many paid a much higher price because internet search and social media weren't what they are today so you had to look harder and rely more on smaller "real life" social networks.

    Not everything is easier. With miniaturisation we've introduced more underlying complexity and it's not always well abstracted. Hobbyists rarely have strict project criteria though and that's a huge luxury. They can almost always accept the limitations of the most user friendly abstractions. From that perspective, things have only improved.

    Just takes time. I started an electronics degree with no hobby background. I was in awe of the guys with the hobby background. Especially one guy who had been doing it since a very young age who's father was an electronics engineer. I still remember him showing me a circuit he'd made one day at the bus stop, late in first year. At that stage we hadn't really learned much (mostly high school math C + physics + chemistry repeat) so I still very much suffered from the whole "sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic" thing and my response was a somewhat embarrassing "how do you even know how to do that?". Pretty much exactly what Current has asked. For what it's worth it doesn't take THAT long if you persist with it, and that guy I was in awe of is hardly even a good engineer, definitely not a magician :p
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
  4. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    It's such an advantage to start early. I've just given my 6 year old nephew his first electronics kit, it was the exact same one I started with (and I suspect quite a few on this forum as well) when I was the same age - https://core-electronics.com.au/electronic-project-lab-200-in-one.html He may not end up taking it up as a career, but it gives him a big leg up if he does.

    Was pretty funny when we started our first electronics subject at uni, I had memorised the resistor colour code when I was about 7 or 8. My classmates gave up using the chart as it was quicker just to tell me the colours and I'd tell them the value.
     
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  5. Technics

    Technics Member

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    I think it's fair to say that in most instances you haven't truly mastered something unless you can explain it to someone else (to someone else who actually wants to know at least) and have them understand it too. Otherwise you just know a cool trick. That has been my experience now that I'm entering literal grey beard territory anyway.
     
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  6. Schred

    Schred Member

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    Brilliant. I started out with the 1970s version of that (and still have it).
     
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  7. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    I started with the 1980's version, and still have it as well. Have to admit it brought up some emotions when I watched Dave introduce his to his son -

     
  8. bradrogers

    bradrogers Member

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    So I made a WiFi modem for my Amiga over the last week. This probably crosses over into the retro forum, but meh, I used a soldering iron, soldering components to a board, it's electronics!

    So basically I built it based on the ESP8266 microcontroller, with a MAX3232 to enable to micro to talk to the Amiga via Serial port.

    For firmware, I based it on the code for RetroWifiModem on GitHub and made some mods to change how it drove the LEDS I installed (Red = I booted up OK, Yellow = I'm on the WiFi network, Green = I've connected to a server). You can grab a copy of the code here: https://github.com/mecparts/RetroWiFiModem

    I also really liked the concept of cartridge peripherals used for computers of this era. For example, modems on the C64, Action replay, MIDI, samplers, and even the modulator as well. You could have these modules that just piggyback off the back of the computer, no data leads. My cartridge only has a USB cable for external power.

    So in no particular order, enjoy some photos from last week's adventure:

    A final shot of the modem once all 3d printing / assembly completed.
    9d188440-1ff7-4a90-bd34-8d76620db33b.jpg

    Testing that the code / wiring all works before we commit to anything, using a breadboard.
    237011969_10159389546995535_2833768307167463128_n.jpg

    The modem in action.
    7027796e-e6e9-48bc-928e-1715d1f5cf11.jpg

    Testing one of the servers saved in the speed-dials the code came with.
    347f9a27-3bf2-4ee9-8481-4efa561350ee.jpg
    A Sketchup of the case for the modem cartridge. I didn't end up 3d printing the C= logo in the mdidle as I had other ideas. The case itself was a single 3d print "sleeve" that the circuit board would be hot glued into place in. The sleeve has screw posts to hold the DB25 plug. Holes are made for the LEDs / reset button.

    The reset button has a small cylinder printed with a flange that gets inserted from inside just before the board is slid in. The LEDs are diffused for a sleeker look by printing a rectangle the same size as the hold in clear PLA (yes this took a bit of careful filing and gluing).

    Wanting to make it look like a peripheral that you'd probably have bought in the 80s, if WiFi existed then, I figured adding the striped recesses completed that look. Printed in a grey PLA, it might not look beige like the Amiga, but still resemble a typical aftermarket peripheral of the era.
    photo_2021-08-25_14-05-12.jpg

    A view from the plug side of the modem.
    photo_2021-08-25_21-30-00.jpg

    A test after soldering, before we 3d printed a case.
    photo_2021-08-23_01-23-27.jpg
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    /invariance\

    /invariance\ Member

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    I love the thought and effort that went into to make it “period correct”
     
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  10. dakiller

    dakiller (Oscillating & Impeding)

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    Got a new toy for the bench
    E7D37BFF-F4D1-4EA6-AA45-89EAF26EC2E6.jpeg
     
  11. underskore

    underskore Member

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    I read the umpteenth notification about upcoming supply issues from a local electronics supplier that is sitting around doing next to nothing in terms of locking down component supply when they've been offered a basically open checkbook (and list of preapproved substitute parts and acceptance of the risks that come with diving into the wild west of profiteering chip resellers/hoarders)

    on a more positive note; that's a nice looking scope!
     
  12. dakiller

    dakiller (Oscillating & Impeding)

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    My contract manufacturer I use at work took my BOM and went out and are sourcing what they can for an upcoming order I got. I'm limited on getting Raspberry Pi CM4's till March next year, but they are doing all the rest and say they'll have it all in and ready to load boards by December, while I was seeing much longer lead times for some out of stock parts than that off the likes of Digikey.
     
  13. bradrogers

    bradrogers Member

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    Cheers, I've always liked that cartridge style of form factor that a lot of peripherals took during that era.

    Also, it made for a very lazy 3d print by being able to draw a single box, with holes, rails for the circuit board and screw holes for the plug. One single piece to print with the rear facing down, no fuss!
     
  14. paulvk

    paulvk Member

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    At what it costs it should be!
     
  15. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    R&S makes high quality gear. It should give you excellent service.
     
  16. dakiller

    dakiller (Oscillating & Impeding)

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    This is the 5th scope I've now owned over the years, and I decided that it would be the last one for a long time. I had a bunch of features I'd wanted to hit - Logic analyser & protocol decoding being the big two, but the top of the list was UI and ease of use, and from the first time I saw a review for the previous model to this, the UI jumped out at me as just a step above all the other scopes on the market.
     
  17. Current

    Current Member

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    Any recommendations for someone looking to get their first scope :) Ease of use is a must :p
     
  18. dakiller

    dakiller (Oscillating & Impeding)

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    Siglent and Rygol are the hobbyist budget goto's
    Keysight (formally Agilent, formally HP), Lecroy and Rohde & Schwarz are the top teir scope manufacturers.

    But first off, you really need to know what functions and features you want in a scope, and as a beginner you really don't know. Buying an old CRT clunker off ebay will teach you all about what a basic one can and can't do, and give you an idea of what you want to look for in a better one later.

    Anything that has quite a bit of capability is going to have a lot of knobs and dials on it, and no matter how you swing it, it isn't going to be easy for a beginner, best learn off something 'dumb' to start with.
     
  19. Technics

    Technics Member

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    I'd be inclined to urge a little bit of caution there. If you primarily do analogue design then it doesn't matter as much but if you want to use it for even a small amount of digital work (and who doesn't these days?) then that CRT clunker probably should at least have (ideally digital) storage to be of much use even for a beginner. Otherwise the what it can't do part will become apparent quite quickly and you'll be shopping again in no time. It may not matter if you find a really cheap one. I still have both sitting around but use the DSO way more often.
     
  20. rodgrech

    rodgrech Member

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    built myself a water tank monitor to intergrate into home assistant
    upload_2021-9-3_14-27-31.jpeg upload_2021-9-3_14-27-16.jpeg upload_2021-9-3_14-30-3.jpeg
     
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