Hummingwire

So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« on: February 13, 2019, 06:26:40 AM »
I found an old topic on this forum, and think it is still relevant, and also just something I'd like to know from you lot

https://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=2739.0


So, same questions:  :D

Do most of you have formal training?

Did you teach yourself?

Do you need to have had formal training to produce your own electronics for sale? (eg. Original Designs?)


I studied Civil Engineering Technology, and had one electronics course as well. My dad is a residence electrician, so during the summers I used to work with him . That gave me a feel for electronics. On the other hand, I started playing music since 6 years old. First the cello, then guitar, then voice and now producing and recording.

Now I'd like to combine those two by building my own equipment to record with, and take it from there. I ordered an active DI kit and a simple mic preamp kit to begin with.

« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 06:32:02 AM by Hummingwire »


JohnRoberts

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2019, 10:40:42 AM »
Remarkably I missed that earlier opportunity to talk about myself.  ::)

[edit] forgot to mention earlier Lafayette Radio kit communications receiver I built in my teens.)
 
I took a few freshman engineering course back in the 60s but wan't much of a student (it was the 60s).

I am mostly self taught but was helped (mentored) by a couple of knowledgeable engineers along the way.

I learned a lot on the job(s) beginning as a junior electro-mechanical technician and ultimately running my own engineering group decades later,  before graduating to product management (combination of marketing and new product development).

Still learning and still ignorant about so much.  8)

JR
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 10:59:03 AM by JohnRoberts »
John Roberts
http://circularscience.com
Tune it, or don't play it...

squarewave

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2019, 11:01:18 AM »
You do not need formal training and yes you can teach yourself and yes you can certainly sell your designs. Lot's of people do it actually. I don't sell stuff but there are people that sell all sorts of stuff more or less.

However, I'm sorry to be the one to crush your dream but I would be irresponsible if I did not warn you that there is not a huge amount of money to be made. This is in part because most stuff is done digitally and in part because it's very competitive.

But again, I don't sell stuff so maybe I'm talking out-of-school.

weiss

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2019, 11:41:20 AM »
You can gain a lot of experience just by learning & doing..
I never had any education on that field but i'm lucky to have two uncles supporting me and teaching me things.. some things are just too hard to understand if you didn't learn it from the beginning..

tony hunt

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2019, 02:57:10 PM »
My grandfather taught me Ohm's law when I was nine years old. Before that, he connected some wires to me with crocodile clips so that I could get an existential insight into electricity. You would probably would get locked up for that these days. He taught me how to solder and our first project was to build solenoids from scratch.

Taught myself to repair my guitar valve amps at a time when it was difficult to find a good tech locally.

I would never have the time to provide adequate customer care to be able to sell anything. I admire the patience of all the kit suppliers with the burden of endless questions.

cyrano

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2019, 05:00:36 PM »
I got into electronics when I was fourteen. Learned a lot from mags like Elektor and Radio Bulletin. Having a n older nephew that was teaching Electronics got me unstuck a few times. And because he had lots of measurement gear, I could sometimes do weird stuff. Like a frictionless scale. I really felt like an inventor, until I found out some German did the same thing twenty years earlier  ::)

These days, I tend to build more theater and film props. Less electronics, more looks...

And repair, from time to time.
Why is it people love to believe and hate to know?

ruffrecords

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2019, 05:40:11 PM »
What started me off was my Dad trying to show me how a battery and bulb worked when I was about 7. I didn't work so to find out why  I started reading books on electronics from the local library. In those days kids weren't allowed in the grown ups part of the library but by the time I was 9 I had read all the ones in the junior library and I was already subscribing to Practical Wireless. So my Dad got a special dispensation for me to access the books in the grown up library and a few years later I had read all of those too.  I owe so much to my Dad who was a great encouragement to me. He even let me give up piano lessons if I joined the local Radio Amateur group instead. I passed the Radio Amateurs exam at 14, A levels at 18 and got my degree in Electronic Engineering at 22. Two years later I joined Neve.

What can I say, I was lucky.

My advice is read as much as you can and at the same time build as much as you can. Put in your 10,000 hours and you are good to go.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

pucho812

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2019, 06:29:31 PM »
I got my start in music, got into audio as a session player. Having a back ground in hardwork allowed me to stick around. I eventually got into music school which furthered  working at studios which lead to the studio tech shop and the rest.   I have been fortunate to hang with smarter people and learn most of my life, this place being high on that list.  I have been able to adapt, learn, and overcome. You can learn the tech stuff we all do.
As for selling designs and such, I did a nice stint at one of the top level audio companies, if budget was there I would still be in their head of service and all seeing oracle of the production line and such. They still do original designs which  cost a lot to do as we sank a lot into R&D.   But it was worth it, one model sold over 44, 000 units in it's life time well before I got there and up to my time there. Not bad.   Margins in gear are fairly low. Even worse now that more people think they can and do clones. it's a bit depressing but once in a while something new comes out and is cool. 
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.

pvision

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2019, 07:41:05 PM »
I passed the Radio Amateurs exam at 14

You must be a G3 or G4, something like that? When I worked at the BBC I had a housemate  who was G4xxx. He put the rest of us to shame when it came to electronics, radio & building stuff. I suspect he could have taught some the staff at Wood Norton a thing or two

Nick Froome

PRR

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2019, 08:56:20 PM »
I started by putting thumbtacks in extension cords.

Do that a few decades, you might learn something.


pucho812

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2019, 09:13:54 PM »
les Paul started by pulling apart his parents record player to make his guitar more louder.   as he said " if it could amplify a record it could amplify a guitar."
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.

boji

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2019, 11:47:33 PM »
Quote
I started by putting thumbtacks in extension cords.
Ahh, that's why you're so brilliant.  PRR, are/were you ever a professor?

As for the OP, my story is a bit like Pucho's, but with 765% less knowledge of circuits.  I tinker around, always have, but I'm terrible at math with little time spent in circuit study-- all the poor people who over the years have had to suffer my stupid questions, thank you again!   :-[

Figured I'd mention how much I love GDIY, Humming.  I can't underestimate how inspiring and essential folks' been for my learning path. To be completely honest, were it not for their kind and generous assistance I'd have never mustered the courage to build the console I only dreamed of buying.   ;)

Cheers,
-Boji

midwayfair

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2019, 09:53:34 AM »
I wanted a guitar pedal and was feeling cheap in late 2010. Did some web searches and found a cool tremolo to build. Of course, it didn't work because I didn't understand the difference between strip board and perfboard, and my soldering was horrendous. However, I don't like being beaten, so I bought a couple secondhand kits to practice and then gave the tremolo another shot on a printed circuitboard. I built a couple more pedals and then discovered what a breadboard was. I'm lucky that I tend to be very critical of my own work and that I like figuring out how things work, so it made it easier to learn this stuff on my own because I could come up with plenty of questions to ask. So I was able to develop some of my own circuits, some of which I think are actually pretty good. I put multiple years in, reading as much as possible. My main wall for the kinds of stuff built on this forum is that I don't own the tools necessary to do really fine-grained testing, but I can tell you that a couple things I designed, and a couple others I built, are in local studios and have been used on records.

I'm at the point where if I want to put in the dozen or so hours it takes to bring an idea to life, should it turn out good, I can maybe make enough money to offset the cost of the parts it took to prototype it. heh.

A friend convinced me a couple years ago that if I can build electronics I can code, so I'm now getting a second bachelors in computer science. (I would have liked to have at least one computer engineering class, but my school has overenthusiastically embraced the idea that it's not an engineering school. We're UMD's flagship for security but they don't even let us have a subscription to IEEE. Cue the eye rolling.)

Here's the main difference I've found between enthusiastic amatuers like me and the professional people on the forums: I can look at a circuit as a set of legos, and I can probably even do all the calculations I need to build almost anything I can imagine out of those legos, but it's almost like they can see the atoms that the legos are made up of.
I'm Jon. Myself's music and things I make: jonpattonmusic.com. My band: www.midwayfair.org. [Disclaimer: PCBs of guitar pedals I've designed are sold by Madbean, 1776 Effects, and JMK PCBs.]

squarewave

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2019, 10:47:31 AM »
A friend convinced me a couple years ago that if I can build electronics I can code, so I'm now getting a second bachelors in computer science.
Don't waste the money. Computer science actually has very little to do with actually writing code. There are no code writing classes. Computer science is about information theory, CPU design, analyzing the performance of algorithms and things someone might need to know if you want to work for Intel, Cisco or some company that makes computer components. Computer science professors are almost always really horrible coders. The best coders are the ones that just write code all the time. The way that usually goes is they get a job doing support and then they start helping with testing and then writing test cases and so on until they're writing the code that runs in production. I would take Comp Sci 201 or whatever the entry level class is where they talk about how a program actually runs and the "stack" and registers and so on. That is useful. If you understand how a CPU loads and steps through instructions and pushes and pops parameters of of the stack to actually run, then you can pretty much Google your way through writing code for any language on any platform.

Pip

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2019, 11:33:27 AM »
I started with a Remco Science Lab electronics toy and a Radio Shack Science Fair toy of the same type then I graduated to a HeathKit FM Radio kit and I can't say enough about the Forrest Mims III books that were sold at Radio Shack.

I was born into a theatrical family Mom and Dad were both professional actors . I am also that kid that took things apart and put them back together, do we really know why we do such things other then want to know obsessions.  I ended up in a special High School program called TE (Technical Electronics) the teacher was Mr. Reade. I didn't understand half of what was going on but Mr. Reade was a great teacher he got that stuff into me somehow because years later I would come across something and be wow that is what that was! He was especially informed and informative with Motor/Generator Theory which greatly helped me understand phase and waveform stuff! My math skills stink but that is why we have calculators yes? I also played in school band (french horn) thus my love of music and playing in bands (guitar and bass) that needed help with recording and broken gear. I was a roadie for musical acts and did some theater sound design along the way this lead to building recording studios and gear out of need and lack of funds, although along the way I have discovered sometimes it is cheaper to buy than build, but nowhere near as enjoyable.

I am a union professional specialized Entertainment Industry Electrician by trade in the TV Industry, they call us Stagehands.   I guess I am basically self taught in most of what I do today. I ask a lot of questions! I learned early on anything you want to know is in a book somewhere.

Learning how to solder correctly and how to fabricate correctly is the greatest breakthrough in my journey with audio building!

 http://heathkit.com

http://www.zpag.net/Electroniques/Kit/Electronic_Kit.htm
Pip
New York City
http://geosonixlab.com

midwayfair

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2019, 12:43:22 PM »
Don't waste the money. Computer science actually has very little to do with actually writing code. There are no code writing classes. Computer science is about information theory, CPU design, analyzing the performance of algorithms and things someone might need to know if you want to work for Intel, Cisco or some company that makes computer components. Computer science professors are almost always really horrible coders. The best coders are the ones that just write code all the time. The way that usually goes is they get a job doing support and then they start helping with testing and then writing test cases and so on until they're writing the code that runs in production. I would take Comp Sci 201 or whatever the entry level class is where they talk about how a program actually runs and the "stack" and registers and so on. That is useful. If you understand how a CPU loads and steps through instructions and pushes and pops parameters of of the stack to actually run, then you can pretty much Google your way through writing code for any language on any platform.

Thanks for your concern, however, this is my last semester (I started this degree Spring 2017), and I went to school for computer science, not for coding. I chose to "waste" my money on a second bachelor's because I decided I couldn't adequately teach myself the mathematics (which knowledge I was deeply deficient in) and science to learn how things actually work. Coding becomes significantly easier by understanding the mathematical ideas underlying most things and can actually understand what the hell an algorithms textbook is actually saying so that you can apply it. Also, the kind of work I decided I want to do pretty much requires a bachelor's at a minimum. (I also didn't use that much money. The main reason I was able to do it at all is I found out I had post-9/11 GI bill benefits that were still good for another year or so ... my last active duty date was in 2003. I should have started the degree a year earlier and that would have carried me through the whole thing. Expensive timing on my part.)

I usually tell people who are where I was three years ago to take CS50 or MIT's OCW intro class and see if they are interested in computer science or just basic programming.
I'm Jon. Myself's music and things I make: jonpattonmusic.com. My band: www.midwayfair.org. [Disclaimer: PCBs of guitar pedals I've designed are sold by Madbean, 1776 Effects, and JMK PCBs.]

PRR

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2019, 01:47:18 PM »
> I can look at a circuit as a set of legos, and I can probably even do all the calculations I need to build almost anything I can imagine out of those legos, but it's almost like they can see the atoms that the legos are made up of.

I think it is just smaller and smaller Legos all the way down.

You have an amplifier. Legos are resistors and transistors. Inside the transistor is a crystal-- classic Lego-like structure of repeating blocks. Each block has a specific number of pegs and holes. Unlike plastic Legos they are somewhat malleable and the pegs can get loose. But in bulk, on average, every peg sits in a hole. Impurity Legos with different peg/hole counts skew the balance, giving excess pegs or holes, which affects conduction under external electric field.

We know the Proton and Neutron can be split to even smaller Lego blocks, but this requires concentrated energy we don't get from a battery or wall-plug. We aren't atom-smashers, we don't need to know about the smaller blocks. Any more than a carpenter gets into details of cell walls.

JohnRoberts

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2019, 02:33:41 PM »
> I can look at a circuit as a set of legos, and I can probably even do all the calculations I need to build almost anything I can imagine out of those legos, but it's almost like they can see the atoms that the legos are made up of.

I think it is just smaller and smaller Legos all the way down.

You have an amplifier. Legos are resistors and transistors. Inside the transistor is a crystal-- classic Lego-like structure of repeating blocks. Each block has a specific number of pegs and holes. Unlike plastic Legos they are somewhat malleable and the pegs can get loose. But in bulk, on average, every peg sits in a hole. Impurity Legos with different peg/hole counts skew the balance, giving excess pegs or holes, which affects conduction under external electric field.

We know the Proton and Neutron can be split to even smaller Lego blocks, but this requires concentrated energy we don't get from a battery or wall-plug. We aren't atom-smashers, we don't need to know about the smaller blocks. Any more than a carpenter gets into details of cell walls.
I've had my share of heated discussions with a golden ear*** co-worker at Peavey (bad combination a golden ear with an engineering degree.  ::) ). He would focus too intently into mechanisms occurring at the atomic level. The individual holes and electrons do act independently but we only perceive the impact of very large numbers of these individual actions.

JR

*** I was happy to use him on several projects and his work product did not suck.
John Roberts
http://circularscience.com
Tune it, or don't play it...

Kingston

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2019, 03:37:03 PM »
I started by putting thumbtacks in extension cords.

Oh dear, a fellow survivor. I stuck a swiss army knife with its two screwdrivers extended in the socket with perfect fit.

"why did the lights go off and why is the knife so warm" with the subsequent "no dad, I don't know why fuse blew, what's a fuse"

Luckily that red plastic cover was great insulation and double luckily no body part was touching metal.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 03:41:38 PM by Kingston »

squarewave

Re: So how did you initially learn about electronics?
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2019, 05:23:47 PM »
Thanks for your concern, however, this is my last semester
I see. Well that does sound like a good plan. If you have it mostly paid for then yes, I would agree you should take advantage of that. I thought you said you already had a bachelors. College is so expensive though, I can't recommend it unless you're a top student going to a school that people will actually be impressed with or unless it's paid for somehow. Yes, you need at least a bachelors for most real jobs. But unless it's from a big name it doesn't really matter from where or in what. Honestly I have to wonder if it would have been better to major in English Lit or History or Econ and then become a coder.


 

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