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Posts Tagged ‘electronics

Resources for learning about electronics

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Folks learning about electronics on their own might want to check out this great site.

You’ll find theory, practice, experiments, video’s, and a very active discussion forum

Folks interested in Radio might want to check this specific link inside the site above (Radio and Communications)

Written by frrl

September 10, 2011 at 12:41 am

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Pedagogy: Learning – and failing to learn – about Electronics

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I always like this quote from major league baseball player and manager Yogi Berra –

“You can see a lot just by observing.”

Many people say the world isn’t  interesting.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The world is full of interesting things – if you just take the time to look.

For some, electronics is a hobby.  For these folks, they are not professionals; they do not have four-year college degrees in electronics or electrical engineering.  They just want to learn about electronics as a hobby.  Over the years I’ve watched individuals (including myself) learn about electronics as a hobby.  Generally, they try to do it on their own, outside a classroom setting – flying by the seat of their pants.

How do the variety of individual go about learning about electronics?  Here is where I appeal to Yogi Berra – “You can see a lot just by observing.”

By careful unscientific and ad hoc observation, this is what I’ve observed over the years regarding people trying to learn about electronics outside a traditional classroom setting.

1. Lost-in-time Thomas Edison approach.  Thomas Edison said, “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.”  For this set of individuals, learning about electronics is more about doing rather than thinking.  They have the “lets see what happens” approach.  They try one thing then another thing and observe the results.  This is what Thomas Edison did when he was trying to find what would work as a filament in a light bulb.  From Edison, “Before I got through, I tested no fewer than 6,000 vegetable growths, and ransacked the world for the most suitable filament material.”

I call this approach by those trying to learn electronics as the “Lost-in-time” Thomas Edison approach because, 100+ years later, electronics is a mature disciple.  At the level of pedagogy, there is no real need to “experiment” at a very basic level,  For example, if you want to learn how to bias a transistor for a simple class A audio amplifier do you really want to just try combinations of resistors until it works?  How many combinations will you try?  “Before I got through, I tested no fewer than 6,000…”

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Written by frrl

September 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm

FUNCube Dongle and the Entrepreneurial Adventure

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The FUNcube Dongle is a USB-based Software Defined Radio capable of reception of 64MHz to 1.7GHz.

Far more interesting (or equally interesting) is the entrepreneurial story behind this product.

Entrepreneurs should check the archives on the blog site below going back to October 2010. Reading the history of this product gives you an insight into how products unfold from design to manufacture.  There are also some great pictures of the elements that go into the manufacturing process.

Just a few sample’s

The main site –

Which is a larger part of this –

Dave of EEVBlog did a great video on the manufacturing of short runs of prototype products like this leading to full production runs.  Very long, and detailed, but worth the watch if you are an entrepreneur manufacturing a product or if you want to see how this all works.

More Resources

Watch some videos

Forum Discussions

Written by frrl

July 20, 2011 at 5:53 am

Take a Video Tour of Apex Surplus Electronics

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Need surplus electronics?  Next time I travel to California I’m going to stop by to see this place for myself.
Definitely better than a hamfest, flea market, and better than e-bay.
Need a rocket?  They have that too.

This only thing I’ve seen that comes close to Apex is this guy’s  home –

Check out this episode of the EEVBlog  (Links to this vblog and others on the right side bar — > )

Check out the web site –

Written by frrl

June 30, 2011 at 3:03 am

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Check it out – Electronics Engineering Video Blog

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Check out this blog –

David L. Jones is an electronics design engineer based in Sydney Australia.

In this blog he shares some of his 20 years experience in the electronics design industry in his unique non-scripted naturally overly enthusiastic and passionate style.

Dave started out in hobby electronics over 30 years ago and since then has worked in such diverse areas as design engineering, production engineering, test engineering, electro-mechanical engineering, that wacky ISO quality stuff, field service, concept design, underwater acoustics, ceramic sensors, military sonar systems, red tape, endless paperwork trails, environmental testing, embedded firmware and software application design, PCB design (he’s CID certified), power distribution systems, ultra low noise and low power design, high speed digital design, telemetry systems, and too much other stuff he usually doesn’t talk about.

He has been published in various magazines including: Electronic Today International, Electronics Australia, Silicon Chip, Elektor, Everyday Practical Electronics (EPE), Make, and ReNew.

Few people know Dave is also a world renowned expert and author on Internet Dating, a qualified fitness instructor, geocacher, canyoner, and environmentalist.



Written by frrl

June 19, 2011 at 7:48 pm

The secret history of Silicon Valley & the defense industry

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The Secret History of Silicon Valley

This is a very long GoogleTechTalks video.  But, if you are interested in “black projects” related to  radio, electronics, radar, electronic counter-measures, signal intelligence, and electronic intelligence in the context of World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War and lots of information about Stanford’s participation in classified military projects – this may be worth the watch.

If you are in to it, this is a fascinating history of military/university collaboration on black projects and the symbiotic relationship among University Engineering schools, the defense industry, and how all this gave rise to entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and the founding of well-known companies.

Get a cup of coffee, and take a watch…  (don’t foget to check out the list of references in the Resource section below)


See below for the list sources for the above GoogleTechTalk
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Written by frrl

July 4, 2010 at 5:49 am

Take a video tour of the ARRL Lab

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Ever read those product reviews and tests in QST Magazine that were done in the ARRL lab?  Well, here is where it happens.  Take a look.

Written by frrl

June 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm

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