Monday, December 04, 2006

Groking Electronics

Sorry about the light posting, I've spent most of my downtime with my nose buried in webpages, books, and wires. This past week has seen most of my free time spent researching electronics in a renewed effort to understand some basic circuits.

I've been wanting to get into electronics for quite some time. I understand basic electronics (add battery to motor, make motor go; go motor, go), but didn't understand components, and circuits. I had a basic understanding of resistors, capacitors, relays, etc, but wasn't sure how to impliment them.

Last week I rediscovered my attraction to BEAM bots. Not having successfully learned electronics had always bothered me, so I resolved to get my nose back to the grindstone and not stop until I understood electronics to my satisfaction.

So, I dug up my old links, and books, and researched them for quite some time. I spent a lot of time finding out what I didn't know, so I would know what to research further. I eventually hit the wall I'd hit in the past, where I couldn't understand electronics theory. I spent a lot of time trying to find things that I could reverse engineer to understand, but only came up with more questions and confusion.

Suprisingly, the internet has a real gap of information on this topic. I picked my friend's brain who said that it took him a long time to truly grok the theory behind electronics circuits, and how components worked. This eased my frustration a little bit. I knew I could do it, and was willing to do the work.

I decided that if I couldn't research my way over this wall, I'd have to start playing with components, and learn on the way.

I picked up some components and a solderless breadboard, some basic components; a solar panel, a few motors, and a kit (for parts), and started messing around and recording my observations. (btw, a breadboard actually makes creating circuits easy and fun. It's a must have, and can be had for cheap.) After I started seeing how the components reacted with eachother and experimenting with different configurations, I began to understand.

It took a lot of time and work to get to this point, but I'm glad I'm making progress. I just wish I could have become impatient with the lack of information earlier.

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