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Electrical for dummies? Advice needed

  1. Jun 28, 2009 #1
    Heya all

    I'm currently enrolled in Mechanical engineering (2nd year), and I was after some advice for both my future and as a general hobby interest.

    Despite having done an introductory electrical engineering unit in my first year, I realise that there are gigantic holes in my electrical/electronic knowledge, and I was hoping to fix this for both practical and academic reasons. I've read up on the differences, but I'm not 100% certain in which area I should plunge in first.

    As far as the "hobby" aspect is concerned, I was primarily thinking along the lines of being able to understand and work on a car/motorcycle electrical system.

    For my academic aspect, there is a unit in my third year of study called "Electrical Plant", with the following course description:

    So firstly, am I correct in thinking that I'm more interested in doing the "Electrical" side of things rather than "Electronic"?

    Secondly, is there a reccomended book out there that covers a more general view of the subject im interested in without being a hardcore science textbook? I imagine that the "dummies" series is probably frowned upon on these forums, but I'm thinking along the lines of a book that I could "read" rather than "study" (as confusing as that analogy is).

    I understand that to fully appreciate the subject matter, I would probably need to devote myself fully in the study, but I was thinking more along the lines of a hobbyist understanding, with the added bonus of knowing a few advanced concepts already before doing my third year unit.

    Thirdly, would an understanding in "electronic" knowledge help in understanding "electrical", and vica versa?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor

    The best way to learn a subject like this is always to get into a class where they teach it properly. They will have demonstrations and you will get access to equipment that you would not otherwise see.

    That does take a big commitment in time, so another way is to go to your local library and look through the magazines.
    This is better than looking at text books, because magazine article writers will try to sell the topic to you and make it interesting. Text books can be like that but mostly they have to be very precise and cover all the angles so you can get lost in the detail.

    The first few paragraphs of a magazine article are usually a very good introduction to the topic, even if the actual project is not something you would want to build.
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