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I need technical help-practical solutions

  1. Jan 2, 2010 #1
    I'm a 400l university student studying elect/elect eng. I have passion for electronics from my childhood, but my enviroment is affecting me. Even though i passed very well - It seems i don"t know a thing. I'm lagged,i need something to work on PLEASE PROFER SOLUTION
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2010 #2
    Hello, Aeyeye,

    I've met a good many students in your position. It's unfortunate that college studies focus so heavily on theory without offering more opportunities to practice.

    I don't know if the following is appropriate to your situation, but it's what I did.

    Special projects classes are an opportunity for you to gain some specialty knowledge before being tossed into industry. During my last two years, I made good friends with my profs and asked them about special projects.

    It was a success in that I was allowed to take some graduate courses, perform my own special project, and was allowed to take a C course that was in an experimental phase (everyone took Fortran and Pascal back then). It was really a pleasure in that I got access to training and software that wasn't normally available.

    Being a hobbyist helps give you a taste for fundamentals. You can buy o-scopes for less than $200 now, and it was with a scope and a little programming that I finally sorted out what was meant by serial communications.

    I also purchased a training set at a pawn shop. It had built in power supplies, signal generators, logic switches, LEDs, and a VOM. All of that with a solder-less breadboard in the middle. This was probably an investment of $80, though I've seen them cheaper.

    Finally, I topped my hobby kit off with a set of drawers which I filled with miscellaneous resistors, capacitors, and semi's. This made it easy to build small circuits and study how they behaved.

    It's really surprising at first, how the circuits behave different than you would expect. You start noticing things in the data sheets that didn't seem important. You also start noting how your test instruments interact:)

    Then, I added a couple of Spice packages in. You can an download an excellent Spice package at linear.com. Just don't become brain dead using it. Spice is an imaginary world, and it's a great help - as long as you know what's real and what isn't.

    As for logic design, It's getting hard to get by without knowing VHDL or Verilog. I chose VHDL, because it's more prevalent where I live. To "play" with the language, I got a development kit from Lattice Semi, a MACHxo device along with some development software. I also got a communications device from totalphase.com. I chose the Aardvark so that I could talk to my projects using an SPI port.

    Learning C is important to an engineer working with microcontrollers. Even if you standing on the sidelines, you occasionally have to dig in the code when no one else can help. For this, it's good to get a demo board from a company that offers a free C compiler. It's also good to start with a processor that other hobbyists are using - that way you can steal the code and morph it into your own. A good place to look for hobbyist code is at hackaday.com

    You can get some of these development kits just for asking. The distributors give them away to develop their market. So, you go to a sales lunch, or simply call and ask. You'd be surprised.

    Just remember that if your just getting into the profession, you need to work on your concept portfolio. Building a laser guided mosquito zapper may be a great idea, but it involves too many concepts for the newbee. Instead, work on getting your amplifiers always right, your power supplies always stable, learning to wright logic code that won't hang up, and learning how to decipher and write C.

    Best Wishes,

    - Mike
  4. Jan 2, 2010 #3
    look ... iam a student as u and i feel the same ..

    but ..belive me when ur teacher offer a pooject and he say optional take it ..

    just ..hang on there and there

    i step by this forum emmm no one tell a bout it ..

    i had a lot of benifet from it ... and i learn every day st new and i wish i have much time to keep looking in this ..forumm

    any ,,way
    practical work will make ur not keep in ur mind

    regards ..

    student just like u
  5. Jan 4, 2010 #4
    I am very grateful.It is very hard getting those things u mentioned cos of my Area. I will try and download those things and get the kit. But to get tech books(Library is not even functioning well) is very hard, although nothing is too expensive for knowledge. I want to start from fundamentals. Pls im waiting for your reply
  6. Jan 5, 2010 #5
    I still need technical help

    I'm a 400level electronics engineering student in Africa. But it seems i don't know anything because, i do not have any practical knowledge. And i want to know this electronics so that i can practise. It is what i have passion for from my childhood, unfortunately my enviroment is killing me. Pls HELP ME. I will gladly welcome any provisions like books and the likes. Thanks
  7. Jan 5, 2010 #6
    Re: I still need technical help

    But you want practical knowledge, which means hands on stuff. Do you have the resources to buy parts and kits and start hacking stuff together? sparkfun is a great place to start for all sorts of fun projects. If that's not feasible, there are lots of hack it together projects.

    My first (and one of my faves) is connecting some wheels to some motors, throwing it on a base, and adding a battery to it. That's a basic robot. Add a power switch for the next level, then basic motor control (figure out how to do turns and reverse), and work up to microcontrollers, etc. There are also lots of schematics on the web for do it yourself amplifiers and led projects and the like.

    I like army/navy field tech manuals, 'cause they're very practical and don't get bogged down in the math/science of it all. Most people recommend https://www.amazon.com/Forrest-Mims-Engineers-Notebook/dp/1878707035.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  8. Jan 12, 2010 #7
    Re: I still need technical help

    thank you very much for the mail. i'm very grateful. But as per the question you asked me about payment, there is no avenue for me here to buy anything online. I don't know if you can just help me with that. I have check the sites but not able to get anything from the place due to the fact that we don't use cards here. All the same i'm very gratefull. I wil be waiting for your reply
  9. Jan 12, 2010 #8
    Re: I still need technical help

    A lot of them will except paypal, and I think african sites will accept whatever form of online cash you guys use.

    There's another option. Go to your local pawnshop/thrift shop/junkyard/etc. and just pick up something cheap. Buy or borrow a multimeter-this should be floating around a school lab somewhere. Viola, that's something hands on to explore. Take the thing apart, put it together, poke it with a multimeter to see how voltage flows in different parts of it. As for the books, they maybe in your school library or at a bookstore.
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