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Reading schematics

  1. Sep 15, 2004 #1
    Hey all.

    I was wondering how most people learn how to read schematics of electrical circuits and such (apologies for the undoubtably inaccurate terminology, I'm ignorant of these subjects).

    I understand some very very very basic fundamentals about electricity, mostly garnered from various online sources. I'm at a bit of a rut, actually. I love to learn, I'm dying to learn/understand more, but I don't know where to turn. I ask about schematics specifically, because I think that studying them will help my understanding a bit. Do you think they wouldn't really help?

    Another query: How did everyone here learn what they do about electrical engineering? College? Library books? Internet? A mentor?

    Thanks :smile:
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2004 #2


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    You pretty much have to learn schematics by learning bits and pieces first. Begin with components like the humble resistor divider, the RC filter, etc. and you'll eventually find yourself able to analyze a large schematic quickly by breaking it down into pieces.

    Books, of course, are excellent. If you're just starting out, Radio Shack offers a line of hobbyist books that are known to be very good. The Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) also offers a number of easy-to-read books that are focused on developing the concepts of radio communication. University bookstores have tons of great books -- try to find one used in the school's first circuits class. These books will be more heavily methodical and mathematical than the other books I've mentioned, which may or may not please you. You don't necessarily need to learn any sophisticated mathematics to understand a circuit, but in some cases it can be a big help.

    Also get a program like OrCAD's SPICE package. SPICE is a circuit simulator. You can draw up a schematic, even very complex ones, and then investigate its behavior by putting in test points and simulating it. You won't be able to learn much with it by itself, however, but it'll be a nice companion to whatever book you choose to read. A demo of the OrCAD suite is available here, and will probably meet all your needs: http://www.orcad.com/downloads/orcadlite10/default.asp

    And, of course, getting a degree in electrical engineering is the ultimate way to learn electronics.

    - Warren
  4. Sep 15, 2004 #3
    Uncle Sugar taught me how to read them when I was in the Navy.

    I just wanted to add another way to learn is through putting kits togeater and building projects.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2004
  5. Oct 27, 2004 #4
    learn your theory, then pretend you are:
    an electron and/ or voltage, and/ or current, and/ or resistance, and/ or reactance, and/ or power, and/ or a magnetic field....... and see how you would, in this state, act in the circuit (given theoretical and practical limitations).(wow, two original thoughts in one day! self analyzing can be more fun than eating snakes!!!!!)
    someday that whole personality thing may also come to the forefront (i doubt it, but do you think that makes three?)
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2004
  6. Oct 27, 2004 #5
    Well, I have a grandfather that taught me a bit about electronics, so that's where I learned it. I went to Radioshack, and found a book on basic electronics, it was good. It brought electronics to a molecule level, was very desciptive, and had plenty of images. - always a good thing - Anyway, that's mainly where I learned a lot, but it also has a lot to do with understanding the components. For example, when I first started, if I saw a schematic, with a junction, I though...Maybe, electricity splitted up, and joined again at the end, each going through their own component, and combining their new values, this was wrong. Run-on sentence!!!
  7. Oct 28, 2004 #6
    [edited] That's a-r-r-o-g-a-n-c-e.... and I'm not sure why the thread warrants it. Please be civil.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2004
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