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What is the best way to learn the basics of electronic components?

  1. Apr 12, 2014 #1
    So I have been interested in learning about electronics for a while but I can only find good reading sources for learning. I have a load of trouble learning from reading and I best learn from things like experimentation or being taught. I would like to experiment but at the same time I don't want to accidentally explode something in my face. I would like a way to learn about the basic components themselves for a foundation to start experimenting without the threat of me accidentally putting to much voltage into something, overheating it and then it exploding. Again, I learn best from things like videos or being taught but videos would be preferable. Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2014 #2

    jim hardy

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    my advice is you will learn by doing.

    Amateur Radio is a fascinating hobby . And the folks in it are friendly. See if there's a club in your neighborhood and check ARRL dot org..

    Or order an inexpensive audio kit and build yourself a stereo.

    i've built this one , it is easy and has great sound. Around twenty bucks at hobby sites.
    you'll need a soldering iron and cutters.
    I mounted mine in a sardine can and velcroed it to side of the computer.

    You'll need speakers too. That is really fun when you get into audio theory and hobby sites abound.

  4. Apr 13, 2014 #3


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    What Jim says is true.

    Another possibility is Arduino. We are in an age of computers and micro controllers. Making something as simple as a flashing LED will teach you about circuits and programming. There are tons of projects, videos, tutorials,etc etc. You should search the Arduino forums and sites and something will catch your fancy. Or, just buy a board and do the blinking LED tutorial. It's a steep curve, but well worth the effort.

    http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/Introduction is a place to start.
  5. Apr 13, 2014 #4


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    If you start with low voltage battery powered circuits, nothing will "explode". You will probably destroy a few components by making mistakes, but everybody does that as part of the learning process. You might even overheat a component enough to make it catch fire, but so long as you keep your work area fairly tidy you won't burn your house down. Knowing what overheated components smell like before they start smoking is a good thing to learn!

    But don't even think about building a project powered directly from the mains, until you know what you are doing and understand the safety issues. Making mistakes with mains electricity can kill you.
  6. Apr 13, 2014 #5


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    If you want to be successful, you will very (VERY) soon find you need a DMM. Pretty much any electronic project will really impress you with yourself - as long as it works. The ego trip can be out of all proportion when a light goes on when it's supposed to.
    Note of caution: in the same way that computers do what you tell them to do- and not what you want them to do, electronic components have the same mean streak. Check, check and check again before you connect the power.
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