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Why Aren't There More Aspies Into Electronics?

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Dr-David-Banner

Of course, I may be wrong here. Maybe there are a few people into electronics (I know quite a few here are good at maths).

However, I can't help but pick up that, these days, the population as a whole is alienated from electronics. I guess this is because most of the laptops, TV sets and appliances are made in South East Asia with micro-chips and it's hard to know where to begin. Most of the old service engineers have all been made redundant as today people just buy and then throw way.

However, you'd be surprised how interesting it can get if you become involved in engineering electronics. Myself I tend to use text books written as far back as The Forties and you get a far better grasp of theory that way because, back then, stuff was engineered and could be serviced and repaired.

Employment-wise, maybe it's risky. A lot of the stuff that interests me about electronics isn't what you'd call a money earner. Basically I take old radio equipment and try and fix it all up again so I can tune in all over the globe to Moscow or Madrid or wherever. On the days where I feel too lazy to do any actual work I may just work through maths and circuits.

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veearrell

Well, I do know a small amount about game console maintenance. Enough to keep mine working, anyway. I don't know how it all works, exactly, but I can follow a repair video easy enough.

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(deleted)

I've done bits of electronics. I was quite into digital electronics at one time and I still remember a lot of the theory, but I couldn't put much of it into practice due to lack of resources. I've also fiddled around with analogue electronics a bit and I've been trying to get into ham radio but somehow I can't quite understand a lot of fundamental concepts - well, I think I understand them anyway but when I try to apply them things don't work as expected. lol I can't even follow an analogue circuit diagram and have it work properly...

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lifeis

I can build quite a decent gaming pc but that's about as far as my knowledge goes. I'm a jack of a few trades master of none

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Pinky and his brain

That very few aspies are into electronics, is because not many people in general are into electronics. It's not considered "cool" anymore.

 

I myself do like to mess around with electronics, but I don't have much time to do it. When I do, it's mostly audio electronics. (Amps, preamps, dacs and so).

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Dr-David-Banner

Sounds like you need to sort of slow down your approach and focus on the specific goal. If it's HAM radio are you interested in transistorised or tube? Do you want to construct sets or repair ones that don't work? Or maybe you could become interested in tape equipment such as reel-to-reel recorders?

With me, I pretty much know exactly where my interest lies so it's easy for me to focus on my goal and do the work. I have some really good books - one from about 1942 that shows many battery-powered radio receivers, as well as mains powered.

Maybe my inspiration comes from Tesla and Einstein who were both heavily into electrics and theory.

Where do you start?

Well, understanding the main concepts:

What is A.C. voltage and how does it differ from D.C.?

How do you convert A.C. into D.C. and how do rectifiers work?

How fast do radio waves travel?

What's the relationship between voltage, current and resistance?

What is a potential difference?

Here is how I explain the two latter concepts to make it so easy, anyone can understand:

2 people sit opposite sides of a see-saw. In the middle of the see-saw is a pivot point. If person "A" weighs exactly 13 stones and person "B" weighs exactly 13 stones, what happens? Answer nothing. However, if person "A" weighs 15 stones and person "B" still weighs 13 stones, you will see the see-saw will burst into energy and tip all the way down at point "A". And the bigger the difference in weight, the more energy is produced. Same with voltage. If two points are both at the same voltage nothing happens. However, where there is a big voltage difference you get lots of energy. The term is potential difference. It helps also to understand electrons are carriers of negative energy so if one terminal has a lot of electrons and the other has hardly any, you get a voltage between the two points, like the see-saw.

I think maybe part of the problem is the basic physics side of electronics isn't being brought home to people so there is less interest. Stuff is being made on chipboards that is too flimsy and tiny to relate to and it doesn't last very long either.

Maths helps but you don't really need much more than doing square roots, multiplying, diving and using very small decimal values in sums.



 

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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Dr-David-Banner

Here is food for though: Only in about the 1920's has electronics made a real impact on peoples' lives. It's taken from around 200 B.C. to about 1920 to discover how to amplify a voice and transmit the sound through the air so it can be received in the home. It's really an amazing discovery but took some 4000 years to be unlocked.

From that point in the last 60 years only we've moved to home computers and I Phones. However, it's the big discoveries that really matter and the rest of it is refinement. Like semiconductors and silicon is really just so much smaller and you can run your appliances on much smaller voltages. The concepts are the same, though. I take my hat off to the ones who made the big discoveries. Tesla, for example, invented A.C. distribution to the home which we still use today at 260 Volts, 50 Hertz.

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Pinky and his brain

The reason I don't have much time, isn't because I try to learn everything about everything. It's simply because I have a very stressful job.

 

I do understand the concepts of electronics and electromechanical devices. And yes, they are fascinating. :)

 

 

Pretty much everything in electronics that we have today, was invented between 1920 and 1980. After 1980 things got smaller and faster. Some parts became more reliable, and some parts were deliberately made worse to increase profit.

 

Tesla was indeed a brilliant man. Only sad, that nobody knew that, when he was alive.

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(deleted)

It's ham radio that I'm interested in, and definitely transistors and other more recent radio technology. I was trying to build a direct-conversion CW receiver (practically the simplest kind of receiver you can build) and I couldn't build one working module no matter what diagrams and tutorials I followed, even though I understood the diagrams and tutorials.

Edited by invisible

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Dr-David-Banner

It sometimes happens that a schematic doesn't quite match the actual set before you. I've sometimes found slight errors between circuit design and the circuit because I guess the manufacturers may sometimes improvise.

You could try and build a Simplex X Super, maybe there is a version that uses transistors.

One suggestion I might be able to make is you could maybe change your strategy simply to rekindle the interest. Perhaps you could carefully go over each stage and then just build your receiver. For example, a few weeks ago, I tried looking at the whole thing from the aerial onwards. That is, from aerial and earth to the large variable tuning capacitor. Then through the fixed capacitor to the first amplifier stage. What's interesting is the very very early receivers used feedback from the first amplifier back to the signal. Americans called it "regeneration". You'll have heard of this I think and it came well before the superheterodyne.

I do have some really good books that help and they all give slightly different approaches. The one I'm using now used to belong to someone in the radio corps division during WW2 so it's amazingly dated by today's standards.

Anyway, the way I view it now is (aerial reception via antenna, (2) amplifying signal through a DV voltage, (3) Demodulating the A.F. signal and also filtering out any R.F. (4) Amplifying the A.F. and sending through the speaker.

I do have many HAM circuit schematics and, yes, it really is a headache as some are split in halves. That is, an oscillator circuit might be shown apart from the amplifier of the mixer. The snag is I can follow it with electron tubes but can't help you much with transistors, except to say I've messed with the AF117 Sixties germanium PNP transistors (the ones NASA studied recently due to defects).

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