Getting started with electronic design

Hello, I've decided to get into designing/building electronic circuits
for fun/profit. I've been around electronics ever since I can remember
(I'm 21 now), watching my dad working on stuff and tinkering with
circuits myself, and I've also taken a basic electronics course in the
US Air Force. While this isn't really a lot of experience, I consider
myself to be pretty intelligent and more able and willing than most to
readily understand and learn technical things (like electronics), so I
don't foresee a problem teaching myself how to do this stuff. I've also
had quite a bit of experience with computer programming in C and many
other languages (including some assembler), so I'm not scared of
writing firmware.
As you can see, I do have some existing experience and knowledge, but I
recognize that there is a lot more I need to learn. I can think of
plenty of stuff right offhand I'll need to learn more about, and I'm
sure there is more out there I don't even know about yet. I was hoping
you fellows could recommend some good books I could pick up and other
sources of information about designing electronic circuits, using
embedded microprocessors and such, or other topics relevant to a
beginner electronics engineer. I already have books and information
about basic electronics concepts; now I'm ready for the real stuff.
I've got a whole list of projects I'd like to design and build. Most of
the items are just things I think would be neat to play with; a few are
ideas I have for commercial products. I'm going to need to acquire some
tools and set up a shop before I do anything, though. I plan to spend
no more than, say, $1500, and equip myself with some decent tools. I
can't afford to spend more than that, so I'm going for the best "bang
for your buck" tools and equipment I can find. I'm not afraid to use
homebrew solutions to save money. The problem is, I'm not sure what all
tools I will be needing. I want to do small SMT circuits; I have steady
hands and good vision, so I'm not afraid of TSSOP work. I guess I'll
need some good magnification, light, and tools for working with tiny
components (which ones?). I've also got my eye on a nice hot-air
soldering gun from MPJA for $79. I'd like to try some of the ideas I've
read about using a laser printer to etch circuit boards, so I'll need a
laser printer and related components (unless someone has a better
idea). If that doesn't work out I can always just have the boards made.
I'd also like to see about setting up some kind of cheap oven setup to
save time soldering boards, rather than having to hand solder
everything. What other tools would come in handy? Oscilloscope,
multimeters, sure, but what kind?
Any information or advice you can give to help me out is appreciated!
Now, I'm going to go back to scouring the net for information. ;)
Nathan
Reply to
shiftless
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books, - Art of Electronics and Jim Williams
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I think you are starting the wrong way round with the SMT stuff the priorities in my book would be, in random order
Workbench, not the kitchen table, so you dont have to clear up every time you are hungry. SM parts are crunchy, but need a lot of ketchup
Bench power supply current limited, + - 30V max, 2A. 5V 2A
Quality small pliers wire strippers etc, my Lindstrom tools are over 20 years old, still perfect My Weller TCP iron is 15 years old
Hook up wire
200MHz analog scope,. Volt/current meters, I still prefer analog ones-- ebay
Components with leads, forget surface mount. How many times can you re-use them. See how many of us work here:
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It appears as if you are going digital, so a whole pile of nand gates, latches, led drivers, and a avr/8051/pic development board. Logic level pulse/square wave gen
And little storage bins. A good work light for the bench A comfy chair Antistatic work bench mat Lots of 0 .1uF decoupling caps Elastoplast heatshrink hellerman sleeves hand drill, you can work at 3am, a power drill limits you to 10pm small sheets of aluminium, for screwing pcbs to, bagssmall nuts and bolts
I still work with a 5 year old stripboard with a ZIF socketed 8051, with a memory mapped 2*16 LCD display, 4 push buttons, and a max232 driver , for testing little progs. A programmer, try Dontronics, cheap
martin
Serious error. All shortcuts have disappeared. Screen. Mind. Both are blank.
Reply to
martin griffith
Thanks! That's exactly what I was looking for. I still want to do some SMT in a couple projects to save board space, but I can see where it would be way too much trouble/expense for smaller projects. I do have a pretty decent workshop with a nice room and workbench, drill press, lots of tools etc, so that's a big plus. No ketchup required. :) Thanks again for the tips, that gives me a good place to start. If I have any more questions I'll let you know!
Nathan
Reply to
shiftless
Dont go mad on SMT( nanocomponents will make them obsolete), just make sure it works with REAL components, (that men use), first.
9 months ago this guy walked into a firm that occaisionally gives me money, dumped a stripboard down on the desk, the prototype, and said "I want a 100 of these,... "
short version... it took 6 months to get it right! and we are still testing!
martin
Serious error. All shortcuts have disappeared. Screen. Mind. Both are blank.
Reply to
martin griffith
I'd also like to thank you for the post. However, may I ask why a 200 MHz scope? 100 MHz are rather expensive for my pocketbook. RF perhaps?
Thanks again, Dennis.
Reply to
Dennis Chang

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