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Question for Craig on electronics basics


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Hi Craig (or anyone else knowledgeable), I'm just starting to get interested in learning electronics to eventually build and fix my own gear (i.e. effects, power supplies, etc.)and was curious if you could recommend some good books or sites for beginners. I've already learned enough to grasp the basic concepts like Ohm's law and the various parts that make up circuits. I'm looking for stuff that will teach me the ins and outs of how to translate circuit diagrams to real world PCB layouts, how to do etching, etc. Thanks in advance.
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one thing you might think about is whether you really need to etch. especially for a simple stompbox circuit, you may as well just use a breadboard or some sort of pre-made circuit board with a bunch of holes, 3 to 6 per node. that way you can make functional circuits using a bunch of components without having to worry about etching or layout. i'm an electrical engineer by trade, and that is a method we often use for prototyping small circuits. it works, even if it isn't that pretty. if you're not selling the part and you don't need a gigantic ground plane, give it a try.
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Go to [url=http://www.paia.com/]PAiA[/url] and order the books that Craig wrote! (I guess somebody has to toot his horn for him ;) ) If any of the projects look interesting, you can order kits from PAiA and build them yourself. That should at least build up your soldering skills, and give you practice at reading schematics (and seeing how the schematic relates to the actual circuit board). If you want to go beyond that, you'll need to read up on basic electronics (the text by Horowitz & Hill still seems to be the standard, as it was when I was an undergrad back in the 80's) and things like amplifier & filter design. I'd agree with Synaes that attempting to etch/drill your own circuit boards is probably more trouble than it's worth (unless you already, say, have access to equipment at work), and that there are more practical alternatives for your own designs. I, personally, stick with kits. I have a [url=http://www.synthetech.com/]MOTM[/url] modular synthesizer that I built entirely from the kits (which are really well done - even a klutz like me can put together some sophisticated equipment).
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