Computing stuff tied to the physical world

All about Easy Electrons

In Hardware on Jun 29, 2011 at 00:01

Long-time readers will probably remember the Easy Electrons series of posts on this weblog – as the first post says: “a series which will cover various aspects of electronics from the viewpoint of a technology enthusiast with a non-electronics background.”

There have been 14 posts so far, covering everything from resistors and capacitors, to the basics of power consumption and heat, as well as diodes, transistors, and MOSFETs.

It’s been great fun to write, and the response to it has been absolutely overwhelming. Never did I expect that so many people would enjoy reading about these topics…

I tried to write these posts to convey my intuition on most of the topics covered. There’s a lot of theory out there on electronics, with as much maths and physics as you’re willing to muster, even. But none of that is really needed, if all you want is hook up some circuits with say a few sensors, some display, and a microcontroller such as the JeeNode, Arduino, or chipKIT.

So the point of the Easy Electrons series was really to try and bring across that essential understanding which can help avoid damaging stuff. It should after all be fun…

I say “was”, because I’ve decided to stop writing Easy Electrons installments. First of all, there’s a summer break coming up, but more importantly, I don’t really want to go too deeply into topics which are well covered by other sites on the web.

There are plenty of getting started sites, but the one I’d like to highlight is All About Circuits – it’s a goldmine of information, and it has a very active discussion forum area. Best of all, it’s not aligned to any particular supplier (as far as I can tell), so I would expect the information in it to be generally useful (and much broader and deeper than what I could possibly come up with). There are some ads on the site – to which I’m usually allergic, but they tend to be quite small and unobtrusive, IMO.

There’s bound to be info for everyone. I particularly liked Volume IV of their extensive documentation – filled with interesting experiments, with all the details and background info one could possibly need.

If all you want is to get started in electronics, perhaps because you have a computer software background, then skimming through the first 5 chapters, such as this section on voltage and current, ought to go a long way.

I’m not ruling out new posts which might still get tagged as part of the Easy Electrons series, but don’t wait for full-scale coverage of all electronics aspects one could think of. There’s no point duplicating what others are doing, and doing better and more thoroughly, in fact.

I’m delighted that there are such good resources, freely available to anyone with an internet connection. Would have loved to have had that access as a teenager!

So now I can focus my energy on exploring and blogging about all the new adventures ahead :)

  1. Fully agree JC, there is tons of info on this on the web, or if you’re older (like me) in books…..;-)

    Any pointers on which direction your going the coming months? Apart from the (again) well deserved summer break.

    Rgds, Michel.

    • Thx. Direction will remain as usual: wherever other people’s suggestions in combination with my own interests will take me. Lots of new hardware, new sensors, and new software, as far as I’m concerned.

  2. jcw, thanks for keeping us informed. Nice tip about the All About Circuits site.

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