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Circuit design

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ETinkerer
(@etinkerer)
Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

If you've read my introduction I mentioned I'm not capable of creating a circuit from scratch. Can someone suggest a book or possibly link a website that goes into designing a circuit. Not basic electronics ( ohms law, what does a resistor, capacitor, transistor do ......) kind of past the basic stage but not knowledgeable enough to design a circuit. I can modify someone else's design to an extent for my needs once I get an understanding of how their design is built. I have experimented with the MAKE: AVR programming book. 

Hope this is makes sense what I'm asking. I feel I'm past the basic electronics stage but not knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. ? 

Pat

 

Pat

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That's funny …”
Author: Isaac Asimov


   
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jscottbee
(@jscottbee)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 107
 

Hello Pat,

I would keep doing what you are doing and look and study others work. One of the things that helped me was getting a digital trainer and logic chips and just goofing around with them on the trainer's breadboards. You can find some decent and fairly priced ones on eBay. I have had a couple over time and use a Knights electronics trainer now. I have one similar to this one:

  I paid @50$USD for it with shipping. I have also had the Heathkit ET-3200 and you can get them for less than $50USD.

Have fun,

Scott

 


   
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Altoidian
(@altoidian)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 11
 

Ah, the most dangerous sort- the learning genius. So am I. I've burned up more transistors than I have ever successfully integrated into my own successful circuit build designs- (not really, but it seems that way). Way back in the 70's I started building kits- simple things from Rainbow and heath (when heath existed) and got a basic understanding of how circuits were built. Nowadays, they tell me we have these on-line services that will even burn you a board or three for as little as $20.00 (US) and we even have free circuit design software- (mainly provided by the board burners themselves!). I've used some of them and have been amazed. However, since I started using Arduino, I find most of my projects can easily be programmed rather than actually built from-scratch built to do what I want. I found at my age, it is a little more difficult to learn new software and some of the circuit design programs were getting awfully sophisticated- even though, I suspect most people with a little fresher brains could learn it in a few hours of just messing with it. On was CircuitMaker- ( https://circuitmaker.com/ ) I ahve not used the latest version, but, I had some pretty good success with it.

 

Good luck. and nice meeting you ET


   
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stevehendo34
(@stevehendo34)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2
 

EEVblog fundamentals 

https://www.eevblog.com/fundamentals/

KiCad

http://www.kicad-pcb.org/


   
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Mandy
(@amanda)
Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 74
 
Posted by: ETinkerer

If you've read my introduction I mentioned I'm not capable of creating a circuit from scratch. Can someone suggest a book or possibly link a website that goes into designing a circuit. Not basic electronics ( ohms law, what does a resistor, capacitor, transistor do ......) kind of past the basic stage but not knowledgeable enough to design a circuit. I can modify someone else's design to an extent for my needs once I get an understanding of how their design is built. I have experimented with the MAKE: AVR programming book. 

Hope this is makes sense what I'm asking. I feel I'm past the basic electronics stage but not knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. ? 

Pat

 

Hi Pat,

I don't think I can design a circuit from scratch either as I have no formal training so I tend to plagiarise a lot.  Most circuits you need have already been designed by people that are far better than us and are now on the internet for us to copy.  Most data-sheets will have an illustration of the uses for the component and many times someone in China has made a small circuit board from that diagram and you can get one for $0.99.

Most of my circuits are built from small parts, they only looks complex because there are lots of them.  Don't be afraid to experiment as long as you remember to never use a water extinguisher on an electrical fire.

The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human... sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot.


   
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ETinkerer
(@etinkerer)
Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

Hi Amanda.

Being a former programmer in IT I know where you're coming from about plagiarizing. I used to do google searches for code. Copy, paste and alter to my needs. Most programmers do now a days since like you say a lot of code has already been developed to do what you need or at least close enough to use for your own purpose.  

I have looked at data sheets and have some idea what I'm doing when dissecting what someone else has developed. Like I wrote, I'm not quite at the dangerous point yet. ? 

I'm also a member on the Instructables web site. Get a lot of ideas from the emails that get sent out. I was basically looking for something more substantial than this. https://www.instructables.com/id/10-Tips-to-Design-Better-Electronic-Circuits/

Keep the website links coming. I'll investigate all of them. Or if anyone knows a good book or possibly a pdf. I'm really looking mainly for the knowledge. I enjoy learning as much as the building. Maybe Bill can do a short series on the subject. (@dronebot-workshop)

Pat

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That's funny …”
Author: Isaac Asimov


   
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Mandy
(@amanda)
Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 74
 

Hi ETinkerer,

I think you need to get your hands dirty and start building.  The Instructables article is interesting but does say "how to build better electronic circuits" so the assumption is that you are building things.

Do you have any projects you are looking to build?

 

The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human... sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot.


   
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 Tim
(@tim)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2
 

Hi ETinkerer,

Plagiarise most of us do it, the trick that helps me is to start simple, make sure it works and that you understand why, then build on that circuit. Create a collection of building blocks. It's the same with programming. BigClive.com videos are very helpful he takes cheap Chinese products to bits and with then explain the circuits as well as being helpful I find his videos entertaining.

This post was modified 5 years ago by Tim

   
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(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1073
 

I wouldn't really call it "plagiarising".  Manufacturers provide wiring and code samples when they release a product, and these are intended to be used in your final design. 

A lot of times "designing" a circuit is just a matter of looking at the spec sheets for each of them and figuring out how to hook them together. The spec sheets will show you the support components.

A good example is the Arduino Uno board. If you look at the spec sheet for the ATMega328 (the microcontroller chip that the Uno is based upon) you'll see that the Arduino designers just added a USB to Serial converter and a voltage regulator to the ATMega328 and wired everything else the same way the spec sheet showed in its example wiring.

When it comes to code as long as you are operating within the license agreement of the code sample you can use and reuse it as much as you like.  It's considered proper to give attribution to the coder who came up with the code in the first place.

ETinkerer, as you're "past the basic electronics stage but not knowledgeable enough to be dangerous" I suggest you make sure you have an understanding of interfacing devices - hooking sensors up, I2C, analog vs digital inputs and outputs. Make sure you know how much current your output devices draw, and what voltage level your logic devices operate at. Make sure you know how to use a multimeter to measure all the key parameters.

Then just start hooking things up!  As long as you stay working with logic levels you (probably) won't blow anything up.

?

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


   
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ETinkerer
(@etinkerer)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

Hi Bill

Glad you chimed in. OK, maybe "borrowed" rather than plagiarized is a better term. ?

I think my background in learning electronics from the MAKE book "AVR programming" is part of why I'm trying to get a better handle on creating circuits. Most of what I see from the internet is someone taking some type of module or an Arduino or RPi and creating whatever they need from those. I thought there might be something to "bridge the gap" between what I learned from the book and using prebuilt modules for a project.

In your video about converting the Arduino Uno to ATMega 328 it looks like you kind of reverse engineer the Arduino. Also in the DB1 series when you discussed whether to use a micro controller or the 2 Nano's for the motor controllers. I was wondering what you would need to convert the Nano circuitry to just a chip and a few electronic components. I was looking for how to create a circuit where a module may not be available for someones needs, or an Arduino board being kind of an overkill for something that doesn't need all the bells and whistles from the board.

I haven't looked all that much at data sheets. So I guess I should probably start there. Thanks for your input. If you have any more advise I'd be glad to hear it.

Pat

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That's funny …”
Author: Isaac Asimov


   
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(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1073
 

Hi ETinkerer

Actually, I've decided to rebuild the DB1 motor controller to use two ATmega328's instead of the Nanos.  I'm also going to be adding a couple of other chips:

  • An EEPROM to save some configuration settings
  • A 3-input OR gate to allow multiple emergency stop inputs

More on this, of course, will be in the DB1 videos/articles/posts, I'm mentioning it because it may be along the lines of what you want to do. I developed code on the Nano's, then translated the design into discrete components.

You could do the same, take an Arduino project and convert it into one that uses the ATMega328.  Even if the project isn't all that useful it would still be a valuable educational experience. 

And you never know when a stand-alone version of the Blink sketch will come in handy!

?

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


   
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(@pugwash)
Sorcerers' Apprentice
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 923
 

Hi ETinkerer

Don't try running before you can walk.

As Bill says hook things up together and see what happens.

After educating myself on discrete components, I started by building high pass and low pass filters and using an old Hameg 312 oscilloscope that I picked up on Ebay for 30 euros, I started by trying to understand what was going on. I then went to over to Op-amps, then I bought an assortment of CMOS ICs and had fun with them for a few weeks, fun but also learning all the time.

There are a lot of simple very basic electrical circuits you can find on the internet, just copy them and try to figure out how they work.

This will help you progress to bigger things.

Steve


   
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(@airbrushed)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 9
 

My initial learning was not formal at all.  I soaked up everything I could as a kid by reading a lot of Forrest Mims' Engineering Notebook series, a couple of the full size books, and a dozen or more of the "mini" engineering books, from 555 timers, Op Amp circuits, IC, and more.  Over time, I had a few breadboards, power supplies, and parts bins full of components for experimentation and prototyping.  Back then, my finished projects were more rudimentary and took up a log more space than todays circuit design programs and services.

Of course, that was in the 70's before the internet made all this information available for free, or at least very reasonable prices.


   
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Dazza
(@dazza)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 49
 

This is an OLD Topic, yet it seems to be the most relevant. In a recent decision someone asked how Electricity works and the old (and wrong) information was presented as facts. 

Electrical Engineers "Lump complicated mathematics and equations together" So we don't have to, and for our projects it's not necessary.

I wanted to Resurrect this topic, in order to expand my understanding.

The 'Recent' Veritasium Video (1 year old now) "How Electricity Works" was based on presentations by Circuit Board Designers

I wanted to Share a Video by the Reference from Veritasium in regard to How Electricity and Circuit Boards move Electricity. 

Rick Hartly - Circuit Board Design

Have you Wondered why Switching Power Supplies are Complicated? Watch the Rick Hartly Video and then Element 14's Video on a SPS

element14presents

These are long videos and IF you have seen them, what other resources do you have to Show Me

Thank You

This One, a long time I have I watched. All this life has he looked away to future, to the horizon. Never his Mind on where he was! what he was doing!
Yoda


   
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