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Where will the future inovators learn the basics?

blankscreen

Active Member
I'm approaching 63, as a young kid i can remember the 1st house in my street to have a Tv, Then eventually we got a Tv but the kids dare not touch it.

Electronics did then what steam did for the industrial revolution, gadgets started ti appear from fridges to hoovers and twin tubes. Then things started to get smaller, initially smaller valves in radio's and Tv's then the transistor appeared, i think my older brother was one if the 1st to by a cassette recorder.

When. got interested in electronics you could by magazines like 'Every Day Electronics', these mags had simple designs along with the theory, so you mess about changing values experimenting to observe the results. I moved on to using IC's simple amps then logic, this self teaching has stood to help me make a fairly good living as i have made designs and sold them for prophet.

My concern is the simple building blocks i had and learned a lot from are not as readilybavailable, and today might have little value, off the shelf you can buy most any circuit needed ready made, so how will we innovate and produce those new ideas? if not now, in the near future?
 

MIghtyG

Well-known Member
I'm approaching 63, as a young kid i can remember the 1st house in my street to have a Tv, Then eventually we got a Tv but the kids dare not touch it.

Electronics did then what steam did for the industrial revolution, gadgets started ti appear from fridges to hoovers and twin tubes. Then things started to get smaller, initially smaller valves in radio's and Tv's then the transistor appeared, i think my older brother was one if the 1st to by a cassette recorder.

When. got interested in electronics you could by magazines like 'Every Day Electronics', these mags had simple designs along with the theory, so you mess about changing values experimenting to observe the results. I moved on to using IC's simple amps then logic, this self teaching has stood to help me make a fairly good living as i have made designs and sold them for prophet.

My concern is the simple building blocks i had and learned a lot from are not as readilybavailable, and today might have little value, off the shelf you can buy most any circuit needed ready made, so how will we innovate and produce those new ideas? if not now, in the near future?

I would think today its easier than ever, with the internets online learning sites and cheap components from places like RS its simple and cheaper than ever to have a go if you are interested in it! :thumbsup:
 

blankscreen

Active Member
MIghtyG said:
I would think today its easier than ever, with the internets online learning sites and cheap components from places like RS its simple and cheaper than ever to have a go if you are interested in it! :thumbsup:

the internet offers obvious advantages, but nothing like the experience of practical assembly and that feel achievement and success when a project works, it drives you on to learn more.

while you can order components from suppliers and larger stores of Maplin's, i used to go to electronics shops like Tandys, Henry's Radio and Radio Hospital, not only did they supply the components but staff tended to be enthusiasts which could often offer a nougat of helpful information.

Humans usually learn new tasks a bit at a time, as example you don't just walk up to car and drive it perfectly, look inside a 747 cockpit and know all the switches and gauges. I learn best using small building blocks, today anyone starting would have to use much larger building block. my first 'success' was a one transistor oscillator, i paid as much for the one transistor as you could pay for a 741 op amp having many times more transistors. then came logic gates.
 

MIghtyG

Well-known Member
the internet offers obvious advantages, but nothing like the experience of practical assembly and that feel achievement and success when a project works, it drives you on to learn more.

while you can order components from suppliers and larger stores of Maplin's, i used to go to electronics shops like Tandys, Henry's Radio and Radio Hospital, not only did they supply the components but staff tended to be enthusiasts which could often offer a nougat of helpful information.

Humans usually learn new tasks a bit at a time, as example you don't just walk up to car and drive it perfectly, look inside a 747 cockpit and know all the switches and gauges. I learn best using small building blocks, today anyone starting would have to use much larger building block. my first 'success' was a one transistor oscillator, i paid as much for the one transistor as you could pay for a 741 op amp having many times more transistors. then came logic gates.

When I worked at Maplin we used to sell starter kits that did just that, teach the basics and build things up. Also, allot of the staff I worked with had degrees in electronics and electrical engineering!

The internet is a massive, free resource which can help people learn the basics and the theory. Then cheap components from the likes of RS and Maplin can allow us to put it into practice.

I think the real death of the home tinkerer is there is so much else to do but you still get them, from the people who build fission reactors in their sheds to the people who develop little programs which are snapped up by developers or even blossom into their own ventures like Facebook.
 

liamt

Distinguished Member
as said i guess the internet is a great source. not sure on it bringing in people.

when i was young 2 men inspired me, johnny ball and johnny morris. im not sure kids have people like that these days.

stuff like this would have amazed me when i was young:



rodan coil. levitating and electricity from magnetic flux. its the future maaaaaaaaaaaaan :)
 

liamt

Distinguished Member
When I worked at Maplin we used to sell starter kits that did just that, teach the basics and build things up. Also, allot of the staff I worked with had degrees in electronics and electrical engineering!

The internet is a massive, free resource which can help people learn the basics and the theory. Then cheap components from the likes of RS and Maplin can allow us to put it into practice.

I think the real death of the home tinkerer is there is so much else to do but you still get them, from the people who build fission reactors in their sheds to the people who develop little programs which are snapped up by developers or even blossom into their own ventures like Facebook.

and there was a lot less to do in the 80s ;) so many distractions for kids these days.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Look at the Raspberry Pi - a very open platform.
liam - very true about distractions.
 

logiciel

Moderator
I posted to ask about a couple of things that looked like spell-checking gone wrong bu then caught on to what they should have been.:blush:
 
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eob

Well-known Member
I think that kids today have an inherent technical ability.
I have three boys under 8 and the way they pick things up is amazing.

I'm very technical and have quite a few gizmos that they are hands on with.
I think that will form the basis for the future innovators.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
When. got interested in electronics you could by magazines like 'Every Day Electronics', these mags had simple designs along with the theory, so you mess about changing values experimenting to observe the results. I moved on to using IC's simple amps then logic, this self teaching has stood to help me make a fairly good living as i have made designs and sold them for prophet.

It's just a bit more spread out, the instructions are no longer in the same publication as the inspiration:

Hack a Day
 

blankscreen

Active Member
those interested, Maplin's sell very good cheap CAD package's called Live Wire and Circuit Wizard. they allow you to test your circuit designs, have virtual instruments such as twin trace scopes, variable power supplies and a decent component library, once done you can auto place and produce pcb designs.

grandkids have fun running designs in real mode where components explode if reversed or stressed, allows them to see direction flows, measure in circuit current and voltage's.
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
It's just a bit more spread out, the instructions are no longer in the same publication as the inspiration:

Hack a Day
HaD is a great site, really enjoy reading it. A friend introduced me to it a few years ago
 

Foebane72

Well-known Member
When. got interested in electronics you could by magazines like 'Every Day Electronics', these mags had simple designs along with the theory, so you mess about changing values experimenting to observe the results. I moved on to using IC's simple amps then logic, this self teaching has stood to help me make a fairly good living as i have made designs and sold them for prophet.

Wow, are you the Mohammed of Electronics? :rolleyes:

Sorry, couldn't resist. :D Kudos to you, man! :thumbsup:
 

Foebane72

Well-known Member
I learnt electronics (as much as I could as a kid) with this:

200in128249.jpg


It came with a large manual explaining all the individual components on the board, followed by 200 circuits you could build with them, with wiring instructions which varied on the complexity of the circuit.

It came in quite handy and was a lot of fun, but I inevitably blew the lamp and LEDs by using too much current to them after a while.

Also, the information might be on the internet, but how accurate is ANYTHING on the internet compared to a published paperback book? :thumbsdow

And magnetic levitation? Almost as bloody awful and bad as perpetual motion machines. You don't want to get my Doctor of Science father started on those... :rolleyes:
 

technoman28

Well-known Member
I can see where the OP is coming from, as I built a few things when I was younger, usually stuff that made noises. It does give you an understanding of what an individual component does and how they work within a circuit, but I think that nowadays we expect stuff to be able to do a lot more than just make a noise or flash a light bulb. To do that, inevitably, the circuit has to be a lot more complicated, and is hard to manage without using chips rather than good old fashioned resistors and capacitors etc.
I believe that these have had to be made so much smaller to be able to fit them into a circuit board that can actually fit into a bit of kit without ending up the size of a wardrobe.
The basic principles are still the same though, it is just that the components have been shrunk to such an extent that you can now fit millions of them on a single chip that will sit on your finger tip, and as there are so many components on a chip, I don't think you could physically sit down and design anything like that on a sheet of paper, so you need to have a computer to design one, granted by telling it what you want. By designing more powerful systems, you are in effect giving yourself the ability to design even more powerful systems.
To give you an idea of this in practical terms, think of this:

John Peel's record collection is legendary, he needed a massive room to keep it in, some sort of indexing system to know where a certain peice of music was, and equipment to actually play the record. You could now have all his music, indexed and ready to play at the touch of a screen complete with liner notes and other info, and all this fits comfortably in your hand. All achieved with the original electronic components we used to go and buy, but on a microscopic level.
 

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