Author Topic: I want it in my mind !!!  (Read 2299 times)

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Offline methicalTopic starter

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I want it in my mind !!!
« on: December 16, 2008, 09:33:16 AM »
Hello guys.

A few months back, i made a post about suggestions on a good starting project. I had some good feedback and started on my way. Sadly it was then i found that i am even more of a noob than i first expected. My aim (overall) is to become knowledgable about all elements of electronics.  Being new to the scene i dont know how realistic this is but untill i am educated otherwise that's what ill aim for.

My question to you guys is, where the hell do i start ?  Id say the extent of my electronics abilities extend to installing a dimmer switch in a conventional light socket  :o

I find myself thinking:

  • I wish i could create something that would close my curtains once the room reaches a certain light level
  • I wish i could attach a switch to my Xbox 360 controller that would instantly invert the right-stick controls
  • I wish i could create a monitoring system where by i could stick RFID stickers to objects such as keys, wallet, phone and a computer program would tell me how far away from the 'sensor' each item is (and in which direction would be a bonus)
  • I wish i could create a robot that would drag my dogs food bowl out of one 'dog-proof' room and into a position in the kitchen at certain times of the day

And many other things...

My point is, how do you guys get to the state of mind where by you see something like, say, point 3 on that list and think instantly. "Ah yes, you will need a RF280i micocontroller and a F56x10 oojamaflip along with a FX91xxxii  thingy-ma-whotsit"

So where is a good starting point in terms of subjects, books, internet resources, people to kidnap to begin to learn the ways of micro electronics ?

I mean, how in the world did this guy figure out how to do this [youtube]http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0awjPUkBXOU[/youtube]

And how can you, one day, go from having never seen an xbox 360 controller one day to sitting down and writing http://www.jwarburton.com/mt/tech/2006/09/xbox_360_firmware_flash.html. Not that i approve of such actions on xbox's but never the less, its still an awsome demonstration (in my view) of being able to transfer abstracted knowledge into real world scenarios.

I hope i have got my point across successfully and hope equally that it is recieved well. Thank you for your time on this matter in advance.

Offline ArcMan

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 09:57:55 AM »

Offline izua

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 10:41:15 AM »
You basically use those chips. They're like legos. Expensive legos.
Check out my homepage for in depth tutorials on microcontrollers and electronics.

Offline Admin

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2009, 07:34:12 AM »
I'd say start with my $50 Robot. Most electronics circuits today are built around microcontrollers, and the $50 Robot is easily modifiable and upgradeable.

Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2009, 09:14:10 AM »
You basically use those chips. They're like legos. Expensive legos.

well, lego are more expensive.... :P

But... I've been programming for 4 to 5 years, I started basically when I was 14 and now I;m 18...
It takes sometime to learn things are you see, at a hobby level...
Now, I'll be studying the next 6 years electronics, as I'm in the physics department of my university....
Well.... It takes time.... :P
You won't just awake one day and say hey! I know electronics..... literally...



BTW.... I really don't like your signature....
Helps me figure out that you just doing adv......
For whom the interrupts toll...


P.S. I've been inactive for almost a year... Don't give promises but I'll try to complete my tutorials. I'll let you know when..

Cheers!

Offline pomprocker

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2009, 11:13:11 AM »
Thats the same book I was going to recommend.

They sell it at radio shack. I found it in the Aisle with the component drawers

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3433933


Forest Mims' books got me started in electronics.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=forest+mims&sprefix=forest+mi


Offline methicalTopic starter

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 06:02:47 AM »
Thank you kindly people.

I decided to look at the contents of those books you suggested and try and read up on them using Google. Managed to do it quite well. Learnt about the general idea of main components and how to calculate simple things. Think im probably going to go to Maplins (UK equivalent of Radio Shack i think) and buy a book so i can get some hands on experience at actually building these things.

Once again, thank you for the push in the right direction.

Quote from: TrickyNekro
BTW.... I really don't like your signature....
Helps me figure out that you just doing adv......
If you were correct you would have recieved 100 pm's by now along with most other on this forum. Id also have ALOT more than about 3 posts that i have made on this forum.  I just like free stuff thats all and assume that someone who reads it will also.

I actually value the knowledge held within the members of this forum, truly.

Offline airman00

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009, 06:49:48 AM »
he justs wants a referral from it.

also, knowledge grows exponentially. Start small and then learn how to do more and more
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!


Link: http://curiousinventor.com/kits/roboduino

www.Narobo.com

Offline Soeren

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2009, 10:44:41 AM »
Hi,

I find myself thinking:

  • I wish i could create something that would close my curtains once the room reaches a certain light level

That would be a reasonable and doable project to learn from.
Best way to learn is getting hands on experience while reading.
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline SmAsH

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2009, 04:31:40 PM »
i can think of one that could close the curtains when it starts getting bright? or for the opposite you could do something with a photocell?
Howdy

Offline HDL_CinC_Dragon

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2009, 04:44:06 PM »
i can think of one that could close the curtains when it starts getting bright? or for the opposite you could do something with a photocell?
Either way you could use a photocell. A photocell just changes its resistance by how much light hits it. What you do with that new voltage after the voltage drop is entirely up to you. Typically, the brighter the light, the less resistive the LDR is. So you can convert that to a digital signal using A2D on an MCU and have the MCU do something when the light level drops below a certain level or rises up to a certain level.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 04:44:41 PM by HDL_CinC_Dragon »
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Offline paulstreats

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2009, 08:27:54 PM »
I always think that it helps to learn about the physical properties of electricity.

such as "what actually is electricity"

"why does it move through a wire"

"how does it move through a wire"

It does involve a bit of atomic theory dealing with copper isotopes and free electrons but the value of knowing what electricity actually is far outweighs the time taken to learn about it.

Yea you can read a lot of books on components and circuit designs and stuff but you never find out why the circuits work from a fundamental level, but trust me knowing how electricity moves will open your eyes

Offline HDL_CinC_Dragon

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2009, 10:02:22 PM »
Paraphrasing my not-yet-acquired electrical engineering degree studies a little bit:
Electricity is the difference of potential between two things. Think of it as having a fish aquarium that has a water tight divider in the middle. Lets say one side of the aquarium has 5 liters of water in it and the other side has 2 liters of water in it. The difference of potential is 3 liters or if it was electrical charges the DoP would be 3 volts (Voltage and Difference of Potential are pretty much interchangeable words). Those 3 volts want to run to the other side to the lesser side of potential. Notice that when the divider is in place, you still have that difference potential of 3(3 volts). You have 3 volts but nothing is flowing. There is no current. You have a current of 0mA. Voltage is present despite there being no current. Thats an important detail. Now lets say you pull the divider up just tiny tiny bit just enough so that water is flowing. Lets say that there is 3milliliters(mL) of water flowing from the high potential side to the low potential side. If they were electrical charges you could say you had 3 milliamps of current and 3 volts.
Enter "Power". Power is the ability to do work. Power in an electrical circuit is found by multiplying the current by the voltage. The unit of power for electricity is Wattage or Watts. 3v at 3mA is 9milliwatts(mW) or .009Watts. The divider could be called a resistor and depending on how big the opening is, the resistance will increase or decrease. Resistance is the opposition to the flow of electrons. The bigger the hole or gap in the divider, the lower amount of resistance there is. The lower the resistance, the more current that can get through. The more current you have, the more power you have for the same difference of potential!
Now technically an electron doesnt actually mosey its way on down a wire. Instead electrons are actually big lazy jerks that push the guy next to them until suddenly everyone is falling into everyone else until the last guy falls off the cliff. With difference of potential, there is a side that has lots of electrons(the negative side) and a side that needs electrons really badly! When you hook a wire between the two sides, its the electrons' job to go from their spot on the negative side. But of course they dont feel like walking all the way down the wire to get to the positive side so instead they stand in their spot at the back of the line and push really hard to create a domino affect and the electron that was first in line trips into the room on the positive side.


Thats electricity in a very small nut shell... Hopefully I didnt make a weird typo in there that makes the whole thing not make sense... im way to tired to be trying to rprintf from my internal memmory to SoR via UART... Im pretty much near brown out voltage. Hopefully I wont go into full black out until im situation in my charging stationnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...
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Offline paulstreats

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2009, 10:54:01 AM »
I was thinking more of say how the electrons are shared and transfered between atoms and why.

A copper wire is made of millions on millions of copper atoms. These atoms can support what are known as free electrons (meaning they can be taken away and the atom will still be copper). So if 2 copper atoms are next to each other and 1 of them has a free electron then which does it belong to? it could belong to both or just 1. By providing a more positive charge near 1 or the other will cause the electron to shift to the atom closest to the positive charge. So copper along with other conductors have potential to share electrons. if a positive charge is applied to 1 side, the electrons experience a net drift towards it using the atoms as a means of travelling. Copper atoms can support a lot of free electrons and so it is a good conductor. Atoms that cant support free electrons or only support a few are either non conductive or a bad conductor.

Ive tried finding a graphical example but this is the closest I could find http://www.ndt-ed.org/EducationResources/HighSchool/Electricity/freeelectron.htm

Offline frodo

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Re: I want it in my mind !!!
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2009, 10:59:43 AM »
nice physics lesson, paul.  :P
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