Electronics From Scratch is Easy

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Workshop: Electronics From Scratch is Easy - a Nottingham Hackspace geek's introduction to electronics and why you can do it!

Duration: could be done in 2hrs.

Many a geek has come to electronics late and thinks that there's just a bit that he/she doesn't get. The subject appears "hard". Why isn't it straightforward like software? Well, the good news is that it IS straightforward and all that is needed is a particular way of looking at things.

This stuff just works but why? An inquisitive mind.

  • Electromagnetic phenomena
    • WTF is electricity? I mean, seriously, WTF is electricity? !!!!!
  • why the correct words are important
    • a common understanding
    • common misunderstandings

Let's look at the "stuff"

  • electrical charge - electrons!
  • static electricity - making it, storing it, using it!
  • experimental science
  • a galvanometer!
  • real world analogies - some good, some bad, but most "good enough"!
    • water
    • air
    • stone
    • movement and potential
  • current - the "flow" of electrons
  • conductivity
  • electrical potential and voltage

The physics and mathematics of electromagnetic flux with Lorentz and Maxwell's equations (and why you can immediately forget this!)

  • maths: too abstract?
    • Euclidean/Greek viewpoint (a love of mathematics and the equations) vs. Babylonian viewpoint (a love of physics and the concepts)
  • Lumped Matter Discipline
    • moving from the realm of maths and physics to the realm of hands-on engineering
    • we use components!
    • Open the black box - take a look - close it forever!
    • as long as we treat these things nicely, everything will work!
    • play, fail, try again!
    • hold on, this is taking too long -- back to the drawing board: we can do it with maths!
 Only after I've attained a visual and gut-level understanding of something, 
 only then is the math useful to me for refining it and adding all the details. 
 However, for me the math alone is not a genuine explanation. 
 Math is just a tool or a recipe, a crutch for those who want nothing 
 except the final numerical result, and it certainly does not confer expert knowledge. 

William Beaty (1995) http://amasci.com/ele-edu.html


  • resistance to current flow - resistors
  • storage of charge - capacitors
  • other forms of impedance and inductance (conversely, reactance!)
  • silicon semiconductors - a diode!
  • valves
  • bipolar transistors
  • building neat things
  • logic circuits
  • bigger and bigger systems
  • ICs
  • microcontrollers/SOCs/computers
  • ferrite core memory
  • supercomputers!
  • ?????
  • world domination!