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Topic: Is there a good software program to learn electronics? (Read 11 times) previous topic - next topic


A science teacher friend, years ago, was a fan of "Crocodile Clips".

I think that is now....


... where, if you dig, you will find some information about "free for home use" versions. I don't know how knobbled they are. If anyone has experience of this, comments would be of interest.


Reading the ATmega328 manual will also teach you some stuff. Remember that Arduino "hides" stuff from you to make it easier to code. However, if you are really serious about creating circuits and learning electronics, knowing the insides of the chip you are using is a necessity.

Also, if you've only done the blink examples, isn't it a bit early to start making printed circuit boards?
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You might check out www.Electropocalypse.com. It's an iPad/Windows/Mac app for learning and experimenting with electronics in the form of a puzzle game. It covers basic electronics like series and parallel circuits and ohms law. But the great thing is the format--it's all about playing with components and developing an intuition about electricity in a way that books cannot give you. As someone who knows electricity already, some of the harder puzzles are very fun to figure out. For a beginner, this is a perfect accompaniment for a basic electronics book.



Make sure one of things you purchase is a multimeter.

I'd advise making sure it measures current (Amps, milliAmps)- some of the cheaper ones don't. That can be really useful eg when say a servo isn't moving and resetting the Arduino: pop the ammeter into the circuit and realise it's drawing too much current.

Also good on a meter is a "beep" for continuity to save you having to watch the screen all the time, and if it can measure diodes and capacitance that's cool too.

(I'm expecting a bequest from my late Dad's estate soon and I'm going to treat myself to an oscilloscope.....)

I agree on the starter kit- assuming you want to stay with Arduino, and then get other stuff as you go. Say a starter kit has one small servo, that's cool while you learn how to use it. Then only buy more (and bigger, stronger) if you need them for a specific project.

I'd recommend a power supply too: I hacked an ATX from a computer so I have 3, 5 and 12V on tap at the bench. I got the power supply free through a pal- a huge 650W which wasn't enough for a gamer who levelled up to a kW or so.

Tools too btw: you don't really need more than a couple of small screwdrivers (+ and -), pointy pliers and side-cutters.

Get loads of wire: pre-cut breadboard jumpers, male-male longer ones with good connections, and a pile of ones with tiny springloaded hooks on the end. Invaluable.

I downloaded ExpressSCH free to do schematics. Dead simple to use and easy to make custom components. Companion product ExpressPCB. Also look at Eagle.

Really try to go for the real thing not a sim, far more fun and really not that expensive.

Roy from ITCrowd: Have you tried turning it off an on again?
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When I started to learn electronics (still learning but beyond basics now) i found PROTEUS as a very good piece of software. This software is very widely used in engineering studies. Benefits of Proteus include a huge library of components (with actual part numbers like you can find an IC by giving the part number e.g. 4070; tell just this "IC 4070" to an electronics store and he will give you the same IC you used and applied in Proteus). Secondly, Proteus gives good simulation, so that you can test your circuits satisfactorily. Thirdly, Proteus also gives Arduino simulation (though it requires very heavy computer specs). There are many other features. I suggest you should take a look. Just google Proteus.

However, I have also learnt that software simulators may give a good start but real electronics is only learnt by experimenting with the actual things (frying up off course :D), I mean making circuits in real. Proteus can teach you how to read and write schematics but converting a schematic to an actual circuit is also 1 major phase in learning electronics (in my opinion). One problem I faced while using Proteus initially was that I built a circuit in which outputs of 4 gates had to be combined and taken as input to another gate. Proteus simulated it well, everything was working as desired. But when I built the circuit! Crap! I had to realize then that the outputs of multiple gates cant be combined without placing diodes in between. I placed 4 diodes in way and BINGO! Conclusion: Using simulation softwares is a good approach but playing with real components is better! Combining both methods is BEST!

Since I have also been a very fond learner of languages and softwares, I know what it feels when you have to go to market and put money and physical effort in buying up the tools needed, instead of just googling and downloading the required things :D

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