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Mumbai, India
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I'm pretty new to electronics as a hobby.
I've tinkered with some basic electronics kits since when I was 11, like clap switches, radio transmitters.. They never explained how all this stuff actually worked. I only soldered the parts as shown in the diagram.. and the thing finally just worked. So now I can solder and identify resistors by colour codes, but actually "know" little else about circuits and practical electronics

Now, I'm just out of high school where I learnt abt resistors,capacitors, diodes, transistors, RC & LCR circuits, recitifiers, oscillators... etc.. in great detail but all mostly only in theory (mathematical treatment with calculus)

Apart from that I can program in C++ (I won't be so foolish as to claim "I know C++") and PHP..

So all that said, If I really want to get started in the world of electronics, would Arduino be the best place to start?
I don't want to be someone who's just copying and pasting code or simply replicating circuits from diagram/instructions without actually knowing what's going on inside..
Is it too high level (High level as in C++ is to assembly language) ?

« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 03:20:42 pm by flak » Logged

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It'sa great place to start. Little hardware, little software, some nice tutorials out there, some good project books to start building up to harder projects (sparkfun tutorials, Earthshine, EvilMadScience, all that stuff GrumpyMike has on his website for inspiration). Some insight here that can lend a helping hand ...
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 08:22:18 pm by CrossRoads » Logged

Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
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Simple answer is yes, an arduino is a great tool to use to continue your learning journey. Low entry costs, lots of user support to help sove problems or share ideas. All open sourced so you can dig down as deep as you want or need to, or just use it as a quick to implement platform for supporting your projects.


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Arduino is for everyone!! I wasn't sure at first, but I don't regret getting a starter kit. Sure, it wasn't that cheap (£70, approx $100), but it is well worth every penny!!

Give it a go, you WILL love it!
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Quote
Is it too high level (High level as in C++ is to assembly language) ?
C/C++ are not very high-level languages.
Certainly they're a little less verbose than assembler to achieve the same ends, but they're still very close to the machine - it is exactly what C was designed for (easy porting of operating systems)
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So all that said, If I really want to get started in the world of electronics, would Arduino be the best place to start?
I don't want to be someone who's just copying and pasting code or simply replicating circuits from diagram/instructions without actually knowing what's going on inside..
Is it too high level (High level as in C++ is to assembly language) ?

You're in high school so basically you don't have a lot of responsibilities like marriage, work and house maintenance.  Apart from homework and SAT scores, this is the time to learn what you want to learn.

If you can't make it with Arduino, you have other options like Microchip but they basically make it easy for you to learn so that if you can't learn here, you can't learn it much elsewhere.
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I think you'll learn more about the practical application of real world electronics from tinkering around with Arduino on your own than you would from many college classes, or even military training courses.  I say that as someone with 25+ years experience fixing electronics in a wide variety of industries. I've seen lots of techs come straight out of school with a degree or certificate with no real practical experience - myself included.

I was fortunate enough to be able to "intern" alongside a few different brilliant electronic engineers and experienced techs along the path of my career to help me out in that aspect. The Arduino community is like have a few dozen at your disposal - wish it had been around when I was your age.

My only advice would be - it's up to you to make sure you're not "copying and pasting code and circuits."  Even though you may start out copying and pasting, if you take the time to try and understand what you're copying and pasting, it will pay off in the end.

Also keep in mind that copying and pasting - particularly here - isn't all that bad. A lot of circuits have been designed and proven over the years, there is no reason to have to reinvent the wheel yourself.
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Thanks for your replies..

I got a Freeduino with a Atmega-328 yesterday

Looking forward to learning and having fun with it!

I also got a breadboard, a bunch of LEDs , 7x5 LED Matrices, piezos for a drumkit, 4051s and 595s and an assorted resistor pack .

I managed to modify the default sketch so that it now blinks the onboard LED alternatingly with an external one.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 03:07:23 pm by flak » Logged

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I manged to modify the default sketch so that it now blinks the onboard LED alternatingly with an external one.

Good for you! This is the kind of thing you need to do, to incrementally advance your understanding, and spur yourself on to try more advanced things.

Something I do want to make sure about: You do have a current limiting resistor between the digital output pin and your external LED, right? If not - you -must- put such a resistor in place, in order to avoid damaging the pin on the Arduino due to excess current being pulled by the LED. The onboard LED already has such a resistor in place (however, IIRC, you need to put such a resistor in place if you are using pin 13 for something external).

Good luck in your new-found hobby!

smiley
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Yes, I did connect a 470 ohm resistor in series  smiley

The person at the store didn't have any specs at all about the LED.. Most of the the people on the net seemed to be using 220 to 400 ohms for single LEDs. So  I went with 470 ohms just to be safe.

Thanks for the tip though; I thought that the worst possible thing that could happen was burning up a LED -- didn't know I could lose a pin on the arduino !
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One more thing to remember - You are learning three things at once: Electronics, Programming and sometimes mechanical.  It is a little more involved than just computers here.  So you have to expect to put in a little more effort.
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