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One of the issues faced by us beginners is learning the language. All spheres of speciality have their own expressions which, to the initiated, serve very well to communicate complex ideas very efficiently.

So also names of parts. Glossaries work very well. You have the name of a part and need to know what it is or does, look it up in a glossary and you have all the detail you need.

Reverse the process and you are in a bit of a fix. I need a thingy to go between the whatsit and the hoojamaflicky. One way to get around this issue is to have a nice big pictorial dictionary, start at page 1 and go through all 10,000 pages looking for what looks like it will do the job.

Any advice to a beginner as to how to streamline this process? One is to just keep reading and get experience, and build on that.

Specific issue: I have followed the example connected to the TMP36 sensor, this works well. I also read up on how to measure the output from the TMP36 at a distance using a shielded cable. So, what if I want to experiment with unshielded cable, placing the TMP36 more remote from the UNO, one foot, two feet, etc. There has to be a thingy that I can plug the TMP36 into with connecting wires that can be joined to other wires.

Where's my reverse glossary?
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We are your reverse glossary!  Well, everyone else is.  I know exactly what you need but don't have a clue what it's called.
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Where's my reverse glossary?

Part of your problem may be working with parts well beyond your level of understanding.

I originally, after high-school, went through schooling on electronics; this was a year long tech-school course.

We started out with "what is an electron" and moved from there (Grob's Basic Electronics).

Our first parts to "play with" were resistors; we spent a week or so on them. Over time we built up our knowledge; gradually with how resistors worked, how you could measure current, voltage, etc - we built our own multimeters (analog), understanding how each component (and sub-units - like the wheatstone bridge) in them worked, then calibrated them against an analog Simpson meter.

We learned about capacitors, and diodes, then transistors, and coils, and transformers - eventually getting to a point where we built and troubleshooted an AM radio (in true breadboard fashion - brass nails stuck in a foam and cardboard base, with the parts soldered between!), learning how to use o-scopes, frequency counters, etc. We learned what an amplifier was, how it worked, etc.

This led us into digital circuitry, but first we still had a bit more analog to go: we learned about op-amps, and comparators (and how one was similar to the other). Eventually we moved to digital circuits.

Resistor-transistor logic, then diode logic, etc - eventually we got to learn basic digital ICs (74xx series). Over time, we also learned about LEDs, etc. Most of us read our books, some of us subscribed to magazines (I've kept up a Nuts and Volts subscription for 20 years; I've subscribed to Servo Magazine since getting the pre-Servo robotics insert mag with my N&V), we also read books, etc.

Its a learning process, ultimately. You can't just jump in and expect to get this all figured out instantly. Nothing complex in this world works like that. Heck, I'm still learning this stuff and more every day!

So take your time; pick up a copy of the Grob book I mentioned above if you're really serious about electronics. Get some subscriptions to N&V and Servo Magazines (Make is "ok", but they don't go into as deep on theory and such like N&V and Servo does). Look into back issues (online if you can find them with Google Books) of old Popular Electronics and Radio-Electronics magazines. Continue to ask questions as well.

Finally, regarding your question: I honestly don't know if such a device exists - its probably called a line-buffer or something similar, though. It may be that the device is meant to -only- be used with a shielded cable...

 smiley
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Terminal blocks.  

Get some small terminal blocks, that way you can join lengths of wires together to shift your temp. probe further away.
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TMP36 - just outputs an analog voltage, correct?  You supply it with VCC, Gnd, you get Vout back. Reading the datasheet, they suggest several ways to transfer that Vout remotely - convert it to a frequency, some buffering schemes. You could even put an A/D chip with it and read the A/D output serially. Heck, you could even get fancy and try to send it wirelessly - install it in place with a Promini or an ardweeny to sample it with the onboard ADC, and send it out with 434MHz Tx module. On the other end put a 434Rx Module. Could even write in some smarts around it, control some stuff locally if danger conditions start arising.  You haven't said what you're monitoring, so I can only wildly speculate and make incredulous suggesitions as to what might be done :-)

Often, reading the datasheet for the part you want to will provide insights into others uses of a part. Or search for application notes.
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Excellent suggestions, thanks so much.
I think perhaps the ideal resource is hiding somewhere under crosh's beer supply.
I started out many years ago with crystal short wave radio but got diverted into philosophy and languages, you know how it goes. At that time we were just transitioning from valves (vacuum tubes) to transistors, and yes I know what a grid is in a tube context, but it's the modern bits that flummox me. A new challenge...

Good suggestion cowjam, sometimes a person just need a nudge in the right direction.

Crossroads, all good ideas, but a bit beyond my imagination just yet. I'm still at the stage where I manage to have my UNO transmitting so fast on the serial port that I have a hard time getting my revised programme uploaded! That one won't happen again.

By chance I note that the servo that came with my kit (Hextronik 9GR) has just the kind of connector I am looking for. It's a three pin female spring clip type connector. I can probably get them by the thousand somewhere.
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I think perhaps the ideal resource is hiding somewhere under crosh's beer supply.
I started out many years ago with crystal short wave radio but got diverted into philosophy and languages, you know how it goes. At that time we were just transitioning from valves (vacuum tubes) to transistors, and yes I know what a grid is in a tube context, but it's the modern bits that flummox me.

If you have a grasp on tube electronics (sadly, my course didn't touch any of this - so you have that up on me!), more modern components shouldn't be too difficult, I would think.

The book I mentioned (Grob's Basic Electronics) will cover everything you would need to know, and then some likely. It is a college-level textbook, so new editions will be pricey ($100-200.00 USD); look into getting a used older edition.

Another reference I reccommend would be Forrest Mims III's "Engineer's Mini Notebooks" - start here:

http://www.forrestmims.org/

His mini-notebooks used to be sold at Radio Shack, but  are no longer published by them. He has published new editions (or at least I've seen them sold on his website at one time - look around); the older versions can be found on Ebay and other places if you look hard enough.

These "notebooks" are easy to read little collections of circuits; building blocks and ideas for various items, including some notes on how various components and such works. For instance, one of the notebooks is on nothing but the 555 timer, another is on nothing but semiconductors. He also has a few other books available on learning electronics and other topics. Well worth checking into.

 smiley
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The major thing I have learned after asking this question and reading the constructive and helpful responses is that now there is not only a science of what individual components do and how they perform when connected together in groups, but also there is science in how they are connected together.

Many years ago things were massive and soldered together with big blobs of solder. You took connection for granted. But now things are smaller and more sensitive to things like voltage and current and heat. You can still solder, and this is preferred for long lasting and reliable final versions, but spring clip and IDC connectors have made things a lot easier for experimenting and in situations where components need to be swapped out on a regular basis.

A Google search on "electronics ribbon cable three pin female connector" took me pretty quickly to a bunch of resources related to what I am looking for.

Thanks guys, you helped me realize the importance of the "connector" as opposed to what is being connected.
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