Hyperbole and generalizations aside, I honestly don't mean that to sound like a flame or to be aggressive, it is an actual question that's bothered me more than I care to admit.
From what I have read over the years here and on that other Arduino forum we hang out on, it seems that the many of the devboard user types have zero education or experience with electronics when they start, but never pursue picking up any later on. Literally nothing. Which is fine. But that they continue tinkering, constantly without the desire to understand what they are doing (beyond a circuit functioning) just astounds me.
I do appreciate that devboards like this make electronics approachable to people who want to, but are intimidated or otherwise find the math and the learning curve daunting. We all (heart) Massimo. And those people get to see results without a lot of work on paper & calculator first. But years on, when they could have greatly enhanced their electronics understanding, they are at the same level.
I thought the idea here was to ignite the spark, and set something into motion. But things don't always turn out as we expect, I guess?
Here's a great example: On this forum, type in "thermocouple" - lots of users, newbie to veteran, want to find ways to interface thermocouples to Arduinos*. And 98% of the time, in every single thread over a decade, nearly every suggestion is about buying an IC to do it for you. I don't know what else to call it, but it's so basic a task... it's just...
The VERY FIRST CIRCUIT you are taught in middle school electronics is a voltage amplifier. Right after the first week of explaining what passive components are. The very first active circuit anyone ever builds is a common emitter voltage amplifier. Single transistor, inverting.
It's ESSENTIAL! You learn, in that one day, about bias, voltage dividers, phase, gain... I mean it's literally the most important step to a future in learning - and actually understanding - electronics.
If you just need to detect "hot" or "not hot" this might be all you need. $0.10 worth of components. This in itself isn't enough to make an accurate sub-degree stable thermocouple amplifier circuit, it needs to be a little more complex - but not so complex that you need to buy a $10-20 IC.
Yet Arduino types just seem to want to skip all that. It seems it goes: (paraphrased) "I need to do this and this and this and this, so how do I do that?". And someone posts a response, usually another like-minded person, and they run off to copy exactly what that person told them. No comprehension of what they are doing. Don't know, don't want to know. Just make it work! Please!
I won't say it angers me when I read all these posts, but it's like a professional racer seeing some clown with more money than sense, hop onto the track with the "hey I drive every day, how hard can it be?" mentality... it's anger, amusement, concern, disdain... it's complicated.
I have my own issues. I mean, Why is this constantly on my mind? Why does it bug me? Let's skip that part for now. So, my inner armchair sociologist ponders: Is it by the nature of wanting a pre-made universal demo board like the Arduinos et al? Is it because most of the Arduino types are more software-oriented than hardware, and this just isn't in their realm of desirable knowledge? (I've discovered that's likely "no" - those types tend to go for Raspberrys and Beagles.)
I like analogies to help comprehension. So here's a tangential one: Everyone knows (or should know!!) there's no such thing as a Solid State Relay - that is marketing terminology. Relays are mechanical. SSRs a an optocoupler and a triac, packaged separately since they do eventually fail, in an industry standardized form factor. Prior to someone seeing a profit motive, we implemented MOCs and triacs on-board, the same way you do any high-current transistors. That some younger engineers never think of them as their individual components anymore is expected and normal, just like opamps. That is not the same thing as I am describing above, but I will argue the point if anyone cares to.
No, what I am describing is... intentional ignorance? I thought at first it was skill set overload; eg. "I'm a sysadmin I just need some DIY hardware for this one thing, and I'll never think about it again." I guess that is possible. But the types I am referring to are still going, 2, 5, 10 years on. Then I thought it was just a product of our immediate gratification world, then just laziness, but it's more than all of that. I wouldn't be surprised at all to discover it's something to do with human nature and it's been part of us for centuries.
If anyone has any sociological training and can explain this phenomena I'd love to hear your take on it.
And thanks for reading.
*[[ PS: No I will never post a discrete thermocouple amplifier comparator circuit, simply because certain people would just implement it without wanting to understand it. And for some reason that bothers me. ]]