Are Arduino users inheriently stupid?! (basic electronics knowledge)

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. ]]

ArduinoAreForMonkeys: I have my own issues. ...

Yeah. It seems a strange subject for a first Post on the Forum :)

But, hey, welcome to the Forum.

...R

If anyone has any sociological training

Tell me about your childhood.

ArduinoAreForMonkeys: But years on, when they could have greatly enhanced their electronics understanding, they are at the same level.

I really doubt it. Anyone who works with Arduino for year will have progressed greatly in their programming and electronics knowledge. Could they have gone further with a formal education in electronics? Probably yes. Would most Arduino users have spent that time getting a formal education in electronics? No! So they're actually way ahead of where they would have been without Arduino and a small percentage will have found they have a real interest in the field after playing with an Arduino and moved on to get that formal education.

ArduinoAreForMonkeys: 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?

The idea is to make microcontrollers as accessible as possible. If someone only uses that to make a chair that tweets when they fart then that's their choice, they had a bit of fun and maybe that's all they wanted out of it. If you want something different then good for you too but don't assume that someone is stupid just because they have different interests.

ArduinoAreForMonkeys: 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.

I've never once in years seen someone wanting a thermocouple just to detect "hot" or "not hot". Most people are using the MAX6675, which you can buy on a breakout board for $2.53 USD w/ free shipping. I'm sure you could do it better for a fraction of that price but time has value too. This isn't designing for mass manufacture, it's a one off project done in some limited spare time on the weekend. These ICs were made for a reason. The manufacturers invested huge amounts of money designing them and then sold many many thousands, most of which didn't go to Arduino users. Are you going to tell me that Maxim, Analog Devices, etc. and all the people who bought their ICs are stupid?

ArduinoAreForMonkeys: From what I have read over the years here and on that other Arduino forum we hang out on ... *[[ 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. ]]

So you've been lurking on this forum for years, your profile name and only post are insults, you have no interest in sharing your knowledge, and you're complaining about what the people who actually make the effort to help others out are doing?

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Are you upset over non-EE's intruding in EE domains?

From the Real Programmer's Joke Sheet I was given in 85:

Q. How many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb? A. Can't be done, it's a hardware problem!

It's not exactly a new thing. Maybe you forgot and just learned all over! Always know where your keys are? Meet lots of new people lately? Did you get lost?

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Please don't laugh, but the OP has a point, but he is not aware of it! There are people, both young and old, who believe they can intuitively make an idea work is they can just find the magic key.

Both my father and his father, my Grandfather, were sure perpetual motion was a fact, if they could just prove it by making a working model. Grandpa kept at it even though his family was starving and relied on gifts from neighbors. Dad never went that far, but it was always in the back of his mind. I still have some of his drawings and some of the hollow plastic balls he used in trying to make a wheel turn by immersing the balls in a tub of water, with the proper track for them to roll in.

Grandpa only finished the 4th grade, so I give him some slack. Dad started the 9th grade twice, but never went beyond that. He was an avid reader of books, and a fine businessman. Neither man ever did any actual reading or research into any scientific studies relating to mechanics or magnetism.

I see the same mind-set in many of the postings on the forums. I am sure it is not the education system, but something about their personality. Some of it may be due to fear of failure. I am sure that is reinforced by our education system.

Paul

Paul_KD7HB: Please don't laugh, but the OP has a point, but he is not aware of it! There are people, both young and old, who

There is a lot of sense in what you say. But I don't think it justifies the generalizations of the OP. I reckon @pert has a better sense of the situation.

While it has nothing to do with technical competence there are also many people posting questions here who seem to have zero social skills - for example they make no effort to figure out how the Forum conducts itself or what is the most effective way to make use of it. They just barge in and expect to be taken seriously. The OP in this Thread seems to fit that category.

And, to be honest, now that I look at the OP's "name", the subject of his Original Post and the fact that it is a first Post I suspect it is all just a TROLL by someone in disguise.

...R

Robin2: ... just a TROLL ...

And a hungry one at that!

Maybe it was an early APRIL fools joke but the joke was on him by posting it before April first ?

Well, if aafm lives east of Albuquerque, then it was 4/1.

Oooo good catch Chris…still says march on it tho :grinning:

Stamped times on posts are local.

Inherently.

In-hairy-ently.

i started working with arduino at the beginning of medical school (when i was 19) , i learned everything i know about electronics and programming on this forum . now i am working with FPGAs and i am a decent programmer . if one has passion for this sort of thing , arduino boards and this forum are the greatest way to start (that's how i see it) . again it depends on the people and what they want . i used to scroll down on the electronics part of the forum to learn from the questions that people ask , some are almost like 'i am too lazy to learn how to blink an LED so please do it for me !' . some others are willing to learn though !

At one point I would often try to give a complete answer as far as I could but now I prefer to draw the question out in stage so somebody is almost forced to learn.

Unless it is clear its getting beyond the point and they are unwilling to even do simple things like post a sketch or schematic.

Then all bets are off and I can be seen reaching to the bottom of the sarcastic jar even though I want to delve into the "Are you frikken kidding me with multiple expletives attached jar"

I learn on here every day thanks so so many others so sometimes I half expect a PM with one of my own remarks thrown back at me.

Meh. Ignorance, even stubborn, willful ignorance, is not the same as stupidity.

Everyone knows (or should know!!) there's no such thing as a Solid State Relay

Double "meh." There are 8000+ devices at digikey under the heading of "Solid State Relay"; they exist as surely as no one winds their own relay coils any more. I'm not sure what "relay" is supposed to mean, anyway - isn't that just a marketing term as well? And there are monolithic SSRs, down in the small signal range (well, as monolithic as an optocoupler.) (CLA233tr, for example.) To claim that there's no such thing, or that the lack of knowledge that there is no such thing is bad, is just exclusionary nit-picking of the sort that drives people away.

How's your linguistics knowledge? Why do "knowledge" and "college" have different ending spellings when they have the same sound and seem like they ought to be related concepts? I mean, you've been speaking/listening essentially all your life - WHY DON'T YOU KNOW THIS STUFF?!

Everyone knows (or should know!!) there's no such thing as a Solid State Relay - that is marketing terminology. Relays are mechanical.

I'm not sure what "relay" is supposed to mean, anyway...

When in doubt, consult a dictionary. :D

(With just one exception the electromagnetic / mechanical part is optional meaning that "solid state relay" really is a thing.)

Ballscrewbob: At one point I would often try to give a complete answer as far as I could but now I prefer to draw the question out in stage so somebody is almost forced to learn.

Yet more agreement :) :)

...R

amine2:
. some others are willing to learn though !

That seems to be the key !

…R