So I understand AVR assembly for the most part, and generally understand the overview of microcontrollers. but when it comes to specific components (besides the obvious stuff like resistors/batterys) I dont understand what they do....and more specifically WHEN to use them?

Stuff like Capacitors,Regulators,Inductors,Crystals,Etc

Where can I find a generally overview of When and what these components do? to further my knowledge. I can of course wikipedia the definitions....but I more want to know when I should use these specific things because I figure it's probably a good idea to know more than "what" they are and also What to use...

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can whoever downvoted give some feedback to what @Shauron can do better next time? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kellenjb
    Feb 25 '11 at 22:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ya Im curious about that myself? \$\endgroup\$
    – user3073
    Feb 25 '11 at 23:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't downvote this question but agree that it's not a good question in the spirit of the Stack Exchange community. It is not a specific question with a specific answer, rather than "how do I design a circuit to do X?" its more "how do I find out more about electronics?". To which I would answer: education - courses (evening class through to degree/doctorate level), books, websites, magazines, experimentation - to show how broadly this can be answered. If anyone disagrees, tell us what the one right answer is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Martin
    Feb 26 '11 at 11:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Before you get into active circuits, find a good intro to linear circuits with ideal sources, resistors, capacitors, and inductors (i.e. ask a more narrow question). Move on to diodes and ideal op-amps, and eventually small signal modeling of non-linear circuit elements such as bipolar transistors: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_signal_model. "The Art of Electronics" would be a good book for your "what to use" question, but I wouldn't use it as an intro to circuits. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eryk Sun
    Feb 27 '11 at 17:03

After some searching, I found this site which seems to have a nice level of explanation: http://www.piclist.com/images/www/hobby_elec/e_parts.htm

I personally dont know of a nice, comprehensive book to teach the whole topic, but then it is a huge field and hard to condense. But there is Elektors 300 circuit series, which may or may not be still available. Each book contains about 300 circuits to try out. I learned a lot from these books once I had the basics down.

University of Madras has a lenghty set of lectures on Youtube for that topic. Have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8Dq8blTmSA

There's also a slew of experimental kits out there to teach you. Stuff like http://www.makershed.com/productdetails.asp?productcode=mkgk19 or so.

The bachelor student I am currently responsible for, I introduced to electronics with an arduino experimentation kit. I know I can only teach him very basic stuff, but then he is studying computer sciences, and doesnt need (or have time for) a full blown study in applied electronics.


I recommend the Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think Art of Electronics is a standard and fantastic book, but when I am learning things in it I really think you need to have some training to understand what they are writing. It is very to the point, which if a complete amateur could read it the book would have to be very large with very extended explanation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Feb 26 '11 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk -- I, too, am a non-standard-path learner of electronics, and decided to learn from the Art of Electronics, and I agree with you -- they sort of assume that you are an electrical engineering student; Yet there are so many rules-of-thumb, and so much good information in it, I've just decided to regularly read it and do what we used to call it in college "Learning by Osmosis". \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10 '20 at 21:40

The site All About Circuits has free textbooks about these.


this may help some:





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