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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...

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  • \$\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
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    \$\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
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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.

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I recommend the Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill.

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  • \$\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
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The site All About Circuits has free textbooks about these.

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this may help some:

http://www.opencircuits.com/Components

and

http://www.opencircuits.com/Basic_Circuits_and_Circuit_Building_Blocks

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