Unfortunately, all I've learnt so far are concepts. I do not know where to start, but I have made a commitment to practically build some electronics. I want to ask where can I learn and acquires the skill. One of the thing that bother me a lot is how those builder could analyze an electric circuit and describe its purpose. What I usually see is a whole set of capacitor, resistor, and some ICs. All I can do with my skill is finding out the Volt, Amp, and all the numbers, but still I cannot define the purpose behind that set of circuit.

What I really want to have is the skill to understand the circuit, in the same way as how my programming skill works. As a programmer, I learn more from browsing source code and actually programming an application than listening in a class lecture. Therefore, I wish for the same experience with electronics.

  1. The book "The Art of Electronics" is said by most people to be about as good an overall practical guide as you can get. Apparently good for beginners on up. So far I have never seen a copy so can only tell you what others say but opinion is almost all very positive.

  2. A good simulator such as LTSPICE will help.

    "SPICE" programs allow you to emulate real world circuits with an accuracy that is usually stunningly good. You can add test points, change components, do what if tests etc. There are many much easier ways to get a rough feel for how circuits work byt a top SPICE program is one of the most effective. The very good ones are also very expensive. But about the very best one is free!. LTSPICE !!! It's a way for LT to promote their products, and it's rolled in with their switching regulator design system - which is not a problem at all. It knows more about their components than others but as a general purpose SPICE emulator it is very very very good.

    See numerous references at end.

    But, there is no substitute for "playing" ...

  3. As for knowing what a circuit does - I just look at it and see :-). ie - like most difficult things in life "ALL" you need is practice, immersion, involvement, reading, playing, building, doing it, doing it, doing it ... . I cannot read music - except to slowly pick out notes on a piano. A guitar is a twangy thing in my hands, a banjo alas is a jangly thing in my hands, a violin a shrieky thing, and a flute and a tin whistle sound too similar when I extract sound from them. But when I look at an electronic circuit it's usually reasonably obvious at a glance what it is meant to do and how and after a little study, how it could be done better or cheaper or just differently. If I had spent as much time with music and instruments as I have with electronics I could probably read music but seldom need to, and play a large range of instruments. Lack of application, immersion and dedication and practice has ensured that all I will ever do is appreciate some music.
    Even this :-} .

Read good books. Get a "breadboard" and some basic parts. Work out what sort of simple circuits may interest you and BUILD them and play.

You can do half of all the things you are liable to want to do wity electronics in the first year of serious playing using only the ICs: LM324, CD40106, MC34063, and a few bipolar and MOSFET transistors and some R's C's and L's.

But, start with "The Art of Electronics".


Getting a copy of LTSPICE and learning how to use it may also transform your life

LTSPICE home page

Getting started

Yahoo Groups LTSPICE page

LTSPICE tutorials

LTS Wiki

More ...

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "The Art of Electronics". A lot of practical circuits with a minimum of math. I just referred to my copy last night when I needed a circuit to generate the absolute value of a voltage. The back cover starts out with quotes from reviews: "The best self-teaching book and reference book in electronics". \$\endgroup\$
    – tcrosley
    Feb 18 '12 at 15:26

When I was young I went to the library and got all bundeled electronics magazine edtitions I could get. I read, read, and read them again, until I could understand the correspondence between the explanation and the circuit diagrams. These days that is much less interesting because most circuits consist of one big IC, but you might still be able to get the old magazines that still used discrete components and TTL ICs.


In addition to all of the great resources listed. I rather enjoy allaboutcircuits.com It covers a LOT of different subjects.


I've learned a lot about electronics using NI Multisim. Decide on a goal you want to accomplish and try to make it using Multisim. You can then print out a schematic and breadboard your circuit, or even order a PCB and make it for real.


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