I have always been interested in electronic circuits since 3rd grade when we lit a bulb up. I then always wanted to learn more and more. I'm a soft-more in high-school and  it seems like i've it a dead end now. Every thing I build seems to break right after I get it to work and nothing seems to work right. I spend so much time tweaking one little thing just for failure over and over again. My whole room is just a pile of broken stuff that broke/could never get to work. I just seemed to reach a peak. I see a small, fairly simple electrical circuit and trust them that it works, but I don't get what's going on. I get a transistor amplifies but when I see a bunch together to make a circuit, I don't get it and my mind blanks out. I would hope to design my own circuits from ideas, but that I'm even farther. I do have a bunch of books, but those don't even seem to help. I really am passionate about electronic circuits and understanding how everything works but it just seems like my brain has reached a limit and I all of the sudden got stupid and unable to get any more information in there. I spend day after day working on my circuits but It just seems like I am digging on granite with a spoon.

What should I do next electronics wise to go up and increase my knowledge of electrical design? How can I keep my inspiration up and not give up ( it's really getting annoying having a 99% failure rate).

Thanks for any advice and I know this question will get closed, but I am really desperate for help. 

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    \$\begingroup\$ Trial and error really is the best way to learn something, in my opinion. There's nothing wrong with getting nothing to work. Keep trying, and ask for help from a professional you know or a site like this (at least I find your questions fun and inspiring). And as a sidenote, questions like this are best discussed in chat :) (and sorry, but I have to vote to close - you'll understand) \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Jun 23, 2013 at 6:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ It sucks to sit here and say experience will make you better but it really is true. If you keep at it though, earnestly try, you will get better. \$\endgroup\$
    – dext0rb
    Jun 23, 2013 at 7:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Been there too. Everybody starting out in electronics has gone through this stage and even experienced engineers pull out their own hair when they just can't get something to work and every attempt seems to work like a smoke machine rather than the desired result. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Jun 23, 2013 at 8:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't say whether you have a multimeter or not. If not, get one, and use it when repeating the lamp and battery experiements. If you have, repeat the battery and lamp experiments. Figure out why you're getting the numbers you're getting. Then change something, and repeat. To misquote Edwin Land, 'understanding is the sudden cessation of stupidity'. Time and time again I have been bewildered by a new topic, and it's only after working with it for a while does it suddenly click, but you only learn to ride a bike by, well, riding a bike. \$\endgroup\$
    – Neil_UK
    Jan 9, 2016 at 22:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its like breaking a tile with your hand .If you dont hit it hard enough you will just hurt your hand .Hit it hard once and then the tile will break.You are sounding like I was at the ripe old age of 11 \$\endgroup\$
    – Autistic
    Mar 16, 2016 at 11:07

4 Answers 4


If your profile age is correct, then don't worry. You probably already have an advantage over the rest of the people your age who like this kind of stuff.

To understand electronics well, it takes theory and also, experience. Both of which you lack. That's not your fault and and there probably isn't much you can do about that yet. But give it time, and go to university so that you can begin to learn the theory. You can't really knoe all the theory now because the math is above your level. As much as you want to say that you can understand the math, you won't.

For what you can do now, stick to what you are doing. Small circuits here and there, and 'tweak' them as you feel fit. Try and understand why the 'tweak' worked and maybe this site can help you for somethings. But when you start going into amplifiers (small signal stuff), it can be confusing and the math behind it is really just algebra(not hard but can be confusing) and that's where a good sense of intuition would come in to help leviate some of the confusing math and the different modelling methods to figure out input and output impedance etc.

You are still young and have much to learn and time is the only thing that can help you understand.

Keep tinkerin, keep failing, and keep trying


I think everyone, in every field, must have moments that feel like what you are going through.

The answer is "learn from your failures."

If you build something that later fails, determine why. Did you pick a component value that was wrong? Did you use a component that was of poor quality? Was there a cold solder joint?

You have to be able to look at your past work and learn something from it. If you cannot identify what went wrong, you cannot hope to learn how to improve.

The one-word version of all this?


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    \$\begingroup\$ "If you build something that later fails, determine why." + do something to prevent that mistake in the future. That's all it takes to get very good at - well, every intellectual field! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2013 at 8:44

I am starting my first job as an Electrical Engineer, and let me tell you. When I was younger, (your age, and even older), NOTHING I built worked. I'd get stoked about an idea, throw something together, and it wouldn't work. As you get older, you'll have access to more (and better!) equipment, knowledgeable people around you, and tons of resources. I'd be proud of how passionate you are, and trust me, It'll pay off. Keep plugging, keep building, and keep thinking big!


Don't be discouraged! But understand there is a big difference between building stuff and designing stuff. The learning curve for building is a lot shorter than for designing it. It's not uncommon to be frustrated. You can't expect to completely understand a complex circuit just because you've built and played with a smaller version. There are a lot of subtle aspects to electronics that takes years to understand and then usually years more to master.

You are at a natural point in the learning cycle where building small things that work for a while is no longer fun. You're ready for the next level. Building something that is rugged and solid takes another skill set. Getting to the point of designing and building complex and reliable electronics is an even longer term process.

Don't worry if you feel like your brain is full. It isn't but you might be a bit burnt out and need help or a break before getting to the "next level". When we are working long hours in the lab we have a saying that quitting time is when things are breaking faster than we can fix them. And as you move along in your skills you'll find things tend to work better and better the first time you turn them on and lab hours shrink.

Give yourself a break. I'm sure you probably have 10x better skills than peers your own age. Just keep at it and don't let it get too you -- if it wasn't hard everyone would be doing it.


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