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I'm currently in an "Information Technology" program, and this program includes some electronics courses. So, I know a little bit about voltage sources, current sources, resistors, capacitors, inductors, operational amplifiers, basic first-order filters, and soon I should know a little bit about diodes and transistors.

In class, we hear some theory. In labs, we play with oscilloscopes. And these things are all fine and good, but I'd like to building something.

I'm tapping you fine folks for resources, simple and informative beginner's projects that will help me learn these topics more solidly. Start me with educative tutorials on blinking lights and finish with educative tutorials on line-following robots (or something like that). I'll emphasize that the recurring theme is 'educative'.

I want to make it clear that I do not come from an electronics background. (I just pretend like I do when I'm at school.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/4287/… might help. Not really an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Dec 19 '10 at 19:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you going to have much time for hobby circuitry? I certainly didn't. Make sure you don't compromise your studies, even though I agree that a hands-on approach is a better way to learn, it can't keep up to the fast pace of many classes. \$\endgroup\$
    – tyblu
    Dec 19 '10 at 20:07
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You've come to the right place to find out! It's a good idea to search for previous questions. One trick is to click a tag, like [beginner], then organize the returned results by clicking one of the headings:

about the beginner tag | faq | top users | hot answers | new answers | synonym

Clicking "hot answers" gives a bunch of results, of which these look promising:

In my opinion, digging into one of the Arduino kits is a great way to learn electronics. You have to work on fundamental electrical issues, like which way to plug in an LED and what value resistor to use with it, at the same time as successfully using a complete microcontroller implementation.

Here's another great project to get you started, with plenty of got'chas and complicated electrical schtuff, Adafruit's Mintyboost. It is a boost regulator, which is much more complicated and exciting than those linear regulators. Understanding how this project works will leave your classmates in the dust, and is essential knowledge later in your career (as a professional or hobbyist).

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What do you mean "Play with oscilloscopes"? If you're saying that you're demonstrating your filters and voltage sources with input from a function generator and output to an oscilloscope, you should be aware that this is a lot of what analog electronics are about. Packaging some variation of the circuits you've built with a speaker or antenna and battery isn't a very big jump.

If you're more interested in blinking lights and robots, you need to get out of your analog classes and take computer engineering classes in digital design, embedded systems, the C programming language, etc.

Analog and digital are two very different domains.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You definitely understood what I meant by "Playing with oscilloscopes". And there are some digital electronics courses at my school. In fact, we were required to take a basic digital circuits course at the start of the 1st year, but at this point (mid-way through the 2nd year) we haven't had any other digital electronics courses. However, from what you're mentioned, it looks like digital is where I want to go. thank you, very much. \$\endgroup\$
    – equine
    Dec 20 '10 at 11:55
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You might be interested in finding a hackerspace near your school and seeing what projects people are working on there.

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