Reply-To: "Kevin Aylward"
From: "Kevin Aylward"
References: <3DC282F0.firstname.lastname@example.org> <3DC2E327.email@example.com>
Subject: Re: how to master electronics, use of transistor, op amp...?
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1106
X-Inktomi-Trace: public1-pete2-5-cust19.pete.broadband.ntl.com 1036191167 24108 18.104.22.168 (1 Nov 2002 22:52:47 GMT)
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 22:52:46 -0000
NNTP-Posting-Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 22:52:47 GMT
> Kevin Aylward wrote:
> > "Wafer" wrote in message
> > news:3DC282F0.firstname.lastname@example.org...
> >> Being self taught, I certainly have a bias that would saturate
> >>transistor, but for me, all the book knowledge I have turns pale in
> >>comparison to actuall hands-on experience. If you ask me, it depends
> > on
> >>whether you want to write about theory, or actually build stuff. I
> > tend
> >>to design entirely functional devices without ever drawing a
> >>or picking up a calculator.
> > This is novel. I am certainly sceptical that you design significant
> > circuits without a schematic. Very, few of us have the mental
> > such as Steven Hawking that allows 100 pages calculations entirely
> > their heads.
> >>I usually only draw a schematic to aid in
> >>the design of the PCB itself (and to save the design for later use).
> >>Seeing it on paper, colleagues tend to get quite frustrated because
> > they
> >>can't explain why it works, no matter how much math they put into
> > Usually, a circuit that cannot be understood with a reasonable over
> > look, is a poor circuit. A good design is always simple, and easily
> > understood.
> >>Note that I have tried designing on paper first many times. However,
> > it
> >>is not nearly as much fun, nor does it (hardly ever) yeild a result
> >>which will hold up under actual tests.
> > I agree, a pure in depth mathematical design is usually not possible
> > complicated circuits, however, again, other then for the likes of
> > Hawking, I simple don't believe any expert can design a competent
> > circuit without at last sketching out the main blocks.
> >>I find it only useful up to a
> >>certain point. Eventually, there comes the time to "just do it", as
> > that
> >>sneaker company slogan states.
> >> Theory is, after all, just theory. Nothing is perfect.
> > Correct theory already *includes* the fact that components are not
> > perfect, and that there are often unknowns. The reality is, is that,
> > example, i.c. design, first pass success on complicated analogue
> > circuits are not at all unknown by the use of correct simulation
> > techniques and models.
> >>There is
> >>always a better way to accomplish something, and those who can think
> >>outside the box have the best chance at innovation. After all,
> >>innovation is, by definition, something new. You don't get that by
> >>following the "textbook examples".
> >> I should also point out that aptitude plays an important role
> > here.
> >>If you don't "have it", you ain't gonna get it. You can't learn to
> > have
> >>talent for something.
> > I disagree. Talent is for the large part, hard work and introduction
> > the discipline at an earlier age.
> > Its all waffle, for example, to suggest that there is such a dubious
> > quality as "Star Quality", for the most part, anyone can be a good
> > actor.
> >>Fortunately, genetics *usually* insures that we
> >>enjoy what we are good at. Hence the saying: 'Do what you love, and
> > love
> >>what you do'.
> >>**awaiting many flames**
> > Indeed.
"Wafer" wrote in message
> Please don't confuse skill with talent. Skill is acquired over
> and involves much work and effort, while talent is there from the very
Unfortunately, if one actually takes the time to study what "talent"
actually is, one might be quite surprised.
I agree, that talent manifests itself early on, and this explains what
it really is. A result of nothing more then being introduced to things
when you are very young. It is not something you are born with. It is
something that is acquired, for the most part. I certainly agree that
there are genetic traits, but the differences, in general, are not
enough to account for the differences in "talent" observed.
>However, lets not get tied up with semantics. I suppose I
> should have also pointed out my obsession with electronics. Even
> I could walk, I was so drawn to it that I would crawl up to outlets
> experiment with anything I could get my hands on (and of course was
> repeatedly picked up and moved by those pesky things known as
> 'parents'). When I finally got hold of the right objects (hair pins),
> the sparks flew, and so did I (more of a convulsive bounce, really).
> This ignited (pun intended) my imagination and I could NOT be stopped.
> was driven, and will always be.
I would hazed a guess here that certain key things occurred in your
early life were associated with electronics. In my own case, whilst my
father was only a dabbler, and was actually in white collar management,
he fixed tube TVs as a hobby. I use to watch him when I was about 4 or
quite fascinated. I must stress here though, at no time did my father
constructively try to aid my interest in electronics, but nevertheless
by the time I was 11 or 12 I had built quite a few bits and pieces.
> I cannot explain why, nor can I explain why my brother can paint
> portraits and entire landscapes with astonishing perfection, while I
> can't get my hands to draw anything past a stick figure.
There is nothing mysterious about this at all. Its all quite explainable
if you look deep enough. Have another think on the problem.
He always had
> this ability.
In fact, he didn't. He learnt it. Early researchers used to have this
idea that putting a French baby in a room with no instruction, it would
naturally learn French on it own. Surprise, surprise...
>Of course, learning to tap into the talent evolved over
> time, but it came with little more than just "letting it out". He was
> drawing accurate, detailed pictures of various aircraft at about 3
> old. There is some price to pay for him as well though, as electronics
> and computers baffle him completely (he's the guy looking for the
> I would have to say that since Stephen William Hawking concerns
> himself with theoretical physics and such, he may not be an
> example of someone who would (or could) design an electronic circuit
> his head.
This is totally beside the point. The issue I was presenting was one of
concept, not content.
>Besides, it's not a matter of mathematics, or some enormous
> number of calculations. Rather it is something which I actually find
> difficult to put into words. I just do it.
In fact, the thought process of electronic design, is quite explainable,
have actually done so on occasions in the NG.
> Indeed, you would probably get a similar response from talented
Unfortunately, most talented musicians are not like myself, that is
skilled in music, but also skilled in human behaviour and what makes
them tick. Musical talent, is like any other, quite explainable.
Why do I make Eric Crapton look like a schoolboy with regard to guitar
ability? The essence is, again, being introduced to concepts at such an
earlier age that it becomes part of your basic programming. Indeed, if a
child is a little shit at 3, he will usually be that way for the rest of
his life. One needs to teach them good behaviour, as earlier as
In my case, my dad used to play this little chord organ, and by elder
brother use to have a guitar when I was eight. This sparked my interest,
so I become quite reasonable on the guitar by the time I was 11 or 12.
At the age of 44, I'm stunning....
And why could my father play the organ, well, no surprise here, his
mother could play, and they had a piano in their living room...
> Of course, you have to
> know how to design a circuit in the first place. Also, I'm not talking
> about the computer core of the Starship Enterprise. Although I don't
> have trouble understanding digital technology, my main focus is on
> analog circuits. My last creation entailed a bit over 400 components,
> both analog and digital, and I actually haven't gotten around to
> a schematic for it yet. I designed the PCB with occasional glances at
> the mess of breadboards.
In all honesty, if I had someone laying out a 400 component board
without a schematic, I would probably give him the sack.
Any one can piss about and get basic ideas vaguely functioning. This is
of course, of zero practical value in a commercial enviorment. A decent
design usually involves a thorough worst case analysis of all important
parameters if it is to be a reliable and successful. There are simple
too many things that can go wrong.
> To give an example, and to address your "simplicity" argument, I
> once met with someone (who shall remain nameless) who was given the
> of coming up with a solution for a particular problem. After five
> of government funding, super computers, charts, graphs, calculations
> theory, he asked me for assistance. I'm sure he also wasted as much
> as possible with acquisition forms and such, but with the pile of
> I was handed, someone had obviously done at least something. Anyway,
> this engineer was certainly able to prove the theory behind the whole
> thing, and kept insisting on pursuing what was obviously a dead end.
> components just didn't behave like that. Furthermore, the end result
> supposed to be a small, simple to use device, requiring only basic
> knowledge to operate (he intended to "scale it down later"). Much to
> dissatisfaction of said engineer, I handed him his notes and told him
> would try something different. Two days later, I handed the physical
> specs for my prototype to the fabrication facility, which they then
> on for a day, and only finished after I stood behind the guy and told
> him where to drill. On the fourth day, I handed the engineer my
> prototype, theory of operation, and instructions on its use. The
> required nothing more than a single op-amp, and a formula similar in
> complexity to ohm's law would provide the user with meaningful
> His first reaction was shear delight, followed by something along the
> lines of "This is too simple. Do you know how this makes me look?"
Look, there are quite a few dudes in these NG that keep comparing
himself to other dudes that were obviously one sandwich short of a
picnic, and claim how great an improvement their approach was. However,
do you really suggest that this has any real significance?
> At any rate, the bottom line is that if it does not come easy, it
> most likely is not within you, and you will not excel. However, you
> probably get by if enough effort is applied. This approach would, in
> opinion, yield an unsatisfying vocation. This is not to say that there
> are only two extremes. There are varying degrees of talent in each of
> us, and for different things. The key is knowing what your natural
> talents are before getting caught up in all that the world offers us.
> Sadly, most people never find out, or by the time they do, it has
> latent, stagnant, and hard to recognize and kindle.
> One last thing: Nobody can "master" electronics, or anything else
> for that matter.
Well, not really. Being a Master or an Expert, does not mean that you
know everything about a subject. It is simple a recognition that one
knows significantly more then the norm, and consequently an
acknowledgment of how little you really know.
> You will always be improving, and there will always be
> someone who is better at it than you.
Indeed, however I have yet to meet him.
SuperSpice, a very affordable Mixed-Mode
Windows Simulator with Schematic Capture,
Waveform Display, FFT's and Filter Design.