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Selfish Heathen
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
2008-05-23, 19:43

Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
In my area I use Priest Electronics. I avoid Radio Shack at all costs unless no other option exists and time is critical which is rare. On the site for Priest they list covering the Caraolinas so you might have something local. Plus, with that area being what it is, I find it hard to believe there isn't a good local electronics supplier. A quick Google came up with Allied Electronics. You might want to give them a shot.
Thanks for the pointers. I actually already found Allied Electronics (and it's only a few minutes drive from my home!), but I drove by there earlier to find that it's just a small office with no actual retail setup. Same goes for Powell Electronics, Inc in Cary. I have a couple other places I found from Google, but their locations lead me to believe they'll be more of the same when I get around to driving about town. *sigh*

Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
My biggest tip for you would be to start of with projects and build up from there. As you're doing these things you'll gain the understanding of what is going on. Electronics can be very daunting if you get into the engineering side without a clue. So the quick projects (like your lights here) are a great way to get started and build up from there. You can get projects from the web or book/magazines.
Yup! I remember some, but not all, from an engineering physics class and a circuits class I took at university a few years back. I remember the really basic stuff like calculating resistance, capacitance, Ohm's law, logical gates, etc. and how to properly wire up components on a breadboard, but I know there's a lot more I want/need to learn. Lately I've been following the Make Magazine: Electronics and Evil Mad Scientist Labs blogs for inspiration and ideas.

Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
Sadly, this does seem to be a dying art. I'm sure it because most things are "black box" now. Most things aren't user serviceable and are just thrown away or whole modules replaced rather than repaired. It's a whole lot of fun though, IMO. Especially when you mess up, troubleshoot it, and fix it! I love that victory.
Hear, hear! I did my first-ever desoldering and soldering last night, removing a tiny, crappy mic and speaker from a board and replacing with wires to hook up to my Mac's audio out for recording and wires to a better speaker for output. I didn't quite get it right the first time, but that made fixing it and getting it working right the second time feel even better.

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