So you want to learn about electronics.

I receive lots of emails from visitors to this site asking about how they can learn about electronics.  Their goal is usually wanting to learn enough to work on their vintage audio equipment.

There are several schools of thought on how to about learn electronics, some believe that that you must start at the beginning and learn all of the basics then move forward to more complex topics.

Another way to learn electronics is to choose a topic that has an interest to you and learn about it.  Your curiosity will lead you to more topics and and more investigation and your education will bloom.

I think that either way will work and I have done both methods myself.  For the absolute beginner starting at the very beginning will be the easiest way to build up some knowledge before moving forward.

A very good book to buy and work through is Understanding Basic Electronics, by Walter Banzhaf.  This book will introduce your to the most basic concepts of electronics like AC and DC Circuits, Ohm's law, Energy and Power and Active and Passive Components.

Understanding electronics includes using math to calculate information, this book has simple formulas and easy math.

One thing you will notice when you begin working through the book is that it was written for the Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) student.  To be a licensed Ham Radio Operator you are required to have a basic understanding of electronics.  Because of this requirement the Ham Radio community does a lot of education in electronics.  Don't be concerned that you don't what to be a Ham, you will be able to use everything you learn from this book.

How much you learn about electroincs depends on exactly how much effort you put into your quest for knowledge.  Don't expect to troubleshooting dead amplifiers after the first month, education is a life long process and if you have curiosity you will always find that there is more to learn.

My high school electronics teacher used to have this quote on his classroom wall:

                                         "Enthusiasm is no substitute for knowledge"

Learn all that you can and remember, you always learn the most form your failures than you do from your successes.


Videos are here

I've started making some videos of the project I'm working on.  I hope this will make it easier for the visitors of this site to learn and understand what I'm working on.

Making videos while working on project adds another layer of complexity to what I'm doing and it will take some time for me to workout all the kinks.  

Any comments and ideas are welcome and helpful.  I have added a Video Tab to the header of each page  so the videos can be accessed in a larger format than their imbedded version in each journal entry.

I hope you all will like the videos.


A Marantz Model 1200 was delivery yesterday

Mid summer is usually a slower time for my audio pursuits, work at the shop is busy and I can't seem to find the time for working on my audio equipment.  I guess that's why my fall and winter project list grows and grows during the summer.

Yesterday a future project was delivered in the form of a Marantz Model 1200 Integrated Amplifier.  Cosmetically it's a very nice unit, the face plate is clean without any real damage.  This 1200 was sold as "not working" because the fuse holder is broken.

Upon inspection is a very very original 1200, which means it will need a complete going over before it can become a daily driver.

There's only one sign of previous work having been done to this 1200.  A yellow wire has been clipped from the relay board and then resoldered back in place. 

A closer look at this 1200 will happen soon.  Ahh, another winter project.

See all of the 1200 pictures.


Independence Day 2012

Independence Day usually starts with my towns locale parade and it takes something really special to out do a parade.  A ride on a live steam train will out do a parade any day.  This 4th of July we were invited to ride on the Niles Canyon Railway 4th of July train and enjoy the picnic afterwards.

The ever expanding railway runs between the Niles district of Fremont and now just to the edge of the Castlewood area of Pleasanton.  They are working with the Pleasanton merchants to bring the trains into downtown Pleasanton.

All aboard was at 9:30 and for the next 3 hours we chugged up and down the rails in all its steamy fun.

After the picnic as we headed towards home we passed the Sunol Water Temple Park.  I remember visiting the water temple when I was in grade school, looking down into the depths of the temple where the water from 3 sources were mixed together before heading off to San Francisco.

A few years ago the temple was completely restored and I have wanted to visit it again.  Every time we passed by the park it was closed, but yesterday the gate was open!  The temple is cool and old and sits in the middle of what was once a black walnut orchard.

Looking down into the temple it wasn't nearly as deep and scary as I remembered from that field trip decades ago. 



Good Music in San Jose

On the way back from the Monterey Bay Aquarium I was going to be passing right by Streetlight Records in San Jose. Streetlight Records is right off the freeway and such a delightful detour shouldn't be passed up.

While the store isn't much to look at from the outside, inside is full of all sorts of treasures and fun things to look at.

In the corner there's a fiberglass “Doggie Diner” mascot head which is truly awesome.

This is from a local restaurant chain that's long gone, but I remember them from when I was a kid. The heads are very collectable and there's one person that has 3 of them. He made a special trailer for them and drove them across the country and made a documentary about it, very cool.

I went in with Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Clash in mind and left with mint copies of AC/DC Back in Black and The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet.

Hopefully it won;t be another year before I get back to San Jose and Streetlight Records. You can sign up on their web site to receive their weekly email which has local events and weekly special coupons for their stores.