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  1. #1
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    Default How did you get started .....

    Just wondering how most people here got started in Electronics/Programming.

    It is very apparent from some recent posts that some newbies seem keen to use PICs for all manner of tasks but dont seem to have a basic grasp of either electronics or writing programs.

    We have seen large chunks of code posted that have just been copied from somewhere else on the internet and there seems to be an assumption that doing that will magically alter the code so that is will work in the new application.

    In my case, my interest in Electronics predates my interest in any form of programming by at least 10 years as there wasnt anything that required programming when I started !!!

    I used to buy loads of electronics magazines every month....

    Everyday Electronics
    Practical Electronics
    Electronics Today International
    (when they used to be 3 separate publications!)
    Electronics and Music Maker
    Electronics (The Maplin Magazine)
    Elektor

    .... yet in over 30 years and hundreds of magazines I dont think I have built more than 2 projects as published and even they were subsequently "enhanced". Instead I used the articles as a basis for what I needed and learnt how to adapt the circuit to achieve what I wanted.

    My first venture into programming was BBC Basic....

    10 For x = 1 to 10
    20 Print x
    30 Next x

    ...and then gradually working through the commands in the user manual. Although I did a small amount of PIC programming in Assembler I much prefer the ease with which tasks can be achieved in PicBasicPro.

    Again I learnt VB, ASP, PHP, Javascript, PBP by first looking at examples and tweaking them slightly to achieve different things before moving on to writing code from scratch.

    I guess that many of the regular problem solvers on the forum have probably followed a similar course for the development of their skills but wonder why newcomers seem reluctant to try things for themselves.

    As far as I am aware, no one has yet posted asking for code to control a Nuclear Reactor so there is very little to lose from experimentation. Its a racing certainty that the code will crash many times in the beginning but that is how you learn what works and what doesnt.

    Realistically the worst that could potentially happen is that the magic smoke could escape from some components but then most of use have done that many times already.

    So, how did everyone else get started ?????
    Keith

    www.diyha.co.uk
    www.kat5.tv

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    I started buy looking at what my father did. Thereafter he learned me Ohm law and resistors color charts (when i had 6-7 years old). He buyed me a Radio Shack 200-in-one kit. I blow almost everything in, then he learned me how to change the parts on and how to test them.

    1982-3-4,
    1. learning how to program in Basic on Texas instruments TI99/4A, Vic20, Commodore 64, Commodore 128, TRS-80, TANDY1000.
    2. Build my first DJ Mixer (kind of) +Power amp in a wood enclosure mostly by using Junk-Yard parts
    3. Refurbishing old Turn-Table to have 2 to begin mixing
    4. build my first 110-Vac light chaser + audio trigger with auto-volume control + 3 different pattern with 74xxx TTLs + MOC 3010 + TIC 246 Triacs
    5. Build the next version of that chaser but using the Printer PORT of my VIC-20 and the joystick port for the audio trigger
    [*]GWBasic and DOS on 8086/8088[*]CPM on Z80 based system

    1990-1994
    1. learn VisualBasic, C++, C, Visual C, Cobol, Pascal, Fortran
    2. Build my first lab PSU (which i still have) named IL3U (instrument lab 3 utility) +12,+5,-5,-12,+Variable, -Variable, + Tone generator (Square, Triangle, Sine) TTL out, Variable Offset, Variable gain, -20Db switch... around that crappy ICL8038 + audio amp
    3. Electronic college... Telecom
    4. university... which i gave up because it was pointless and annoying to me to learn those unusefull and brain filling Maths+Trigs+Chem+etc etc etc

    Later i work as
    1. car accessories installer (amp, Car starter, alarm, radio etc etc etc).
    2. car audio repair and car radio decoding.
    3. Chief tech for rental department for Solotech here in Montreal. Pro-Audio
    4. Start my own on-the road car radio repair/decode + cluster + PCM + BCM + etc etc etc
    5. Introduce electronic Design/mod
    6. EOT

    And i skipped many things none electronic related.
    Steve

    It's not a bug, it's a random feature.
    There's no problem, only learning opportunities.

  3. #3
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    Smile How did I start out or how to start out? This is for the Newbies on the forum.

    How did I start out or how to start out? This is for the Newbies on the forum.

    Why am I qualified to speak on how to start out. I graduated from the school-of-hard-knocks. I am now working on an advanced degree from the same place. I built my first computing machine in the third grade in 1967. From my 18 year I am paid well to design electronics. I tough myself this industry.
    I started out with Radio Electronics and Popular Electronics magazines along with all the Ham Radio magazines. Later Byte magazine came out. I built a project from the magazines every month, then modified it. Those magazines are gone and Ham Radio is nothing now. Get these magazines below. Read every article. Search the web. Buy kits! Take night classes. Read data sheets. Buy books. Experiment, try again, build, build, build and never give up. Use every forum. Ask questions. Get a development board and program it. Don’t let an old goat with 10 or 20 years experience put you down. Get up and find another way.

    What drives the old goats creasy is then Newbies do not read the manual. Many Newbies want the answer given to them when a little digging will solve the problem.

    Now for the old goats like me; think back to when some one said to you “this is a resistor”, “that is an OR gate” or “For-next-loop”. I have been passing out too much help on the forums. From now on I will try to give out the tools to find answers, and less answers. Lets all take a Newbie under our wing in memory of those who helped us.
    Very simple. http://www.nutsvolts.com/
    Very complex. http://www.circuitcellar.com
    Simple. http://www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/

  4. #4
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    I've always been interested in how things worked and even at a young age of around 10 I was playing with lousdspeakers and wiring up extra speakers to my parents gramaphone !

    I left school in '78 and went into an electronics apprenticeship - In 1981 I purchased my first computer, a Sinclair ZX81 (think it was sold under the Texas brand in the US) in kit form... I learnt BASIC (well Sinclairs version to start with) by spending hours typing in the code for games and applications printed in magazines, and then working out how to debug the problem when it wouldn't work due to a typo in the magazine !

    I came back into electronics around 5 years ago when I wanted some flashing LEDs for a model helicopter, and ended up discovering the wonderful world of PICs. Put off by not being able to understand or follow Assembly, I opted for programming in BASIC and ended up with PBP as it follows and resembles the BASIC programming language I used with computers.

    I still class myself as a novice in PIC programming, and I do agree with the comments about newbies, which is why I only post a plea for help after I've already tried to write my own code and have breadboarded the hardware.. I found that this has earnt me some respect from the seasoned users of PBP and have forged some good frendship from this forum by doing so. Having said that, often pointing a newbie to the datasheet is a waste of time as I still find them printed in a language I don't understand... it could be Klingon for all i care !!

  5. #5
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    My parents messed up and bought me a Radio Shack 150-in-1 kit back in 5th grade (1979). Played with that for a couple of years, along with tearing other stuff apart to make other stuff not in the book...of course along the way, I didn't know that I didn't know what I was doing.
    Before that I was always drawing stuff out on paper...go-karts, airplanes, trying to build soap-box-derby cars. No money at the time, too young to care about the future, etc.

    Summer of '81, relatives bought me a Tandy MC-10 (6803 CPU if I remember right). Learned how to program that, tried to run other stuff off the cassette port motor relay (not knowing that I could burned out the board on the MC-10).

    Got to 7th grade and discovered the Apple II, II+, IIe series of computers. Learned how to program them... walked around school with these huge ARRL books under my arm trying to learn electronics...but again, no money to buy stuff and play around. Then I discovered the Tandy Color Computer II. Learned to program that in Basic as well as assembly (anyone remember EDTASM+?). Tried to build an extender card to run some of the signals out of it so I could play around. Burned up that system board. Got another CoCo2, max'd it out on options (including the whole DS9 (?) operating system,etc.) and decided since I burned up the previous board, I'd concentrate on programming. Stayed with both Apple and CoCo basic and assembly until I graduated high school. Joined the military, got trained in aircraft avionics, although I didn't learn anything in tech school because I had already read all about it in books during the previous 6 or so years.
    Got stuck in a rut of drawing stuff on paper, wishing, dreaming, etc, until '98. I finally had 'spending money' and I finally bought my first 'real' PC (Windows 98/98SE/ME, etc, Celeron 300->450, etc. with all of the goodies at the time, 2x Voodoo2 cards SLI'd, huge 40GB drives, 20x CD, etc).
    And about 3 months after spending that $3000 on the latest and greatest PC stuff, I bought a Warp13a programmer, a few PICs, PicBasicPro, some breadboarding supplies, generic pieces/parts, etc. and started on my MP3 player project. I jumped right in, bought all of the parts to build the player with the intent on building a player and only a player. I didn't do the blinky light thing specifically...well, I did, but it was more of a consequence of not being able to get anything to work and figuring out that I had to start slow and work my way up.
    Which is exactly what I tell the nubs' that show up here wondering why their latest combination toaster/oven/converter/spacecraft/player/television doesn't want to work and they've only been into PICs and PBP (or electronics) for the last 15 minutes.

    Start off slow, blink a light, show your name on an LCD, push a button, a light comes on, read an A/D converter connected to a pot, etc.etc. Jumping in wastes money (about $700 in my case!).

    That's my sad sad story...
    Oh, and I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't have a single piece of paper in a nice frame on my wall... College-shmollege, what a waste of money... (and I'm sure there's a lot of people in this hobby and on this forum that don't have a degree from the University of Anywhere...rock on!)
    Last edited by skimask; - 23rd March 2007 at 21:59.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by skimask View Post
    Oh, and I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't have a single piece of paper in a nice frame on my wall... College-shmollege, what a waste of money... (and I'm sure there's a lot of people in this hobby and on this forum that don't have a degree from the University of Anywhere...rock on!)
    If we all thought like that there would be no professionals in the World. No Doctors, no competent engineers, everything all nice and "slap happy". Great World that would be. The scariest part, you seem quite proud about not having a formal qualification, and you're even encouraging it.

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    Hi, Jackson

    You do not like those lines ... but they're the truth !!!

    Teachers only can teach what they hardly could understand ... the problem is here !!!

    I had few teachers that learnt me useful things :

    1) To be happy to learn ... to read,read,read and read !!!

    2) To get off books or lessons and try to understand what really happens ( maths are the tool to SIMULATE the world ... never forget that !!! )

    3) That other peole would have done things THEIR WAY ...and not mine,wich is, of course, totally stupid.

    4) To listen and not hear what others say ...

    5) There are always many solutions for a problem ... that depend upon the day,the hour,people around you,amount of coffee drunk ... etc,etc.

    Yes, I can tell what you learn at school or university is a main function of your teacher's intelligence ... not their knowledge.

    Alain

    Thermics, Thermodynamics and Aérodynamics Engineer ( W/a real State Diploma !!!)
    Mechanics, machining (?), and mechanical design sup tech Diploma.
    And some little others ...

    And who learnt electronics and a little informatics by himself ...
    ************************************************** ***********************
    Why insist on using 32 Bits when you're not even able to deal with the first 8 ones ??? ehhhhhh ...
    ************************************************** ***********************
    IF there is the word "Problem" in your question ...
    certainly the answer is " RTFM " or " RTFDataSheet " !!!
    *****************************************

  8. #8
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    Thumbs down Ease up on whatever you're on

    Quote Originally Posted by Acetronics View Post
    You do not like those lines ... but they're the truth !!!

    Teachers only can teach what they hardly could understand ... the problem is here !!!

    Yes, I can tell what you learn at school or university is a main function of your teacher's intelligence ... not their knowledge.
    What a load of kacka.

  9. #9
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    Uhmm interesting.. Im sure there was a post here from Mel stating how good her life is having graduated witrh honours.... She probably had so many proposals of marriage after that, that she deleted the post

    I'm not going to take sides in the debate over gaining qualifications or not is a good thing. However if you look back several decades the old practice of passing on skills by being a "mate" with a seasoned tradesman was the only way skills were kept going. These days its easy for anyone to spend a bit of time with their nose in a book and then sit an exam and scrape through with a pass and then demand a high paid position, yet in practical terms they have very little experience of the real world.

    Like most people of his generation (he is now in his 80's) my father left school with no qualifications, just a basic maths and english. Before he retired he worked for a large drug maunfacture, mainly in the warehouse and could advise anyone who asked exactly the quantity of bottles, even pills that were on the load by working itn out in his head. I remember he told me how "he could do it quicker than any of these kids coming out of university could, and they resorted to calculators".

    I admire all those that, like Mel have worked hard studying and are now reaping the rewards, and able to have a lifestyle only some of us can dream of. Its always worth having a qualification that you can fall back on, but I don't think that its right that people like T.Jackson should come down on Skimask so heavily... I don't see him as advocating that people shouldn't go to uni, more that he is proud to be in a position he is in without having to through what others have. I also have no formal IT qualifications, yet I'm holding down a job that pays the average IT salary in the UK and have demonstarted that my experience has out performed the person they previously employed, who had an MCSE !

    The answer here is that its all down to the individual

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    Hi, Malc

    I remember this post ...

    We were joking about people offering Mel a dinner in town ... without talking Electronics or business !!!

    ...

    Alain
    ************************************************** ***********************
    Why insist on using 32 Bits when you're not even able to deal with the first 8 ones ??? ehhhhhh ...
    ************************************************** ***********************
    IF there is the word "Problem" in your question ...
    certainly the answer is " RTFM " or " RTFDataSheet " !!!
    *****************************************

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.Jackson View Post
    What a load of kacka.
    Easy answer too ...

    The harder the falling ... read you next time with pleasure in a couple of years.

    What about building some electronics till then ???

    Alain
    ************************************************** ***********************
    Why insist on using 32 Bits when you're not even able to deal with the first 8 ones ??? ehhhhhh ...
    ************************************************** ***********************
    IF there is the word "Problem" in your question ...
    certainly the answer is " RTFM " or " RTFDataSheet " !!!
    *****************************************

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by malc-c View Post
    Uhmm interesting.. Im sure there was a post here from Mel stating how good her life is having graduated witrh honours.... She probably had so many proposals of marriage after that, that she deleted the post
    I'm glad you saw that as well, I was begining to think I had imagined it !!!

    I'm not going to take sides in the debate over gaining qualifications or not is a good thing. However if you look back several decades the old practice of passing on skills by being a "mate" with a seasoned tradesman was the only way skills were kept going.
    To a certain extent I think the lack of formal qualifications has a lot to do with age. I left school in 1976 and hardly anyone went to university and the first time I came across a "computer" it was a teletype connected to the mainframe at Norwich City College.

    I worked for British Telecom for 29 years including a full apprenticeship but I dont actually have anything on paper. As part of our appenticeship we took a City and Guilds course in Telecommunications which for the first three years included four subjects....

    Mathematics
    Electrical Principles
    Telephony and Telegraphy
    Computing

    ... to pass the exam you had to have Maths, Electical Principles and one of the last two subjects. The final year of the course was day release rather than a 16 week block release and there was only time for three subjects so Computing was dropped as BT (or Post Office Telecommunications as it was then) would only accept a pass in Telephony and Telegraphy. At that point I sort of lost interest especially as it was a 15 hour day including travelling

    During the remainder of my time with BT I did loads of internal courses and aquired a great many skills but you dont get bits of paper that have any recognised qualifications on them.

    I admire all those that, like Mel have worked hard studying and are now reaping the rewards, and able to have a lifestyle only some of us can dream of. Its always worth having a qualification that you can fall back on, but I don't think that its right that people like T.Jackson should come down on Skimask so heavily... I don't see him as advocating that people shouldn't go to uni, more that he is proud to be in a position he is in without having to through what others have. I also have no formal IT qualifications, yet I'm holding down a job that pays the average IT salary in the UK and have demonstarted that my experience has out performed the person they previously employed, who had an MCSE !

    The answer here is that its all down to the individual
    I fully agree. I wish I had been born 15-20 years later so that I would have had the opportunity to go to university but it wasnt a common thing to do when I left school. you just got a job with an apprenticeship and stayed there until you retired..... then the world changed !!!
    Keith

    www.diyha.co.uk
    www.kat5.tv

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.Jackson View Post
    If we all thought like that there would be no professionals in the World. No Doctors, no competent engineers, everything all nice and "slap happy". Great World that would be. The scariest part, you seem quite proud about not having a formal qualification, and you're even encouraging it.
    I need to clarify a bit...(and keeping it short, things to do, things to break)
    Oh yeah, I'm proud...Proud of the fact that I was able to teach myself...that I didn't have to have another person(s) teach me...that I was able to save all that money for something else...
    It's just that I've met a lot of people with degrees of one sort or another that don't know their head from a whole in the ground. I'm sure a lot of people have met those people.
    School doesn't teach what's needed to be known, it only teaches a person how to learn.
    How many parents do you know that have formal qualification to raise children?
    How many people do you know that have any sort of formal qualification to have a computer and have access to the Internet?

    I guess in the end, I'm just saying there's a lot of dumbasses with degrees that don't learn anything else when they get out of their happy little University study arena...maybe just a plain lack of common sense in general...

    That and the family not having a lot of extra $$$ for college back in those days kinda put a damper on it too...
    And where did that post from Mel go?

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    Hello All,

    I have been enjoying reading this particular post. But, you know what gets me? All of the university/college students that are taking the engineering courses and are suppose to be learning and yet they come to this forum, the EDAboard.com, and the other electronics forums looking for assistance with "What should I do for a project?" or "How do I do this?" Of course my real favorite one is "I need to get this done in two days, can you help me?" What the hell are they going to and paying for college for? I like the responses that people like Skimask has been providing-"Show us what you have done so far by providing us with a schematic and code listing so we can assist you."

    I personally have nothing in my education to talk about. High school graduate, Army, work to support wife and kids. I do attend alot of job related seminars and technical courses. I get an idea for a project and I sit down and work it out. I have been "playing" with electronics since the 6th grade when my dad brought me an Allied Radio catalog home and I bought and built a shortwave radio kit. I'm 60 now! I am proud of my accomplishments being in the alarm business for over 32 years and that I am respected here in Ohio in my profession. I have given back to my industry by teaching classes for 8 years to new people coming into this profession. I still enjoy passing on my knowledge as in Ohio we have very little regulation with educational requirements for this business.

    I feel honored that the main people on this forum are willing to take their time to assist us with our problems. I read this forum twice a day. This is my source of learning! I have noticed over the past 6 months that there are more questions being asked that could have been answered by reading the previous posts and responses and then working their problems out. I guess they don't have much patience. (Remember the medical engineer last year?)

    I actually collect these various posts and have them in files on my computer that I refer to when I encounter a problem or get ready to do another project. I have offered my knowledge here several times in the past but it seemed like I was talking to a brick wall so I don't contribute that much anymore (too frustrating) but I am here every day as I enjoy learning. My main area of interest is in dealing with real time clocks and using them to control things.

    Well I've got to get back to work. Thanks for the great people on this forum and keep up the great work!

    BobK

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    Quote Originally Posted by skimask View Post
    And where did that post from Mel go?
    The Forum was upgraded ... no mail kept from previous dates ...

    Alain
    Last edited by Acetronics2; - 25th March 2007 at 18:03.
    ************************************************** ***********************
    Why insist on using 32 Bits when you're not even able to deal with the first 8 ones ??? ehhhhhh ...
    ************************************************** ***********************
    IF there is the word "Problem" in your question ...
    certainly the answer is " RTFM " or " RTFDataSheet " !!!
    *****************************************

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    Default Whatever you do - do it well...

    I think they meant Saturdays post Alain - I deleted it. It went a bit too far revealing what on reflection should have been kept private.

    The basis of it was this... that a good University Degree (coupled with the fact that the holder of such actually deserves it) is pretty much a passport to earnings which will be in the range of 2x to 20x above the average throughout the whole earnings life of the holder. That alone is worth the few years of sacrifice.

    I fully agree that experience also counts. There are many first class engineers, architects, lawyers, whatever, walking the planet that haven't got a piece of paper to their name. But they acquired their knowledge through (in many cases a lifetime of) experience. Like I said in my original posting, I'd rather have the goodies in life when I'm young enough to enjoy them than when my pension cheque is dropping on the doormat, and my Uni Degree was my fast-track in achieving that.

    I also fully agree that there are hordes of people with various qualifications (including University Degrees) that don't deserve them. They get found out eventually and end up learning to speak the immortal lines "Do you want fries with that?".

    But as I also said previously, if you know your stuff, that little bit of paper will guarantee you earnings that even your local Drugs Baron would be envious of.

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    I started when i was 10 year old (1975), with GWBASIC and small timer 555 based project from Electronics For You.
    now i manufacturing loadcell, pressure sensors, LVDTs,torque sensors, and peak hold instruments.

    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanie View Post
    The basis of it was this... that a good University Degree (coupled with the fact that the holder of such actually deserves it) is pretty much a passport to earnings which will be in the range of 2x to 20x above the average throughout the whole earnings life of the holder. That alone is worth the few years of sacrifice.
    Cant disagree with that and IF I was about to leave school this year instead of 31 years ago I would definately be planning on going to University but as I said in one of my previous posts, it simply wasnt an option for someone leaving Secondary School with CSE's in the mid 70s.

    It does seem though that many of the newbies posting are on University courses but dont seem to have any real background in electronics or programming so it makes you wonder why they are on the course that they are.

    So far, the people who have replied who have had little or no formal education have indicated that one of their hobbies was electronics whilst still at school. I would imagine that anyone undertaking a university degree in a subject that they dont appear to have had any prior interest in is making life even more difficult for themselves
    Keith

    www.diyha.co.uk
    www.kat5.tv

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    This has become a very interesting topic. Education and how one got or gets started in computers and electronics.

    I am on both sides of the fence when it comes to a formal education. I do not have one and I am chief designer for the company I work for. My son is using a lot of my money and his time going to school to “learn” what he already knows or can lean from reading the instructions that comes with the part. Computer Science / Information Technologies is the degree he is working on. Now days though he will need that magic paper to find work in this field.

    I started playing with electricity when I was about nine. My father (who did not complete high school ) showed me how to take some soup cans, wire, varnish, a few magnets and a piece of dowel rod – say the magic words and presto my first motor!!!

    In high school was building car radio amplifiers to make a few bucks. At this same time I was introduced to an Apple. Became discouraged with computers soon after. Why take hours to write a logarithm or inverse square program when I could work the problems out on paper in a few minutes. I will stick with hardware.

    About ten years ago, after using relays, transistors, timers and other parts to make things move in sequence I bought my kid a Basic Stamp. Then I bought one for myself and started to study.

    Today I am building industrial robots and am able to monitor them from hundreds of miles away!!! All with the dreaded computer.

    My advice to the beginner would be to learn the hardware first. Make an LED blink with a transistor, capacitor, and resistor first. Play with a 555 timer, hex inverters, op amps and so on. Read yourself to sleep with a Micro Chip data sheet, read every thing you can find, put on some safety glasses and blow a few parts. Try to find out for yourself what does and does not work. If this is more than a hobby work on getting that “piece of paper”.

    By the way Melanie, you have not told us how you got started.
    Dave
    Always wear safety glasses while programming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mackrackit View Post

    By the way Melanie, you have not told us how you got started.
    Dave mate, your a bit late.. she deleted her post as she felt it gave too much personal info... (Visions of her changiing her Porche for a Farrari every 6 months and a different house for each month of the year )

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    Quote Originally Posted by malc-c View Post
    Dave mate, your a bit late.. she deleted her post as she felt it gave too much personal info... (Visions of her changiing her Porche for a Farrari every 6 months and a different house for each month of the year )
    Well yes.... and no.

    Mel's post started with her mention of getting a very good degree. It didnt indicate whether she had any interest or experience in Electronics/Programming prior to starting university. I wonder if thats what Dave was getting at.

    I am glad I started this thread as it has revealed some interesting info about peoples history.

    I also notice that none of the newbies seem to have contributed to this thread so far. Perhaps I ought to post the same thread 3 or 4 times in each forum so that I get an answer from them
    Last edited by keithdoxey; - 27th March 2007 at 18:32. Reason: cant spell to save my life !!!!
    Keith

    www.diyha.co.uk
    www.kat5.tv

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithdoxey View Post
    I also notice that none of the newbies seem to have contributed to this thread so far. Perhaps I out to post the same thread 3 or 4 times in each forum so that I get an answer from them
    That's one 'multi-thread' post that sounds like a good idea.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithdoxey View Post
    Well yes.... and no.

    Mel's post started with her mention of getting a very good degree. It didnt indicate whether she had any interest or experience in Electronics/Programming prior to starting university. I wonder if thats what Dave was getting at.
    Yes, that is right. Was it the money or is Melanie like the rest of us.
    Dave
    Always wear safety glasses while programming.

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    I guess it all started in the late 50’s nearly 60’s as a young boy
    When all the other kids were playing ball and learning to read and write
    I was figuring what made things work. Anything some one throwed away ended up in my bed room in pieces. I was always building things. And I became the goto guy in the neighborhood when the other kids stuff broke. They called me. After high school (barely made it out) and getting married. I began my life working in plant maintenance most of which has been motor controls using relay and PLC ladder logic. With my professional career winding down I still have that desire to learn and build things
    And as my wife says when the kids and grand kids come he’s in the basement doing some of that mad scientist stuff. The PIC chip has help field that need. A few years ago I bought a PICKIT1 a hand full of 12f629/75 and 16f630/76. I tried the assemble stuff but it was just no fun and then I found PBP and this forum.. And have had a ball playing I just set around and dream up stuff to build with the PIC. I check this forum 2 to 3 times a day and have learned sometimes it best just to read what some one else asks and the answers they get, than ask myself. I never was any good in school and don’t have a lot of formal training I’m more of a learn on as need be bases. My hats off to all those people that can learn it from a book .BUT not all people are created equal. You have to learn it the way that’s best for you. I’m just a hobbyist and the things I program would be child’s play to the people here. But it impresses my wife and grand kids and that is enough for me. Something that I’ve started doing is to write code that could operate things @ work that we use a PLC for. Just for fun. And now when we walk up to one of our high dollar control panels
    I enjoy saying I can control this with a $2.00 chip.
    Thanks for everyone’s help as I learn. This is a good thread.
    grounded

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    Default How it all began...

    I had a father who from an early age instilled into his children that they can do anything, be anything as long as they always try hard and be the best. Plain good was never good enough - you had to be the best - top of the class or else... He had a passion for storytelling at bedtime, of epic adventures, of history and pre-history, of heros and mathematicians, of scientists and engineers... he could tell such great stories, be it of Napoleon or Archimedes or Edison or Marie Curie and turn them all into breathtaking adventures... he always said that real engineers could take a scientists theory and turn it into reality, that engineers were people to look up to, that it's engineers that build civilisations...

    In that vain, my earliest recollection was probably at the age of around eight, milling about an old secondhand bookstore with my father, and out of boredom I picked up a very old copy of 'Practical Wireless' which was much thumbed and tatty lying in a pile of old magazines in the corner. It made a change from Superman and DC Marvel comics and my father mistakenly thought I was interested in it and bought it. I suppose I felt guilty that my father had spent what little money he had on it, so it at least deserved to be looked through... and with a little help from my father and an old tramp that lived in the neighbourhood who always turned up on a Saturday afternoon (in the knowledge that Mom had a heart of gold and would feed anyone who knocked on her door) with a seemingly endless supply of ancient junk Radio's, TV's and all kinds of peculiar machines from which I could canibalise parts, I built the valve radio set from that magazine and the rest I suppose is history...

    I ended up with a passion for starting with a blank piece of paper, and creating something new... it's a great feeling when something rolls out the door that came straight from your imagination...

    And yes, it IS for the money too... very much so... my parents never had any, and what little they did have they invested it into putting food on the table and for their children. I'm sad that my parents will never see what happened to their little girl, but I owe my success, drive and determination to them. I miss you Mom & Dad.

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    I AM A Newbie, so here is a post from me about how i got started...

    first off, i should say that im only 22 now, so i dont have that much background in electronics, but ask me again in 50 years and i can tell you all about it..

    back when i was in grade 7, my father was a signals Warrant Officer in the military and he had some interest in small electronics projects. We had to make a math game of some sort, so i decided i wanted to make something with electronics. he helped a bit with the design, but i did all the soldering (and math) myself.. it had math problems down one side, with a button beside each, and answers on the other side and they had buttons beside them too. so when someone would press the buttons beside a question, and the right answer, a LED at the top would light up...

    although i do see a need for university trained people in our society, i went to college, and now i have a great job working for the phone company here. everything i learned in college, has nothing to do with my job, other than that i learned how to learn.. and just for the record, the reason i was hired, is because of my interest in hobby robotics..

    after that, i started taking apart lots of small toys and my dads stuff (he wasnt too happy about that) but i learned a lot by figuring out how stuff worked.. i then took a basic electronics course in high school, and a design program that included an electronics course in post secondary. (the post secondary course was more basic than the high school one).

    i started with PICs about 2 years ago, and have learned lots by lookin on here, and searching the net, i have also bought a couple books about PICs. the first thing i did with a PIC was a LED chaser (from the front of nightrider, even though im too young to know what knightrider is!!!). now i have built displays for my truck that display different temps, rpms, fuel level, speed and a couplle other things,.. i find it fun just trying to figure out different ways to do things...

    although i do see a need for university trained people in our society, i went to college, and now i have a great job working for the phone company here. everything i learned in college, has nothing to do with my job, other than that i learned how to learn.. and just for the record, the reason i was hired, is because of my interest in hobby robotics..

    so thanks to all those non-newbies that have guided me in my adventures!!!
    Last edited by dragons_fire; - 13th April 2007 at 20:19. Reason: Sorry, forgot stuff

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