Everything for Electronics

Tech Forum

February 2016

Thirst For Knowledge

I’ve been an NV subscriber for years. I have an interest, but not a proficiency — yet. Some articles I understand, some I do not, and I really would like to get to the point where I can run with most things presented in each issue, as well as in other magazines. Coming up on retirement, I will have more time to invest in areas of interest. So, I’m looking for guidance in a couple of directions.

1. I want to get proficient building things using small microprocessors (home automation, data loggers for temp and humidity, robotics, small handheld computers, hacking appliances, other??), but I’m not sure where to start and the best way to learn. I’ve built a few PCs over the years, and while I would have to dust off my memory, I have programmed a little in the past with Visual Basic and SQL.

2. I want to get more knowledgeable in AC/DC electronics. I’ve taken a basic fundamentals course at community college a number of years ago, but would like to refresh that and get on a path to continue building my knowledge base in all aspects, be it AC/DC electronics, computers, communications, etc.

3. I have a two year old grandson and I want to get him excited about technology, programming, math, engineering, etc., at age appropriate levels, and see what — if anything — he might want to do with the knowledge as he gets older. Figuring that almost any profession he chooses will benefit from exposure and proficiency in this area, and it can’t be accomplished overnight.

Any insights, thoughts, sources, books, coursework, etc., anyone can share would very much be appreciated, as well as any thoughts on where you see all this going in the next 20 years, so maybe I can guide my grandson to get out in front of things.

Thank you in advance for anything you can share.

Mark McCurdy
Grapevine, TX


I have worked with various microcontrollers over 30 years and the hard part was always the overhead getting started. The Arduino Uno has less overhead and can do interesting things. As for education, I learned a remarkable amount studying for a Ham Radio License, even if I never needed the license.

via internet

Get a copy of The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications  (www.arrl.org/arrl-handbook-2015). It contains a lot of theory in an understandable format. It also contains full schematics and plans for projects. Go to www.arrl.org/arrl-publication-dealers to find a dealer near you.

Mark Peterson
Plymouth, MN