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Advice on how to learn to read circuits diagrams?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by rodgersk24, Oct 2, 2009.


  1. This isn't technically music related, but it could be I guess... regardless, I figured this was the best place to put this thread!

    Does anyone have any good recommendations on how to read a circuit diagram? I'd like to learn to read diagrams to learn how to build pedals and other non-music related electronics projects.

    My first project will be the NPN Boost. I'd like to learn how to turn this diagram into this pedal, and wire it correctly on the perf board, switch, pot, etc.

    I'd be interested in books, textbooks, even excellent websites. Or, is taking a class at the local community college the best thing to do?

    Also, I did a bunch of searches and didn't find anything, but apologies if I did miss something.

    Thanks in advance!

    Kyle
     
  2. Simo98

    Simo98

    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    You could look up some instructions, there are a few helpful websites i have seen, and youtube tutorials probably exist.

    however if you have a chance to do a course, do that. It depends on the individual, but i find it much easier to learn when i can fill in the gaps by asking a question or two.
     
  3. ericw

    ericw

    Aug 19, 2009
    Hagerstown, MD
    That seems like a pretty basic circuit really - mostly resistors and capacitors. I bet a quick Wikipedia study covering the "Theory of Operation" on Resistors, Capacitors, Transistors and Circuit Diagrams would give you enough to build that. A textbook for an "Intro to electronics" course or the like for an engineering major could be a bit overkill, but if you want to come up with your own diagrams might be worthwhile. Or just going to the local bookstore would probably be cheaper than a textbook. I'd start with wiki though.

    EDIT: I don't think you need a course to build circuits like the one shown - save your money for a good soldering gun. But I prefer to learn on my own anyway.
     
  4. Thanks you both for the help thus far!

    I guess what I'm mainly concerned with is the actual connecting of the parts of the diagram. I've learned a lot of the symbols and what they mean, but I'm just concerned about the physical connections between two parts: do I use the leads of the caps and resistors and solder them together, or is there a special type of wire I have to buy to connect them? Does it have to be laid out exactly as specified in the diagram, or as long as everything is connected correctly according to the diagram, it doesn't matter if you fit it on a big board or little board? Just main things like that.

    And yeah, now that you put it that way a textbook may be over the top... maybe any reference books?

    And thanks ericw, I'll def check out the wikis!

    Kyle
     
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I think this belongs in the Effects forum -- you can ask a mod to move it. Many guys there could answer your question. You also might want to check out the DIY section of the Amp FAQ sticky in the Amps forum. ;)
     
  6. UncleFluffy

    UncleFluffy

    Mar 8, 2009
    California
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    If you're starting out. first put everything together in temporary form on a breadboard to check your basic understanding.

    After that, you can move up to stripboard construction. It's pretty simple and a lot less hassle than making your own PCBs.

    (Unless you can buy a pre-made PCB for the circuit you're building, which is a far easier option).

    Once you've mastered that, you can graduate to making PCBs. It's not hard, but you're better off getting the basics right first rather than trying to learn everything at once.
     
  7. UncleFluffy

    UncleFluffy

    Mar 8, 2009
    California
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    Additional: perf-board (without the strips) construction is a PITA. Much easier to arrange everything on stripboard and just wire component-side where needed.
     
  8. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Back in my teens I used to gobble up books like Electronic Projects for Musicians (by Craig Anderton) and stuff like that. That book in particular had chapters on what you're asking about. And it has lots of cool projects, many of which are still buildable today.
     
  9. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    .
     
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    +1

    Still a great resource, to this day.
     
  11. Apologies, I'll asked for it to be moved. Sorry, I hate it when I do this... I'm never quite sure where to put stuff...

    I'll try to breadboard stuff before I solder it, I've heard that's the way to go for testing.

    And thanks for the info Bob, I'll check that one out at my library, and if I can't find it, Amazon!

    Thanks again everyone!

    Kyle
     
  12. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    No worries Kyle. Hopefully you'll get lots more good answers in that forum. When guys like Bob and I started on this path it was a lot harder to find good info. I spent a ton of time in college libraries, and I was in way over my head most of the time. But that can be fun in its own way too...:cool:
     
  13. Ehh... I like perfboard...

    ...but then, I don't mind wire wrapping either.
     
  14. ByF

    ByF

    May 19, 2009
    Yeah, I've always used breadboard to sort things out, then perfboard. But I don't build anything very complicated.

    Ed
     

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