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Trying to figure out what i need to learn..

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Trying to figure out what i need to learn..

Postby method72 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:15 pm

Hello all. i'm new here, and looking for some advice from the elders.
I am a 40-something Network Engineer currently (Cisco/Juniper IP/routing etc) I have been in this IT field for about 20 years now, so I am no stranger to study and hard work when it come to gaining knowledge.

I also do some game development as a hobby, published one android app, and even sold a few flash games i created to some online game portal sites, so have a decent handle on software and coding.

I tinkered with electronics back in high school, taking a single entry level class in 1990, and that about does it for my formal education with electronics. I have tinkered with a few robot kits over the years, but that was pretty simple stuff more for fun.

Recently I find myself getting bored of the software side (making simple 2d games for android / windows) and am seeking something more hands on. I picked up some simple electronics kits, and am brushing up on my breadboard and basic soldering skills.

The thing is, all these kits are pre-designed, for example:
http://www.makershed.com/products/wee-blinky-kit
http://www.elenco.com/product/productde ... alarm=MjMy

So those are easy enough to put together.. but i feel i am not learning much...
What I want to be able to do is think for myself. Perhaps I want to make something, for example, if I want to make a sound-activated switch. (Remember the clapper) so when I clap I can control an LED going on and off based on claps.

sure enough there is a kit for this too, http://cs-sales.net/soacswkreask.html

But instead of just putting it together, I want to be able to start figuring out what I would need to build it. like what resisters, caps, semi-conductors, and how to put them all together.

Is the only way to learn this still to get an EE degree? or are there other paths of self-study or on-line courses I can take? I looked at the Electronics Tech on-line course here http://www.etcourse.com/ seems like it may be a good self-paced starting point, not sure this would tech me to design my own circuits, but may be good foundation knowledge.

I guess in a nut-shell, I am asking, does one need an EE degree to be able to learn how to put components together onto a board and build ones own little creations? I realize having a specific PCB is another level, and my own efforts would be more of a bread-board based creation with jumpers, but learning what components to use and how to build these kit-type things on my own is what I am wanting to learn. I am not looking to go back to school, as I can't make the time commitment with work and life now, but self-paced I can handle and study on my own time table is something I am able to do.

Any suggestions from folks would be appreciated.

thanks
- Sam
method72
 
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