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Ask HN: What are hardware development learning web tutorials?
222 points by yadavrg on Nov 19, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 40 comments

almost none of them will teach you anything. EEVblog has some educational content, and sparkfun covers the very basics. The others are purely entertainment and trivia for the already initiated. IMO.

I will disagree.

As a newbie hardware designer I learned a lot going through some of those resources. Especially repair videos tend to show a lot of tricks I would have to spend a lifetime to learn by myself. Once you learn the basics (it is easy) it gets more and more difficult to find really usefull information. Especially if you are a hobbyist and don't do it as your permanent job where you would typically have other nad hopefully more experienced engineers at hand.

not true. https://www.youtube.com/user/greatscottlab is a great resource of electronics education.

Hardware development is a vast discipline, so you'll have to be more specific. Off the top of my head:

* Embedded systems: mainly involves writing software but may require understanding of the hardware architecture; examples include Arduino and MSP430

* PCB design: Eagle and KiCad are good places to start

* Digital logic design: theory of how to optimize gate-level logic and how to design common digital circuitry

* HDL development: using Verilog or VHDL to implement digital designs

* FPGA design and implementation: synthesizing your HDL design to run on an FPGA

* Digital circuit design: transistor-level implementation of digital circuits, mainly used for fine-tuning high speed circuits (e.g., adders, multipliers)

* Analog and mixed-signal circuit design: same as above, but not in the digital domain (i.e., signals are not defined as 0 or 1); mixed-signal focuses on designing converters and interfaces between the analog and digital domains

* RF circuit design: high-frequency circuit design, very high barrier to entry and extremely difficult to learn

To add to this: I would start with basic analogue electronics as it forms the basis of everything else on this list. I found https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:MITx+6.002.1x_1+2T... reasonably good for this.

Learning analogue fundamentals, learning to read a datasheet (probably one of the most important skills for real electronics design!), and C for embedded systems are probably the real keys here.

Yes agree - never forget analogue!

I'm interested in Power Supply Unit design, currently. That can be done using a digital controler and a built-in analog converter module. All in all it covers a broad range of topics in electronics, because so many varieties of solutions achieve similar goals. It's my intro to advanced electronics and a focus on efficiency adds economics to the mix. Component selection, acquisition and testing seems to be an involved process and it's really interesting. On the far end, component design (e.g. coil winding) and tool building (say sensor setup).

For a start in electronics I know of MITx with prof. Agarwal, but it's based on his well priced book. There's a load of free texts on the basic elements and circuits. The Art of Electronics is often recommended and it seems rather comprehensive, but I have not read it yet myself - you might find it in a library. I recently read a neat report on a microcontroler based switch mode power supply. Before I found several analog chip manafucturer's application notes quite interesting and advanced. Power Supply design is pretty fundamental, too, as every application needs one. The difference between ideal current and voltage sources was one of the first things to learn for me.

The point being, to address the parent post, that high power design can be a completely different beast to mixed signal (stress on signal).

Definitely, not sure why I missed that! High power (and voltage) electronics design is a different beast entirely. Typically, you would work with discrete components, and most power circuits rely on storage elements (capacitors and inductors).

There is just too much diversity covered under a broad umbrella term.

As per some college rules, there are for example computer engineering, micro electronics, motor drive electronics, telecommunication sciences,and power engineering ; which are semi related fields.

I've been devoting a lot of time to learning hardware lately and the resources that have worked best for me are:

Make: Electronics [1] This is a very accessible, hands on driven book that starts from absolute 0 and builds you up step by step. It focuses on very basic circuits and components (I think only the last experiment involves a microntroller).

UT Texas Embedded Systems / Input Output (edx) [2] This course I can't speak highly enough of. I started it on a whim and got totally sucked in. Again, very hands on (they wrote custom software that tests the physical devices you build). It's thorough and addicting.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Make-Electronics-Learning-Through-Dis...


First, define what do you mean by hardware, because the field is vast.

Electronics design: https://contextualelectronics.com/

Programming embedded systems: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920017776.do

Misc. projects: https://makezine.com/

I don't recommend ContextualElectronics.

It is not even good for beginners as so many things he does is completely and utterly wrong. People who do not have the expertise in their domain should not be teaching and perpetuating wrong methods and creating a generation of bad engineers/makers.

If you get a chance, please watch his YT series on KiCAD. Finally, he gets a PCB made and fumbles his way through.

Teachers are supposed to be domain experts that can lead students in the best-known-method path. This guy doesn't even come close.

If you want solid tutorials on Embedded Electronics, I recommend Patrick Hood Daniel's Newbiehack channel.


Not only does it skip the Arduino framework, he goes to a great length to explain fundamentals of embedded electronics. He is a fantastic teacher and above all, an expert at what he does.

For general circuit design, I would recommend The Art of Electronics, 3rd Ed. by Horowitz and Hill. Of course it’s a book and not a web tutorial, but the content matters more than the format I would think.

For electronics, the book format is excellent. Analog design principles are not going to change anytime soon, and the Art of Electronics does an excellent job developing theoretical knowledge, an active intuition for what's going on, and provides a wide variety of samples.

Don't bother with the microconroller and part selection recommendations -- in my experience, those things were fairly out of date.

It’s interesting that it is still 99% relevant. It does a good job discussing fundamentals. There is also a companion workbook with solutions.

Another vote for this here. The 2015/3rd edition is recommended over older editions. The previous one was 1989!

Apparently, some elements present in the 2nd ed. were taken out from the 3rd edition to be put in a still unreleased "X-Chapters" book. (Source: Win Hill himself at the diyaudio forums.)

So now there are two fairly expensive books to purchase, that's a bummer. As of today I'll happily keep my 2nd edition; luckily electronics principles haven't changed much (at all) since, and new parts data sheets/app notes are freely available.

They took out the bad circuits section and that was it really. The 2nd edition references lots of obsolete logic families and pretty much skips micro controllers. Worth getting the 3rd edition.

Some of the content is word for word the same as the 1st edition (which I also have)

I do look forward to seeing answers that are web tutorials as I'm trying to start in that area. Most good resources are books or courses, though. I'll give you a bit of that. For digital, the NAND2Tetris course or book at least get people hooked on it with some of the basics:


For analog electronics and PCB's, the latest list of books I found was this:


Malvin's Electronic Principles, which I got for $2 on Amazon, was also much more readable than Horowitz and Hill. Another thing to know is resources are usually almost all hands-on or all theory. Gammel's Contextual Electronics course that bradfa links to below was said to be in the middle somewhere. Also, if digital, you might want to make a note of "High-Speed, Digital Design" for later along with some book on verification either formal or "design-for-testing." Some people also do FPGA cookbooks and such if they're working with them. For RF, most people have one by ARRL or something whose name I can't recall. Finally, for electromagnetic compatibility testing, the great article and conversation linked below has a book in it.


Hope some of this helps.


Is a great beginners course.

Hackster.io has over 10,000 published HW projects, DragonInnovation.com has a great library of “how to” courses, Kickstarter has a new resource called HardwareStudio https://www.kickstarter.com/hardwarestudio. And yes, YouTube for everything else.

The design is pretty dated now (though that might be a good thing given recent trends), but there's a lot of great stuff at http://www.play-hookey.com/

One more solid resource is John Teel's website and blog: http://predictabledesigns.com/resources/

For electronics check out my list of resources. https://github.com/monostable/awesome-electronics

I want to learn about developing new hardware to automate various manual tasks. What are the good online tutorials to learn developing professional hardware to automate task?

"Hardware" tends to imply just electronics. It sounds like you want tutorials in robotics.

For basic electronics, you might check out Understanding Modern Electronics by The Great Courses. I think they have a free month-long demo to watch their content online.

Not a web tutorial, but if you have Arduino experience and want to get a deeper understanding of embedded systems, AVR Programming by Make Media is amazing.

In addition to the comments here, Hackaday has a nice hardware community too:


ignore this url, go to the one that mimics the site at the time it got famous: https://hackaday.com/blog/

I do not recommend this. See my comment above.

The best I have seen are on https://txplore.com

Sparkfun.com is great.

Adafruit.com also has some good tutorials.



Thanks, updated.

I’d recommend our blog at Bolt https://blog.bolt.io for high-level summaries of hardware product development process, business best practices, and case studies.

In particular: The Illustrated Guide to Product Development https://blog.bolt.io/the-illustrated-guide-to-product-develo...

Hardware by the Numbers: https://blog.bolt.io/hardware-by-the-numbers-part-1-team-pro...

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