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All About Circuits (allaboutcircuits.com)
447 points by MichaelAO on Sept 8, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 42 comments

This animated circuit simulation can help students conceptually understand what is happening in the circuits they learn about in the first 2-3 college circuit courses: http://falstad.com/circuit/

(it's a java applet, but it was ported to ios/android with the icircuit app)

I tutored students with a modified version of this simulation and they learned in less than a half hour stuff they hadn't learned after 2 circuit courses.

I also like everycircuit ~$10 IIRC, very good interactive circuit sim.

All About Circuits is great, I was able to teach myself the fundamentals of electronics using that site, and it got me interested enough to go do electrical engineering in university, a decision I don't regret.

another fantastic site, that caters EE/CE content to "the average Joe" is http://www.dspguide.com , it provides you with the basics in Digital signal processing in terms most high-school students could understand. Great site.

A similar website for university-level maths is Paul's Online Math Notes[1]. Much better than any of the lecturers I had at uni.

[1] http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/

I can't but help give my whole-hearted +1 for Paul's Online Math Notes.

This website helped me through numerous university engineering courses.

This site has been indispensable to me throughout my degree, and I know I'll be using it a lot this year as well. Happy to see their redesign!

Also worth checking out: http://www.amazon.com/Electronic-Devices-Frustration-Mountai...

It provides any number of valuable heuristics for practical circuit design that often excessively theory-oriented EE programs won't teach you. This book saved my butt in grad school and has been useful on-and-off ever since.

See also Socratic Electronics http://www.ibiblio.org/kuphaldt/socratic/

This is exactly why I posted it. I'm taking circuits this semester and just spent the past few hours on the site. The university lectures I've attended leave out a lot of the practical tidbits that help the learning process. Are there any other online resources (similar to this) you'd recommend?

In addition to The Art of Electronics, as mentioned, it might also be worth trying LTSpice, which is a free circuit simulator. It's a Windows program, but I've had it running just fine on a Linux box under Wine emulation.

I enjoyed and learned a lot from MITx 6.002x (Circuits and Electronics): https://6002x.mitx.mit.edu/

How much do folks who learned electronics feel that they were, or would have been, helped by introducing electron flow before switching to the mainstream sign convention for current?

It wouldn't have helped at all. Until you get into device physics, the actual magnitude and sign of the charge carrier is totally irrelevant.

That was kinda my experience too. The mental training wheels that I came up with were based on remembering that like charges repel, so the electrons flee the negative terminal. But it didn't take me very long to simply regard voltage and charge as quantities of "stuff" related by equations.

Yeah, I've also found that the abstract approach is what pays the most dividends. When I taught electronics lab, the physics students would get wrapped up in trying to think from the point of view of fields and charges, which honestly isn't that helpful for electronics (unless, as mentioned above, you're doing device physics).

On the other hand, research (by the PhET folks in Colorado I believe) has shown that having students play with a Java applet beforehand (that shows electrons moving through wires) really helps their performance in a basic electronics lab activity. This would be measuring voltage, resistance, current. However it's likely that the sandbox nature of the applet is what helps, not so much the moving charge concept.

Possibly a confounding factor is that electricity is so incredibly badly taught in the high school and college physics courses, or at least it was when I was a student. Most students ended up hating electricity. I have had more than one person cite the "oscilloscope lab" as the experience that turned them away from physics.

It's too bad, because if well taught, electricity could really reinforce another aspect of physics that students struggle with, namely the ability to solve complex problems by replacing fields with scalar quantities (e.g., stuff that's conserved), thus replacing calculus with accounting.

Also, I would completely ditch the oscilloscope (at the intro level), replacing it with something that simply measures voltage versus time into a computer.

I was taught electron flow from the get-go in high school, as it correctly represents electron emission off a hot cathode. I still use it, except I have to think backwards when using a current meter or simulation software, as the industry standard is conventional flow.

Oddly enough, I learned about vacuum tubes but never did anything with them except repair guitar amps. But I can see where an introduction to tube circuitry would want to start with electron flow.

I was taught the same way. I was originally pretty confused by the symbol for a diode, more so because I was dealing with free wheeling diodes at the time.

It doesn't help at all. Unless youre working with devices like FETs that are named using the electron flow convention, keeping the electron flow in mind is not terribly helpful.

However there are some subfields of electronics where it is helpful, but it is a niche thing.

I love this site. I also highly recommend the tutorials on http://learn.sparkfun.com .

I would highly recommend reading:


For anyone who is non-technical and needs a quick overview.

I used to read this stuff during my undergrad. Although, I haven't been doing electronics stuff lately, I'd want to go back to it in the near future. Thanks for sharing!

New to me, and quite useful for a hobby project. Thanks!

interesting - what I think is missing is nice ways to share circuits in the web, e.g. with JSON and/or JavaScript. There is http://wavedrom.com/ for signals, but nothing for schematics/layouts. Anyone interested to see this/collaborate on this?

We did this at CircuitLab, and even did an integration with Electronics StackExchange last year: https://www.circuitlab.com/blog/2013/03/06/circuitlab-integr...

I like that there is a PDF version for each chapter (linked on the left.) Good for offline reading, and no ads.

Christ I remember this from when I was a teenager. It inspired me to build a coilgun.

Really glad to see it's still going!

Likewise! This was a huge help to me in my logic, circuits and architecture classes. As a pure computer science major, I was relieved to have a solid reference for the "hard" (as in hardware) stuff.

This is a great format for e learning, a very usabletexbook with quizes, videos, forums etc built around it.

I love crickets because I have one at my house and I came to see how to take care of it i just got it so.

I have to ask - are there any good physical kits that you can use to put together circuits?

Physical kits? Do you mean like a breadboard? That should give you a great platform for putting together circuits for learning or testing purposes.

If not that than I don't understand your question.

I wish there was an online course with a built in circuit simulator and labs.

The MITx course on Circuits and Electronics[0] has that.

[0] https://www.edx.org/course/mitx/mitx-6-002x-circuits-electro...

Great to read through these for a brush up, thank you.

Isn't this a pretty old site? I previously bookmarked this site 6 years ago...

Old sites that are good sites are welcome on Hacker News.

Yes. I've been using this site since I started an internship at a power company in high school and I used it all the way through undergrad too. It just looks like they redid the design.

Was it responsive before? If it wasn't, it is now. Great and readable on my phone.

I remember it from back in the day as well. I was surprised to see it with a nice modern flat design; it certainly didn't look that way the last time I visited.

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