Note: This thread was previously titled Electronics & Embedded Programming and was found in the Programming forum.
Welcome to the thread dedicated to the wonderful world of electrical engineering.
Please read all of this post before you make a post, it contains a lot of useful information.
Electrical engineering is a rather broad term that can be applied to quite a number of subjects, but largely
electrical engineering or EE refers to circuit design, construction and when things go wrong (which they usually do), repair.
EE is by far one of the most accessible and arguably fun sciences to get in to, you don't need tons of cash to build
useful and interesting things plus it's generally quite a safe science as long as you take appropriate care around high
Before you can start building stuff you need a few basic items that practically every single engineer relies heavily upon.
A digital and/or analog multimeter - For measuring voltage, current and resistance.
A breadboard - For rapidly building temporary circuits
Wire - To make connections on your breadboard, you can sometimes get breadboard jumper kits as well (23 SWG solid core recommended)
Basic tools - Screwdriver sets, pliers, wire stripper, tweezers, drill, etc
A soldering iron - If you intend to make a permanent circuit or want to remove components from broken equipment.
You'll also need some components to get started with, generally it's a good idea to make your first order fairly large and varied so you always
have some components to hand, there is nothing worse than running out or finding you don't have something, an example list follows:
This is just an example of some of the parts you might want, there is a vast number of components with some being
better suited to certain application than others.
If you are unsure just ask, many of us will be happy to make you a shopping list for your specific budget.
List of various useful equations and other information.
A very informative e-book that can be read online or downloaded, it explains things
very nicely and with plenty of pictures and diagrams so it is suitable for beginners.
I highly recommend although the book is not complete.
Excellent video blog all about electronics, definitely worth watching.
Also has an excellent forum suitable both for beginners and professionals.
Some useful images but the site design will make your eyes bleed.
Interesting information related to electronics repair.
Chipset's guide to interfacing microcontrollers with high power devices
Chryseus's guide to transistor amplifier design
Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill
Without a doubt the most complete and informative book on electronics, although the
current 2nd edition is rather old (1989) it is still extremely relevant to modern electronics.
If you're going to buy any book this should be the one, although it is not designed for beginners.
Complete Digital Design by Mark Balch
An excellent book that covers all the basics such as boolean logic,
karnaugh maps, binary arithmetic and more advanced topics such as serial
communication, microprocessors and the practical design of digital circuits.
Principles of Electric Circuits by Thomas L. Floyd (9th ed)
A very good book for beginners that unlike most comes in an electron flow
version as well, if you prefer that. The book is full of well drawn diagrams and
helpful pictures which makes reading easy and fun, in addition at the end of each
chapter there is a quiz to make sure you fully understand what you have read.
Troubleshooting Analog Circuits by Robert A. Pease (Bob Pease)
An excellent book by an excellent author, this book contains a lot of useful
information that is invaluable if you are interested in getting into electronic
Power Electronics Handbook by Muhammad H. Rashid et al
A huge amount of information on power circuits and components
a must have if you're interested in power electronics.
Basic Electronics, Prof T.S.Natarajan - NPTEL
Very well made lecture series with a lot of useful information, highly recommended.
Bitsbox - Small selection of components but very cheap shipping, £1.50 UK, £2.75 Europe, £4.00 anywhere else.
RS - A well known supplier with large selection, shipping is fairly cheap but no Paypal.
Farnell - Another excellent supplier with a very large selection, minimum order applies and no Paypal.
DealExtreme - Sells a lot of made in china stuff but you can get some really good deals such as the Rigol DS1052E.
Rapid - Decent selection but not the cheapest, shipping outside the UK is also fairly expensive.
Maplin Electronics - Similar to rapid but even more expensive, not available outside the UK as far as I'm aware, avoid.
Digikey - Excellent selection of components but fairly expensive shipping.
Sure Electronics - Small selection but some good value for money component kits.
Sparkfun Electronics - Nice selection with some good deals, still quite expensive.
RSH Electronics - Small selection with some great bargain packs, cheap delivery £4.00 international
Tayda Electronics - Decent selection of cheap parts, direct from Thailand so expect some delay in delivery.
http://stores.ebay.com/Thai-Shop-Etc - Cheap components
http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Tayda2009 - More cheap components
Working with electricity is generally quite safe, however here are a some useful tips that will help you avoid severe injury or in the worst case death.
Avoid working with mains electricity unless you are confident with what you're doing
Probe live circuits with your right hand and keep your left hand in your pocket
Keep your hands clean and dry
Do not wear any metal objects even around low voltage
Never go near high energy (3 phase) systems with a non-industry grade multimeter
Use a properly fused multimeter to avoid risk of explosion
Ensure high voltage capacitors are discharged before touching a circuit
Never make changes to household wiring unless you REALLY know what you're doing
NEVER EVER play around with microwave ovens they're lethal
Always check the mains cord on unknown eqipment for damage
None at the moment, get posting!
Keep your breadboard clean and perform regular checks for high resistance or open circuits.
Know how to use your multimeter properly and safely.
Get a good quality soldering station and use leaded solder.
Make sure your iron has temperature control.
Flux is very useful particularly when soldering older oxidized stuff.
Never rely on circuit simulations or assume they're correct.
Get an oscilloscope as soon as possible, they're extremely useful.
Don't buy toy oscilloscopes like the DSO Nano or USB scopes.
Always draw out your schematic before building to help avoid accidents.
Keep your work area clean and well lit. (if possible)
Always experiment it helps greatly in learning, do not rely on a textbook alone.
Design your circuits using common sense and some basic math, a full analysis is rarely needed.
Breadboards are not suitable for high frequencies or high current. (> 1A)
Be very aware of possible ground loops, particularly if using an oscilloscope.
Keep your soldering iron tip clean, never dip it in flux or any other liquid and avoid applying pressure to it.
Use small soldering iron tips, preferably chisel type.
A soldering gun should never be used on circuit boards.
Never use solder meant for plumbing, 60/40 and 63/37 electronics solder with a flux core is standard.
Learn how to read the information given in datasheets and apply it to your circuit.
If you have anything to add post or PM me.