Forums

software to hardware - help

Started by Neo October 31, 2005
Folks, How difficult it is for a software guy to learn working with 
hardware. I've been working on embedded systems for about 4 years. Worked on 
various platforms like TI DSP, Morotola, Intel x86 etc. Having sound 
knowledge of C, Assembly, DD, RTOS and other system level stuff. I want to 
learn some basic skill on hardware side (like soldering etc.) to prototype 
some very simple circuits. My main focus is on Firmware designing and RTOS. 
Do I need to take up some course in basic electronics?

What are the essential tools that I need to buy in order to get started 
playing with hardware?

Books for a beginner like me (who dont have any background in electronics)?

Some of you guy might have faced the same thing. It would be really helpful 
for me to get advice and tips, and quickly get started.

Thanks and Regards,
-Neo


Subscribe to Nuts&Volts and CircuitCellar magazine and walk through
some of their tutorial projects and visits sites like:
http://www.kitsrus.com
for inexpensive kits to play with

Personally I wouldn't bother with taking a class. Your time is better
forcused when you guide the subject matter yourself, (except for the
rare case with exceptional instructors).

On Mon, 31 Oct 2005 15:18:16 +0530, "Neo"
<timeless_illusionN0SPAM@yahoo.com> wrote:
>Folks, How difficult it is for a software guy to learn working with >hardware. I've been working on embedded systems for about 4 years. Worked on >various platforms like TI DSP, Morotola, Intel x86 etc. Having sound >knowledge of C, Assembly, DD, RTOS and other system level stuff. I want to >learn some basic skill on hardware side (like soldering etc.) to prototype >some very simple circuits. My main focus is on Firmware designing and RTOS. >Do I need to take up some course in basic electronics? >What are the essential tools that I need to buy in order to get started >playing with hardware? >Books for a beginner like me (who dont have any background in electronics)? >Some of you guy might have faced the same thing. It would be really helpful >for me to get advice and tips, and quickly get started. >Thanks and Regards, -Neo
The answer depends on wether you take the blue pill or the red pill.
Sorry, but I couldn't resist with you using the name Neo.

>From you message, it sounds like you are interested in technician style
work, as you mention soldering and basic prototying. You may be able to find some classes at a community or technical college that would help you gain some hands on experience with the correct methods to use. Also look for certification trainging that may be offered in your area. Personally, I took a class in SMT rework and have been very comfortable with soldering and desoldering ever since. While I am certain that some may disagree with my suggestion I find that there really is no substitute for learning from someone who knows how to teach a subject properly. If you are interested in learning electronics theory, which will go a long ways towards your goal, I would recommend the book, The Art of Electronics and the corresponding lab work book by Horowitz and Hill. The book covers many of the fundemental aspects of analog and digital electronics from a "this is how you use and apply it" perspective. The book covers how to analyze circuits and components from a practical - real work perspective. Armed with this book, I would suggest getting some basic equipment, such as a bread board, digital multi meter and power supply. You may wish to purchase some basic parts to perform the experiements in the book, but these should be available from any online electronics supplier, such as Digikey. Good Luck and enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole!
In article <4365e863@news.microsoft.com>,
"Neo" <timeless_illusionN0SPAM@yahoo.com> wrote:
> [ ... ] I want to >learn some basic skill on hardware side (like soldering etc.) to prototype >some very simple circuits. My main focus is on Firmware designing and RTOS. >Do I need to take up some course in basic electronics? > >What are the essential tools that I need to buy in order to get started >playing with hardware?
- a multimeter - a logic probe - as big a Wish Board (or equivalent brand) as you can stand getting. This is one of those large socket/terminal blocks that can accept DIP chips and component leads and so on, for prototyping circuits. - fine solid wire left by phone installers A good, cheap electronic parts store in the neighbourhood is an immense help.
>Books for a beginner like me (who dont have any background in electronics)?
Yes, mandatory. Other people than I will know what's current. I used _Electronic Design with Off-the-shelf Integrated Circuits_, but I got it remaindered. I bet it's unfindable now. Obsolete, too. Manufacturers sites on the world-wide web have the data sheets you need, and there are lots of sample applications in these. I subscribed to Elektor and Electronic Musician for a few years. I don't know if Electronic Musician pushes do-it-yourself as much as they used to.
>Some of you guy might have faced the same thing. It would be really helpful >for me to get advice and tips, and quickly get started.
I moved from big-iron software support to embedded programming. The biggest change is that I can now afford to own the computers I work on. Everything else is about the same. An engineer who'd worked for Marconi was talking lately about an early monster with about 128 words of data memory. It sounded pretty much like an ATtiny28. Mel. ----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet News==---- http://www.newsfeeds.com The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World! 120,000+ Newsgroups ----= East and West-Coast Server Farms - Total Privacy via Encryption =----
Neo wrote:

> Folks, How difficult it is for a software guy to learn working with > hardware. I've been working on embedded systems for about 4 years. Worked on > various platforms like TI DSP, Morotola, Intel x86 etc. Having sound > knowledge of C, Assembly, DD, RTOS and other system level stuff. I want to > learn some basic skill on hardware side (like soldering etc.) to prototype > some very simple circuits. My main focus is on Firmware designing and RTOS. > Do I need to take up some course in basic electronics? > > What are the essential tools that I need to buy in order to get started > playing with hardware? > > Books for a beginner like me (who dont have any background in electronics)? > > Some of you guy might have faced the same thing. It would be really helpful > for me to get advice and tips, and quickly get started. > > Thanks and Regards, > -Neo > >
I think you should think in terms of "component level hardware/electronics". Please note I intentionally made no mention of software ;} My gut reaction would be "look for local Amateur Radio club". AKA "hams". These days they cover a broad range of interests. I may be out of date. I remember type 80's, 6J6's, and CK722's. I've seen a *LEGAL* spark gap transmitter operate ;} Am I dated?
Richard Owlett wrote:
> Neo wrote: > >> Folks, How difficult it is for a software guy to learn working with >> hardware. I've been working on embedded systems for about 4 years. >> Worked on various platforms like TI DSP, Morotola, Intel x86 etc. >> Having sound knowledge of C, Assembly, DD, RTOS and other system level >> stuff. I want to learn some basic skill on hardware side (like >> soldering etc.) to prototype some very simple circuits. My main focus >> is on Firmware designing and RTOS. Do I need to take up some course in >> basic electronics? >> >> What are the essential tools that I need to buy in order to get >> started playing with hardware? >> >> Books for a beginner like me (who dont have any background in >> electronics)? >> >> Some of you guy might have faced the same thing. It would be really >> helpful for me to get advice and tips, and quickly get started. >> >> Thanks and Regards, >> -Neo >> >> > > I think you should think in terms of "component level > hardware/electronics". Please note I intentionally made no mention of > software ;} > > My gut reaction would be "look for local Amateur Radio club". AKA > "hams". These days they cover a broad range of interests.
In the same line of thought, the ARRL Handbook may be worth its price <http://www.arrl.org/>. It is a pretty condensed package about modern electronics.
> I may be out of date. > I remember type 80's, 6J6's, and CK722's. > I've seen a *LEGAL* spark gap transmitter operate ;} > > Am I dated?
It depends on yourself - if you've running with the development, no problem. I've also used 807's, 813's and 866A's. -- Tauno Voipio, OH2UG (since early 1960's) tauno voipio (at) iki fi
On Mon, 31 Oct 2005 13:50:22 -0600, Richard Owlett
<rowlett@atlascomm.net> wrote:

>Neo wrote: > >> Folks, How difficult it is for a software guy to learn working with >> hardware. I've been working on embedded systems for about 4 years. Worked on >> various platforms like TI DSP, Morotola, Intel x86 etc. Having sound >> knowledge of C, Assembly, DD, RTOS and other system level stuff. I want to >> learn some basic skill on hardware side (like soldering etc.) to prototype >> some very simple circuits. My main focus is on Firmware designing and RTOS. >> Do I need to take up some course in basic electronics? >> >> What are the essential tools that I need to buy in order to get started >> playing with hardware? >> >> Books for a beginner like me (who dont have any background in electronics)? >> >> Some of you guy might have faced the same thing. It would be really helpful >> for me to get advice and tips, and quickly get started. >> >> Thanks and Regards, >> -Neo >> >> > >I think you should think in terms of "component level >hardware/electronics". Please note I intentionally made no mention of >software ;} > >My gut reaction would be "look for local Amateur Radio club". AKA >"hams". These days they cover a broad range of interests. > >I may be out of date. >I remember type 80's, 6J6's, and CK722's. >I've seen a *LEGAL* spark gap transmitter operate ;} > >Am I dated?
--- Dunno... If you've got a good line, maybe... Otherwise, the young studs will be attracting the uncommitted pussy. -- John Fields Professional Circuit Designer
Neo wrote:

> Folks, How difficult it is for a software guy to learn working with > hardware. I've been working on embedded systems for about 4 years. Worked > on various platforms like TI DSP, Morotola, Intel x86 etc. Having sound > knowledge of C, Assembly, DD, RTOS and other system level stuff. I want to > learn some basic skill on hardware side (like soldering etc.) to prototype > some very simple circuits. My main focus is on Firmware designing and > RTOS. Do I need to take up some course in basic electronics? >
I would say it is incredibly hard to make the transition in this direction. Software is at least an order of magnitude less complex than hardware so it is difficult to become a good hardware engineer. Many people make the transition in the other direction from mechanical engineering and mathematics to software. Ian Ian
Neo wrote:

> Folks, How difficult it is for a software guy to learn working with > hardware. I've been working on embedded systems for about 4 years. Worked on > various platforms like TI DSP, Morotola, Intel x86 etc. Having sound > knowledge of C, Assembly, DD, RTOS and other system level stuff. I want to > learn some basic skill on hardware side (like soldering etc.) to prototype > some very simple circuits. My main focus is on Firmware designing and RTOS. > Do I need to take up some course in basic electronics? > > What are the essential tools that I need to buy in order to get started > playing with hardware? > > Books for a beginner like me (who dont have any background in electronics)? > > Some of you guy might have faced the same thing. It would be really helpful > for me to get advice and tips, and quickly get started.
Beside the time and missing education you're looking at substantial investments. Yes, the stuff is cheap, the mixed channel scope is also payable, but the bulk is what it makes. The basic soldering is not it. In order to make the hardware suitable for the embedded stuff you're used to takes a decade to learn beside the job. And it is a moving target. Fine pitch pcbs, programmable logic, fast logic, the lot adds up. Very simple circuits ? a few transistors ? TTL ? Rene -- Ing.Buero R.Tschaggelar - http://www.ibrtses.com & commercial newsgroups - http://www.talkto.net
["Followup-To:" header set to sci.electronics.basics.]
On 2005-10-31, Neo <timeless_illusionN0SPAM@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Folks, How difficult it is for a software guy to learn working with > hardware. I've been working on embedded systems for about 4 years. Worked on > various platforms like TI DSP, Morotola, Intel x86 etc. Having sound > knowledge of C, Assembly, DD, RTOS and other system level stuff. I want to > learn some basic skill on hardware side (like soldering etc.) to prototype > some very simple circuits. My main focus is on Firmware designing and RTOS. > Do I need to take up some course in basic electronics? > > What are the essential tools that I need to buy in order to get started > playing with hardware?
essestial: some good solder. That's it.... you can play with electronics using a wire from a coat-hanger heated on the kitchen hotplate as a soldering iron, and a simple continuity teester made with a few AA cells and a salvaged LED.... in the almost essential list: a soldering iron. a heat-resistant, (or scrificial) work surface a bench vice or other extra hand... small pliers both long nose, and angle cutters. a multimmeter, I'd go with an analogue model first, they're easier to read. if you're into playing with digital stuff something to power them apropriately even if it's just a 9VDC plugpack and a 7805 regulator. anti-static devices equipment if you're wanting to play with CMOS. otherwise a 20 pack of cheap AA dry cells can handle most tasks.... the nice to have list: a second multimeter - go with a digital one for precision readings, and you can also use both together to mesure th status in two parts of the circuit at the same time... a propane blow torch - great for salvaging components from obsolete equipment. a wire stripper - sure you can strip wires using two pairs of pliers but it;s a whole lot easier with one of these... a selection of parts, nuts and bolts and other random hardware solderless breadboard some prototyping board (either stripboard, unconnected perf, or some other connection scheme. As for what to study, you probably are already familiar with digital logic, so got the other way, refresh your knowledge of Ohms's law and kirchoff's current laws. get some practice reaading the resistor colour code. passive RC filter networks. build yourself a LED flasher. Bye. Jasen