Free Electronics Tutorials by a Professional Electronics Engineer

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Hello, my name is Michael and I am a professional Electronics Engineer. Welcome to my free electronics tutorials site.

Okay, if you only need the resistor color code, go here: Resistor color code

This site is brand new, so please be patient and check back often. The free electronics tutorials, including the basic electronics tutorials, are only a part. It may take more than one site by the time I'm done, but this will be (hopefully) a great place to learn electronics, whether your are a college engineering student, just starting out as a technician, or are just looking for a great hobby. I intend to have something for everyone.

Let me say this from the beginning.

Believe in yourself!

One of the best quotes that illustrates the importance of this, rather than letting someone discourage you, no matter how well established, famous, or important they (think they) are, comes from one of Albert Einstein's college professors (who's name escapes me):

"Find another line of work Einstein. You'll never amount to anything in physics."


So, after spending a few weeks setting up the pages, and putting in a little in the basic electronics tutorials, I've decided that I should concentrate on getting the Projects Pages up first, then move on to the general electronics tutorials.

That way, those who already know some electronics, and may not need the free electronics tutorials or even the basic electronics tutorials, may still have a reason to stop by.

In many cases, those just starting out will learn electronics as well as just having built something since I plan to give mini-tutorials where necessary that will be specific to each project.

May 17th 2015.

I'm sorry for not posting as quickly as I would have liked. I have been doing a lot of programming in LabVIEW (Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench) to help show the projects in the real world, instead of just some oscilloscope screens or PSPICE simulation graphs that may not mean much to those who are just getting started.

I love the acronyms... They even have a development board they call ELVIS (Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite. (Uh..Thank you...thank you very much.)

I'm trying to put together some helpful experiments that can be done with a low cost data acquisition (DAQ) unit such as NI's (National Instruments) USB 6009, or the Vernier SensorDAQ with plug in sensors.

So far, it seems that most of the people who visit the site are only looking for the resistor color code, (or colour code). But maybe one or two would like to delve further and learn basic electronics and would find these free electronics tutorials helpful.

After all, if someone is just now learning the resistor color code, there should be room for more to learn. :-) There is more to basic electronics than just the resistor color code.

Since most of my lab equipment is not connected to the computer, I would have had to take pictures and scan them in. With LabVIEW, I can create virtual instruments (VIs) and place the plots or data directly.

I think it will be worth the wait for you. I'll probably include (somewhere) a LabVIEW tutorial and provide the VIs (LabVIEW programs) along with some suggestions for what equipment to get. I'm thinking about making some kits to go along with the electronics tutorials to make studying easier.

That way, these free electronics tutorials will not only instruct, but give you actual experience that you can take with you. If you are a technician or planning to be, LabVIEW skills will increase your worth to a potential employer considerably. Trust me on that one.

A good way to track site progress is to click the site blog button. This is updated automatically every time I change a page...even if just correct a typo... It's annoying, but it's better than nothing. :-)

Once the site is completed, you'll have many levels of electronics tutorials from which to choose besides basic electronics, anywhere from hobbyist to graduate engineering student, and even a little for the working professional who needs to expand his or her knowledge base in a different direction.

Most of these free electronics tutorials are aimed at those who want to learn by building, which has been a big part of my life too...(yes...I still make things, and love it) :-). The how and why it works information will be fully addressed in the science tutorials.

Usually there will be a link from the subject tutorial. For example: If you are studying capacitors, and want to know what they are made of and how they work, there will be a link to the Physics tutorial page dealing with capacitors. The math, when there is some, will be fully explained and there will be fully worked examples.

And of course, the engineering level classes (EE) will have the deepest level of explanation for those who have the math background, although, math just tells you how much something works, not how and why. There will be a lot of "how and why" in the physics lessons. After all, engineering is really just applied physics.

If you are new to electronics, you might want to just follow the free electronics tutorials buttons in order from top to bottom, starting with the Basic Components link, finishing up with Op Amps.

Each subject builds on the previous link until you get past the Op Amps. By then you should have no trouble learning something more to your particular interest. Mixed Signal is a good place to continue with and it leads right into sensors. This group of basic subjects will carry you through most of what you do.

TECHNICIANS: I was a technician before becoming an engineer, so if you are a new electronics technician, or are thinking of becoming a technician, there will also be lessons that teach proper soldering, including surface mount, and construction methods. These should be very helpful to you. Some newer electronics technicians may also benefit from the more advanced and EE tutorials as well. If you need a refresher, the free electronics tutorials will probably have what you are looking for.

ENGINEERING STUDENTS: Follow this link to the Engineering Classes or select the "Engineering Classes" button. Those that start with "EE" will be at the level of college engineering classes. Have your calculators ready.

ADVANCED TUTORIALS: Later I will add some advanced subjects, such as microwave engineering, fiberoptics, and the types of things that you are more likely to learn through work than in a college class. I'll make these accessible to all levels where I can. Basically, just skip the math if you want to learn the concepts only. :-)

PROJECTS: If you already have some experience, you may want to skip the free electronics tutorials and go directly to the various project pages and start building. That has always been my favorite thing to do. Studying is fine (and necessary) but I like to build things! And don't sweat the math. I'll include what you need for each step, and the project pages will have what you need, fully explained.

There's a saying by Confucius:

I hear and I forget;

I see and I remember;

I do and I understand.

When I was younger, I used to try to learn by wiring up circuits from a magazine, not knowing why or how they worked. Well...if we learn by observation, then I can say that I came to believe that what made a circuit work was that the components contained blue smoke. This was confirmed when I applied power and some component started releasing blue smoke, causing the circuit to stop working.

Here, in the free electronics tutorials, we'll avoid the blue smoke method if we can.

About me: My career has been mostly in sensors, instrumentation, and testing, including rocket sleds and fiber optic guided missiles, but I also spent several years developing underwater vehicles and teleoperated vehicles (when you turn your head, the camera "head" in the remote vehicle mimics your movement. Same with arms, hands, etc). We used both RF and fiberoptic links.

Besides my new venture of providing free electronics tutorials :-) I'm now doing consulting and forensic engineering, That's where a product fails and I have to figure out why, or in some cases to show that the claimant in a law suit just made up something to try to get money. I'll make up a page to tell you about some interesting cases.

You won't believe what some people try to get away with! Including, a man who had just died of a heart attack, being dragged out onto the lawn by his brother and placed next to an electric mower. The brother then filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, claiming electrocution!!! You'll never guess what the tip-off was...

I know that you've come here more to learn electronics and how to build things rather than study theory, so I'll do my best to place circuit ideas all throughout the lessons, and more on the pages just for projects.

Well...happy learning!!

...and try not to breathe too much of that blue smoke...:-)

I buy most of my electronics parts from JAMECO Electronics   (I also buy from Digikey, and Mouser, but I don't have links to paste in yet) Jameco is geographically close (a few hundred miles) and my UPS orders always arrive the next business day without having to pay for next-day service.

They ship the same day if you order before noon Pacific time. Click the picture below or the link above and it will open in a new window so you don't have to leave my site to buy your parts.

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Please Read This
Please read this: A few thoughts on the direction of this page, and personal conduct.
Michael's Electronics Tutorials Blog
The electronics tutorials blog lets you track updates and additions to the site. The site is brand new, so please check often.
Resistor Color Code
Learn the Resistor Color Code. Resistors are one of the most basic building blocks in electronics.
Basic Components for Electronics: Passive Components
Learning the basic components used in electronics and how they work. These are the foundation of everything you will build. There will be learning projects as well as useful things you can build.
Basic Formulas
Basic formulas that were scattered throughout the basic tutorials but all in one place
Other Formulas
Other Formulas: A collection of some of the more useful formulas you can keep handy.
Analog electronics
Analog electronics: We live in an analog world. Sensors are mostly analog, that at times get converted to digital. Don't skip over this if you want to use sensors.
Transistors Page 1
Transistors come in different types and have different uses. This page explores this and gives a gereral overview
Digital Electronics
Digital electronics describes the components that make up a digital system and we'll see some of the things you can make with them.
Op Amps
Op Amps (Operational amplifiers) are among the most versitile of the active components. Just see what you can make!
Filters, all in their own section. Both active and passive, and maybe some DSP.
Electromagnetics: The Lite Version
electromagnetics: The Lite Version. Concepts, little, if any math. Very helpful for undertstanding antennas and fields.
Mixed Signal
Mixed signal means both digital and analog components in the same device. The best of both worlds.
A description of various types of sensors you can use to explore your world
Solar Power
Solar power and photoelectric effect
Motors: An overview of the different types. Then move on to the specific types in pages that follow.
Microcontrollers can replace a LOT of discrete components, the way ICs replaced a zillion transistors. Here's an intro.
Communications Basics
Communications: The basics of communications methods from AM to Fiber Optics
Modulators of all kinds on their own pages
Antennas: A description of how antennas work and some of the different designs.
Acoustics and some of the fundamentals that can lead to some interesting tests and projects
Engineering Classes
Engineering classes for EE majors. Have your calculator ready...
Physics 1
Physics 1:The basics of Classical (Newonian) Physics, Forces and Motion
Physics 2
Physics 2 Electricity and Magnetism,with some applications
New Projects
New projects added in the last 30 days.
Basic Projects
Basic projects using the basic 4 components R,L,C,D. Some useful applications as well. Good practice.
Analog Projects
Some analog projects to include power supplies,batery chargers, and motor controllers. Some good lab tools as well.
Antenna Projects
Antenna projects to make a variety of antennas for diverse applications
Acoustics Projects
Acoustics projects that can give you a better understanding of how useful sound can be, including the ultrasound (ultrasonic) equipment doctors use to look at unborn children.
Multisystem Projects
Multisystem Projects: Here is where you can combine what you've learned to make many interesting and useful as well as fun items for your home or workshop.
Science Fair Projects
Science Fair Projects: Here is where you can find something for the science fair to amaze all who attend!
All Projects
All Projects that are found on this site. A fun place to go after looking at the tutorials.
Parts and Kits
Sources for parts and kits to go along with the tutorials and projects.