How can a wiki help me in this hobby?
by Shawn Jones
One of the most daunting tasks in electronics is where to start. I have learned a great deal of information from just reading articles and studying the projects of others. But what if someone is new to electronics? Where can the beginning hobbyist find information on the Internet that will help them along the way. The Internet is a vast ocean of information on any topic you can think of, today I will show you some resources that I find to be helpful to anyone that is looking to participate and have fun in this hobby.
One of the biggest sources of information that I have found is the Wikipedia, more specifically, the Wikiversity. This is a place to visit and bookmark if you are serious about learning this hobby. The Wikiversity is a community based project related to the famous Wikipedia. To quote the Wikiversity introduction:
"Wikiversity strives to be an open and vibrant community where you can explore and learn about your personal interests. Wikiversity hosts and develops free learning materials for all age groups."
Wikiversity is divided into separate portals, each for a different learning subject. The one that is most useful to us is the Engineering and Technology portal. This portal funnels down to several different engineering and technology disciplines, from electrical engineering to nuclear engineering, it’s all there.
The Department of Electrical Engineering is a good starting place to learn about electricity at a fundamental level, basic Ohm’s law stuff. The Department of Electronic Engineering dwells more into the delicate and magical science of electronics.
Wikiveristy is a great resource for not only the new hobbyist, but for the skilled engineer too. The wiki is based on community participation and there are many subjects to be written about and content added. The knowledgeable hobbyist or professional can (and should) contribute content to the project to ultimately help the community.
Another wonderful resource is Wikibooks, think of Wikibooks as an on-line open source library. It is a wonderful resource to find information on a vast array of subjects as well. Wikibooks picks up where the Wikiversity left off. There are books on A/D conversion, Basic Electricity, and Circuit Theory. Materials can also be found on things such as serial communication and USB.
Now you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. The same applies, you need to have the discipline to read and comprehend the information that is presented before you. Simply reading the material won’t help you at all, you need to understand and apply what you have learned.
One of my final resources is the Internet itself, sites such as uC Hobby and others are a community of like minded individuals, all of which started somewhere, look at the projects of others, read all the articles that you can, and ask questions as needed. Use Google to locate other resources and projects to inspire yourself for that next project you haven’t even though of yet.
About Shawn Jones:
Former active duty Marine, now back home with a lovely wife Elizabeth and son Mikey.