Good advice for all my students;

The electronics shop guy said this:


When I was building circuits in my early days, I struggled a lot.

I found many circuit diagrams with different types of components. And I had to go to my local electronics shop to buy them.

At the store, I didn’t want to admit that I had no idea what I was doing, so I always pretended to know everything.

I was afraid this electronics guru would just laugh about how little I knew.

But one day, the guy behind the counter asked me a really hard question about a chip.

Something around if I was going to use the chip in astable or monostable mode. I had no idea, so I just said one of the alternatives to hope he would stop asking.

…but then he continued “oh, that’s interesting, so how will you connect the resistors?”

It was game over. I had no idea how to answer his question. And I was prepared to be laughed at by this electronics guru behind the counter.

But he didn’t laugh. Instead he started teaching me thing about what I was planning to make.

And from then on, every time I went to the shop, I was no longer afraid to admit I didn’t know it all.

I have learned a lot since then.

I’ve even built a device that can see through walls:

But I still don’t know it all.

What I DO know now, is…

…where I can find information!

I know some good online resources, I know some good books, and I have a lot of smart friends that I can ask.

And knowing where to find information, is much more important than trying to memorize everything.

The “secret ingredient” to becoming good at building electronics is:


Yes it’s simple. But many people don’t do it.

The first roadblock is often:
“Where do I start?”

There’s a lot of information on this available on the web. Also on my blog.

Here’s what I suggest. Follow these steps to get started:

Step 1:
Get yourself a breadboard and some basic components.
Learn about the breadboard here:

Step 2:
Build a super simple circuit. An LED with a resistor. And get the LED to light up.
Also, understand why you need the resistor.
(Click here for a hint:

Step 3:
Build this light-sensor circuit:

That should get you started.

Keep on Soldering!

Text source: an email from Oyvind