Raspberry pi, python and robotics

Gene Heskett gheskett at wdtv.com
Tue Sep 2 20:09:07 CEST 2014

On Tuesday 02 September 2014 12:30:58 Rob Gaddi did opine
And Gene did reply:
> On Sat, 30 Aug 2014 23:39:01 -0700 (PDT)
> Nicholas Cannon <nicholascannon1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I really enjoy engineering at school and we make like fighting robots
> > and stuff(simple stuff of course) and i really enjoy it. I have got
> > a raspberry pi and a decent understanding of python and i want to do
> > make stuff like RC cars and drones and stuff. Also I like
> > electronics. Is there any good places to learn all this stuff like
> > down to the basics of electronics because I have looked around and
> > all the books I have seen just throw some electronics together and
> > say yep thats done. I would like to work on my own projects after I
> > get a grip on the basics. Where could I find some good recourses on
> > this stuff.
> Learn electronics properly, then start thinking about interfacing one
> to the other.  I say this as a professional circuit designer who spends
> a whole mess of time automating things in Python.  If you don't have a
> firm grasp of the underlying basics of electronics as its own thing,
> trying to interface will eat you alive with problems that you don't
> understand because you can't understand the circuitry.
> The best teaching electronics resource I know, hands down, is Horowitz
> and Hill's "The Art of Electronics". The second edition is ancient now,
> but still will teach you everything you need to know.  Even used copies
> are a bit expensive.  That's because it's an excellent book.  It's
> worth the money.
> Next, to learn electronics you need to do electronics. Theory talks the
> walk, molten lead walks the walk. That means copper boards, and a
> soldering iron, and parts, and a DVM, and an oscilloscope.  A function
> generator is a great thing to have as well, but if desperately
> necessary you can live without one. You're still in school, so you
> hopefully have an EE lab there. Take advantage of it. If you don't,
> find some local hackerspace with some gear, otherwise getting up and
> running will cost you a solid $1200 just in gear. LTSpice is a great
> free simulator, and the simulator can help you understand what you
> should be seeing, but there's no substitute for getting your hands
> dirty.
> Start by building the simple stuff: resistor dividers, RC low pass
> filters, etc.  They're trivial, they're boring, and you already
> understand what they should do.  Do them anyhow, you need to get lead
> under your fingernails and a feel for how to make a decent solder joint
> while you're still working the easy stuff because if your solder's crap
> when you start trying to do the more complex stuff you'll never figure
> it out.  Work your way through AofE.  Do the problems, build the
> circuits.  Plan on it taking a solid year before you become "good" at
> it; you're young and have it to spend.
> Actually do all that and you'll understand as much about circuits as
> anyone they're giving an EE degree to these days.  Then you can start.

That is some of the best advice I have seen on an email list, and I am on 
a bunch of them.

Generally I will 2nd that, or 3rd it as the case may be.  It simply cannot 
be emphasized enough.  I am a retired (I'll be 80 on 2 months) broadcast 
engineer who got his diploma from the School of Hard Knocks.  And I am 
still getting my hands dirty, they do fit the tools.

Cheers, Gene Heskett
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
 soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
-Ed Howdershelt (Author)
Genes Web page <http://geneslinuxbox.net:6309/gene>
US V Castleman, SCOTUS, Mar 2014 is grounds for Impeaching SCOTUS

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