Petzold's "Code" Exercises and Simulations
On the recommendation of your book list, I bought a copy of Charles Petzold's book "Code". I'm about half-way done now, and I agree its an awesome book. A lot of the examples he gives, like stringing together relays to make gates, gates to make memory, processors, etc. are great, but I'd really like to "experiment" with that stuff: wire a couple of relays together and watch them work, etc. Do you know of any programs that do simulations like this? There are programs that simulate all sorts of electronics, but they seem to be high-end (i.e. expensive) tools aimed at engineers. How 'bout a learner's sim?
Years ago when I was in college there was a program called PC-SPICE that did this. It may still exist. A low end, cheap version of the program was bundled with various electronics textbooks. The high end version was used by big semiconductor companies to design CPUs.
Can have a look at this...based on the SPICE as well.
Don't use a software emulator - pick up an electronics hobby kit and make the 'trons really do your bidding. If you enjoy it, keep working on it - there are hobbyist methods of building electronics including etching your own PC boards and mounting them in cases.
Just make sure your resistors face in the right direction ;)
You are so evil it's not even funny, Nigel.
You're a married man Philo. Flattery will get you nowhere.
I learned in grad school that all electronic equipment is powered by magic smoke. The proof of this is that if you let out the magic smoke, it doesn't work.
Aaron F Stanton
I'd be interested to meet a EE who hasn't blown a capacitor. Mine was a nice large 120V cap for a power supply - HUGE bang, stunk up the lab for hours.
Mine had some cotton like stuff in them instead of paper. Tried to build a tube amp as I recall. I Actually managed to make it work, but is was noisy as hell. =D
120V eh? I am not worthy!
That really brings back memories.
Steve Jones (UK)
Ahhh I had the Phillips electronic lab some time in the 60's, transistors the size of paperclips. That was the springs in hardboard kind of thing.
When I was a kid, I tried to see what happens if you plug an 8 volt bulb (small one used in flashlights) into the wall socket (they have 220 V in Europe).
In a physics class I took, a professor shorted out a bank of charged capacitors with a piano wire. He called it the "lets kill the instructor experiment". I dont remember the exact voltages, but I remember it was 26 capacitors, and they were all about the size of a 1lb bag of coffee.
Oh gawd, keep the stories coming! I'm in tears now!
We used to fastcharge our Nicad battery packs straight from a simple lab power supply. Sometimes people forget to set the egg timer. !!!!Boem!!!!
Just me (Sir to you)
If you want to build your own circuits, check out an FPGA kit. FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) are chips stuffed full of gates and latches, and a programmable switch network to hook them all up. You draw a schematic of your circuit (or describe it in a language like Verilog or VHDL) and download it into the chip. Presto! You've got a clock, calculator, microprocessor, whatever you want to design. If you want a new design (or to fix the one you just did) just download it again.
"So I put the circuit board on my lap. Plugged the sucker back in, and I lit up like a lightbulb."
As this thread is a trip down memory lane: in the late 60s or early 70s I was teaching a math class to advanced 7th graders. After going through the logic of a half-adder, several girls decided to go to Radio Shack and buy some basic logic chips and try to wire it up ( NANDs, etc ). I think it worked, but I wish I knew what happened to those kids. Did they ever turn into EEs?... ( and yes, I'm showing my age, too! )
Fog Creek Home