Join Date: Jun 2006
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I know this might sound like a strange suggestion, but how about going to radio shack and get yourself an electronics experimenters kit and just fool around with the components for a while. Things you'll want to learn about include diodes, batteries, resistors, rectifiers, capacitors, solar cells, and various other components. Get yourself an inexpensive multi-meter and have at it, total investment probably 100$us.
One thing that helped me early on was working with miniature systems like 6 watt solar panels, small 12vdc lead acid batteries (about the size of your fist), and things like that. It all makes a lot more sense if you can hook a volt meter up to a solar panel and see the voltage under various lighting conditions, then measure it while you are charging a battery, etc.
These days you can get a scope that hooks to a computer for a few hundred $us, a multi-meter for easily less than 50$us, etc. Using those to build a few simple circuits can really do most people a world of good.
What are you pretending not to know ?
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