Join Date: Jun 2006
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My advice would be to work on perception, and that involves tools. The hardest part for most people who have never worked with electricity before is that it isn't tangible, they can't see it, it is too abstract, so the solution to that is to find a way to make it tangible and the way you do that is with tools that help you "see" what is going on. Multi-meter is a good place to start. With a basic DMM you can see voltage, resistance, and amps if you know what you are doing, but more than likely if you try to see amps you'll just ruin the meter. You can perceive much more if you invest in more serious tools, these days you can get logic analyzers and oscilloscopes for a few hundred $us, and these let you actually see the waves and patterns that the electricity is making which is extremely helpful. Being able to "see" is extremely useful, especially for someone who doesn't know already what is going on, because electrical problems can be diagnosed by people without any tools at all, but you have already know what is going on to be able to do that. It is like a car mechanic who can figure out what is going on inside of an engine just by how it "feels", people who are experienced with electricity can do the same thing, they just have an intuitive idea of what is going on, a model in their mind that is very similar to reality, but newbies need tools to augment their senses so that they can perceive what is happening.
It is funny, most people in electronics would tell a person new to it not to spend money on something expensive like a scope, and yet they have one themselves and count it as one of their most important tools. I think that is cultural, that is, I think it is a left over idea from the days when scopes were very expensive, but these days anyone can own a scope.
What are you pretending not to know ?
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