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Where/when did you start in electronics?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Splodgeness, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Splodgeness

    Splodgeness Tele-Meister

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    Not sure if this is the right forum...... but was just musing about where it all began for me and wondered how others got into it?

    I got one of these at Christmas 1970 and it sparked my interest

    [​IMG]

    Around the same time I got into prog-rock and was fascinated by moog synthesisers so when this edition of a magazine appeared on a newstand I bought it straight away.....

    [​IMG]

    I never got around to building this version and dabbled with various small projects that never really worked the way they were supposed to; eventually in 1979 I took the plunge and made this baby......

    IMG_20201030_100717584_BURST000_COVER_TOP[1].jpg

    After that the floodgates opened and I built all kinds of stuff, a string synth, a few S/S amps, a sequencer, MIDI interfaces, drum machines, various effects units etc.

    I'm still using this rack that I built in the early 80's as part of my home studio set-up.....

    IMG_20201030_100530245[1].jpg

    How did it all begin for you?
     
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  2. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I always had a fascination for electronics , in grade 9 I built 27 of the 31 final projects for the class the teacher wanted to bump me to grade 11 electronics but my family could not afford the cost of the projects , a 500 watt power amp , and its been with me ever since .

    the final project was a a transister based oscillator police siren , which I turned into a small synthesizer , that played mary had alittle lamb with switch operated veriable capacitence . and i used the 9 volt power supply i built to power it.
     
  3. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I built an Eico 36 watt integrated stereo amp when I was 13. Did some EE at college, but transferred to ME.
     
  4. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Started building some effects pedal kit some time in the mid/late 60s, though few were successful.
    At the same time doing basic maintenance & repairs on amps.
     
  5. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Holic

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    My uncle is a tech and ham radio guy, always tried to push the kits on me as a kid. I never really got into it, music was my thing. I wanted a synthesizer in college and I couldn’t afford a lot of the stuff. So I started building some utilities (mixers, attenuators, diode/transformer ring mods) from scratch to save money. Then I bought a neglected bassman really cheap with the idea of fixing it up. Then a few years later the kit stuff (as opposed to just pcbs) for eurorack synths exploded, and I realized how easy those were and built a bunch. Then I started building stuff like oscillators and filters from scratch. And a tube amp. That’s when the floodgates really opened. I went back to community college for a lowly tech degree.
     
  6. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    I started on one of those 1960s Radio Shack electronics experiment stations with various controls hard-mounted on the front panel and other components mounted on a breadboard back panel. You got spring connectors and a box of wires and components and a manual that showed you how to make over 100 devices.

    From there I was my father's assistant as he put together amplifiers and a ham receiver and other projects. He taught me to solder and stay alive and we built and repaired all sorts of devices.

    Through a series of steps, running the P.A. system wherever I was, being the high-school projectionist, repairing guitar amps, etc., I ended up studying electronic music and recording engineering in college and now I are one (a recording engineer). I've been a professional electron jockey for forty years.

    Bob
     
  7. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    In the early 90's, a friend got an old tweed Princeton. I thought it sounded much better than many amps I was hearing. I set about to get one, but couldn't afford it. So I read up a little - there wasn't a lot available before the internet! I saw a thing called 'a schematic', and it looked like there weren't many parts. So I decided to try and put one together on the cheap.

    Of course, as I went along I had to learn what a resistor was, and a capacitor, and all that technical stuff. I never did build the Princeton, because I stumbled across some surplus parts that enabled me to build a 5f6a Bassman copy. It was WAY over my non-existent skill leverl, but somehow I got it done.
     
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Repairing a vacuum cleaner at 12 was kind of a milestone.
    I grew up on a farm and repairing things was half the way of getting anything done.

    Building a Radio Shack multi-meter kit a little later, maybe 15, because that was the least expensive path to getting a meter. Seemed like there were only five hundred dollar Flukes or nothing then. Or a $15 meter kit.

    I still have the meter and use it from time to time when it's handy to grab.

    .
     
  9. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    1979. U.S. Army Missile and Munitions Center and School, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala. Trained as a Guided Missile Maintenance Officer (73A). Covered guidance systems, launch systems, radar systems and other more esoteric devices and systems as well as general Officers training. Electronics instructor was a Major with the Royal Army's Engineers.
     
  10. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    This book, when I was 9ish

    makingatransistorradio.jpg

    It took some time to get the components together, little by little from the local Tandy ( UK arm of Radio Shack ), but get them I did, and it worked!
     
  11. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Started tinkering in 3rd grade... Really: my teacher had a box of switches, light bulbs, buzzers, erc. and a bunch of the big old dry cells. Always took things apart, but only sometimes put them back together. Then I took the electronics tech classes at HS, ... then a couple degrees, and still in the field today. Worked at Motorola for ten years in the 1990s when it was a good place to be. Then smaller companies and on my own. I've done a few music related projects, pickguards, pedals, but enjoy playing and learning about music more. I will do more projects after I retire.
     
  12. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    This. I suspect I am not alone.
    epfm.jpg

    Later, this:
    96angela a team.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  13. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    I had one of those Philips boxes. Good times!
     
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  14. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Just last year. My little Vox Pathfinder developed a problem, and I didn't want to spend $100 on repairs for a $150 amp.
    It turned out to be a bad pot, which I am proud to say I was ultimately able to diagnose and replace all by myself. Bought a soldering kit, learned to solder, put it all back together. Perfect. I don't know how much a tech would have charged me, but the new pot cost like $5. Very happy. Considering doing my own pickup swap next.
     
  15. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Age 40, with an arduino. I had done some tiny bit of soldering on pedals and amps in the past, and some cursory study of Pittman's tube amp book. But I didn't really dive into trying to figure out circuitry until I decided I wanted to make a little robot. I learned a ton, but eventually got burned out a bit on computer, digital stuff, and programming. That stuff is really pretty hard for a dummy like me.

    About that time a friend gave me an SF Champ that he said needed work.... I joined TDPRI looking for speaker recommendations. Then it became apparent the amp really did need work. I figured it was time to dive in. It's all been downhill since then, I'm afraid.

    Here’s me trying to figure out fuzz circuits. At some point I got the circuit learning kit for my kids. They never used it, so I commandeered it. I did make a fuzz circuit. I have not been able to translate it to an actual pedal yet, despite several tries.

    4C7FB882-E449-4E7D-A38A-013263DA3A46.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  16. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Holic

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    I was the kid who by the evening of Christmas day, had taken apart and put back together all of his gifts.

    Started hopping up slotcars at an early age. Used that knowledge to fix my mom's sewing machine.

    When I was a teen, my parents said I could have a tv in my room if I could fix the 12" portable I found in the alley. Got it to work by just pokinaround inside. Lucky I didn't get shocked or killed.

    While in highschool, I messed around with an old Wollensek tube tape machine and played bass through it.

    All this was the precursor for a life-changing event. In 1985, I found a 1964 blackface Deluxe Reverb at a pawnshop for $20. When I turned it on, it smoked. A couple of resistors were burned. I took the parts and tubes into a tiny radio repair shop. The nice old guy there tested the tubes and got me some resistors. He only chrged me $3 and threw in a used Mullard GZ34, that is still working 35 years later. I replaced the parts and the amp came to life.

    This was life changing, because it started me playing electric and also because it got me interested in audio and electronics as a career. I went on to get an EE, worked in power conversion and aerospace for about 20 years. Got laid off in all the 2008 badness, but quicky landed a job at a major audio company, where I can combine my love of music and electronics.
     
  17. 6stringcowboy

    6stringcowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Kits and then electronics class in high school.
     
  18. gabeNC

    gabeNC TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    About 9 years old, found an old lamp cord, stripped the ends and wired it to a small 1.5v dc motor... plugged it in and promptly blew the circuit breaker, heckuva spark and half the lights in the house go out. Over the years played with various car stereos, amps, taking things apart and then in the early 90's USAF electronics school for digital telephone switching. Hobbies are microcontrollers, etching circuit boards, raspberry pi, fixing amps for friends. I too have the electronics for musicians book.
     
  19. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I started bu selling all the different grades of wire to electricians. Then got offered a job at Philips and then as an electronics technician for our communications giant Telecom ( Now Telstra). Went on to University and made stereo systems for people through my contacts at Philips and financed my way through university.
    All guitars and amps are simple circuits when you know how to read them. Ended up lecturing in electronics and the associated Maths.
     
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  20. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    My grandfather, cousin, uncle, and dad all tinkered with electronics at various levels. In the 60's you could get these little red plastic kits from Radio Shack and I recall getting a 7-note "organ" and single tube AM radio that I built. My dad also had two 1/4" tape recorders - one of which had caught on fire and burned up. At some point I got a soldering iron and took all the parts out, marvelling at the wire wound resistors mostly. Believe it or not I still have some of those!

    I got a bunch of Popular Electronics magazines from the local library and some ham radio books but that stuff was way over my head with all the superheterodyne stuff. I really liked looking at schematics though.

    I worshipped the Lafayette and Allied Electronics catalogs and my dad would let me order stuff from them from time to time.

    In high school I got a stereo audio amplifier kit from SWTPC (or something like that). I built it very carefully but it fried when I turned it on anyway. I had no knowledge of circuitry to debug it and it REALLY made me mad, so I told myself I was going to go learn electronics in order to be able to figure out what had happened. And so I did (well, I never fixed that amp, I threw the amp PCBs away). I kept the chassis and power supply and made a PCB that held a couple 20 watt power amp modules.

    Got my BSEE and worked 4 years each at Ampex, then Gallien-Krueger, followed by a series of less interesting jobs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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