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I'm terrible at math and I'm color blind, will I ever be able to learn electronics?
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30th May 2010
Old 30th May 2010
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I'm terrible at math and I'm color blind, will I ever be able to learn electronics?

Kinda feel weird exposing some personal issues to the www, but whatever this is important to me. I have a genuine learning disability when it comes to math. Plus I'm color blind. I tried taking a placement test to a tech school way back when, in high school days and couldn't hack it.

But I desperately want to learn. Can anybody relate and offer some advice? I'm a tinkerer for sure, I'm good at hacking away at things and figuring them out by brute force, but I aspire to make pedals and maybe fix an amp or two. And I don't want to f'in electrocute myself "tinkering". Thoughts?
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#2
30th May 2010
Old 30th May 2010
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The color issue seems to me to be the real hurdle. After all, if you're bad at math, just keep a calculator handy. I have no idea what to do about the color issue unless you RELIABLY and CONSISTENTLY see the same wrong colors and can transpose directions in that way.

Good luck and have fun!
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30th May 2010
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I was going to say just the opposite - when I studied Electronic & Digital Engineering at university (30 years ago) it was mostly maths and quite advanced maths too. Calculus, Matrix Manipulation, Imaginary numbers and all sorts of other stuff that I can't now remember.

I just wanted to do the practical stuff.

I would have thought that coping with color blindness would be far easier to deal with...


Building & tinkering with guitar pedals is probably the safest & easiest way to start.


Good luck.
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30th May 2010
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hi there!

I've been doing electronics professionally and as a hobbyist for a long time. I can tell you that the one main thing you need to learn a logical mind (at least being able to think logically) and be able to read. Then comes the ability to do technical stuff. The ability to do calculus and complex numbers (and by this I mean real and imaginary numbers-for a short introduction read here: http://www.clarku.edu/~djoyce/complex/plane.html )
is not as hyped up as you want to think. The reason this is shown is to enable the student to understand the mathematical demonstrations of electrical theorems and phenomena. You do not need it to solve ordinary electronic math, with consists mostly of four simple equations, square root, powers of numbers, algebra and decimal numbers, including negative numbers. What I just mentionned is absolutley necessary to understand and design electronic circuits. If you want to start learining, buy the book "Getting started in electronics' by Forrest Mims, available at Radio Shack or at a used book store. I've suggested this many people here on this site, like you who wanted to learn electronics.

As far as your color blindness, I can tell you that it has not prevented many people from doing technical jobs, including one person I know well. As long as you can differentiate and associate colors to "normal world" colors (which I'm sure you can) the you'll be fine.

My final suggestion is learning the main units of electrical measure and the difference between them:
- Volts (potential)
- Ohms (resistance)
- Amperes (current)
- Watts (power)

Go study now!

take care,

2N
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30th May 2010
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When I was getting my MS EE diploma in 1981 there were no color codes in Russia. All values were written on resistors and capacitors. Today all resistors should be measured, if you are color blind... It is easy using an ohmmeter. Speaking of math, mostly an elementary arithmetic is needed. I am sure you can do that. If not, I second what people said about calculator.

I have another problem: I need +1.25 glasses to use computer, and +3.0 glasses to solder. It is very inconvenient. I would rather use a calculator and a ohmmeter.
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30th May 2010
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All these posts above should inspire you to continue with your interest in electronics, be smart and safe!
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31st May 2010
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Yes! You most certainly can learn electronics! I was a total math klutz throughout high school and college (the '70s). That all changed in the '80s with the advent of the personal computer. Nowadays you sit back and let Mr. Computer crunch the numbers. To this day I still marvel at how easy it is compared to my school years. You can get a free spreadsheet program (OpenOffice.org) and plug in the equations yourself and you are ready to go. I calculate gains and make conversions from volts to decibels and back with ease. There are also on-line calculators you can use.

In addition to the above you will also use logarithms, which on a spreadsheet program is as easy as entering =LOG(x) where "x" is the number you want the log of. To calculate gain in decibels simply enter =20*LOG10(V2/V1) where V1 is the input voltage and V2 is the output voltage. You also want to know Ohm's law. See here: http://www.reuk.co.uk/OtherImages/ohms-law.gif

Remember:

E is voltage (volts)
I is current (amps)
R is resistance (ohms)
P is power (watts)
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31st May 2010
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im with you. i was thinking about going to a technical college for electronics.


but when it comes to math im like a monkey flinging my own shit.

if you want to build pedals, PAiA Corporation - Analog Synths, Theremins, Preamps, and More has a book about basic circuits to build your own pedals. this would be a good starting point.

get a multimeter. there cheap and the single most useful tool you can attain. start messing around with that and figuring how to work it. it will be your best friend.

also get a nice soldering station and desoldering station. hakko makes some great stuff, but there pricey. radio shacks desolder tool is the only thing they sell that works. but go to the hardware store and get a weller soldering pencil for now. this setup will take you miles. buy lots of spare tips.

radio shack soldering irons are shit. don't even bother.

also, before putting your soldering gun away, put solder all over the tip. it will save it longer.

youtube, wikipedia, and google are your friends research all topics involved.

as with audio, not many people wanna teach you electronics, at least in my experience. I've burned a number of items trying to fix them and you will too. it just comes with the territory. keep up with it though and you will get better.

i guy i work with is color blind. a major part of our job is telling by sight the color of the metal being heated. he does this better then probably anyone in the plant. he's currently teaching me how to do it. if he can do it, you certainly can too.
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31st May 2010
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Awesome. Thanks for the inspiration guys. Think I'm gonna start by getting that book the last fella recommended about pedals, and also try to build a re-amp box. Not many flammable parts in one of those :P
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one thing you will have a problem with is resister colors. but, if you get a digital multimeter (which i suggest you do anyway's, it's just a hell of alot easier then the analog ones) you can check the resistance of the resitor by setting the multimeter to the appropriate setting, and run the probes on either lead. it should get you close enough to the value. it's probably gonna say a little less then what it's rated for.

resistors can be inserted either way, so they can be checked either way. there not polarized.
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31st May 2010
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I'm red-green colour blind*.

*Note to people with normal vision- 'Colour Blind' does not mean we don't SEE a colour, it means that we have trouble distinguishing between some colours. There isn't a black hole in our vision where that object should be. In the case of red-green colour blindness, the red and green detecting cones overlap in their detection of colour. In my case I can distinguish a bold red and a bold green, its where the colours are muted or pastel that it gets tricky.

Colour blindness affects 8% of males. That's almost 1 in 12...!

I have a lot of trouble with resistor colour codes, red and brown look almost identical, green is tricky too. Those were obviously created by somebody who had not heard of colour blindness!

If I were creating them today it would all be bold primary colours, or even black white and grey stripes and checks.

Personally I have given up trying to use resistor colour codes and just check with a Multimeter. I keep my resistors sorted and labelled until I am ready to fit them.

Quote:
i guy i work with is color blind. a major part of our job is telling by sight the color of the metal being heated. he does this better then probably anyone in the plant. he's currently teaching me how to do it. if he can do it, you certainly can too.
That's interesting. I find that I know I can't trust my eyes with some colours, so I reserve judgement until I am really sure. I get close up to the colour... I find that if the colour fills more of my vision I can get a better hold on it.
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31st May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC1980 View Post
Colour blindness affects 8% of males. That's almost 1 in 12...!

So, why our society is such an anti-human one? Why they don't replace green traffic lights by say blue ones, and remove red or green strips from resistor color codes?

Speaking on multimeters, some are smart enough don't need to be switched between ranges: just connect your resistors to your multimeter and it will switch by itself on Ohms, kiloOhms, or megaOhms.
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31st May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris319 View Post

You also want to know Ohm's law. See here: http://www.reuk.co.uk/OtherImages/ohms-law.gif

Remember:

E is voltage (volts)
I is current (amps)
R is resistance (ohms)
P is power (watts)
It's rather:
you NEED to know Ohm's law, everything else is secondary. You will not advance, and most certainly will not understand nor design anything in electronics if you don't understand the relationship between these parameters. Math, algebra and calculus won't even apply if you do not understand Ohm's law and Kirchoff's law. I know it sounds harsh and tedious because you don't yet know what these are, but it's soo easy to learn...

Put in other words, Ohm's law is the equivalent of knowing how to read and write correctly.
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31st May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2N1305 View Post
It's rather:

Put in other words, Ohm's law is the equivalent of knowing how to read and write correctly.
Gotcha..
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31st May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC1980 View Post
If I were creating them today it would all be bold primary colours, or even black white and grey stripes and checks.
Good idea! Being able to distinguish basic colors doesn't help much when some manufacturer's idea of orange is some weird "burnt brown" color. It's amazing how far they'll go sometimes.

Take Care
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Hey there enroper,

Here are some lectures/videos that are beyond value.

I actually think most of them are deeper than what I went through in college.

For the beginner, or seasoned EE, I'm sure there's plenty here for everyone to learn.

YouTube - nptelhrd's Channel

I really dig these lectures,
Lectures by Prof T.S.Natarajan Department of physics IIT Madras


YouTube - nptelhrd's Channel

I recommend getting a variable powersupply, function generator, solderless breadboard, and DMM (digital multi meter)
Also, the old Simpson analog meters are very valuable. Awesome for checking dirty potentiometers and just a good tool for any tech.

Also pick the brains of those you're around, and those you aspire to be like. I've learned more from individuals I've worked with than I did in school. School taught me the fundamentals, experience taught me the hands on practicality and things that they'll never teach you in school (maybe they don't know)


Good luck to you,

PS... I work with two guys who are color blind. One is a TECH who doesn't have much trouble working on complex digital comm equipment.

The other is our quality manager...
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31st May 2010
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+1 for colorblindness not being a huge problem! I worried the same thing when I started out because I am fairly significantly colorblind, but an ohmmeter works just fine and is more accurate than just reading anyway. Sometimes wires are colorcoded also but more often than not they also have numbering or the other colors aren't that close and are easy to tell apart. I have not run into many problems yet.
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1st June 2010
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Quote:
I have a lot of trouble with resistor colour codes
I do too but it's not due to being color blind. I swear they make those bands smaller and fuzzier with each passing year; it can't be because my eyeballs aren't getting any younger. Wearing reading glasses and a magnifier I can't tell if a band is supposed to be brown or gold, or what shade of blue/purple/violet that band is supposed to be. Who knew they made resistors with 50% tolerance?
Les
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1st June 2010
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Quote:
I do too but it's not due to being color blind. I swear they make those bands smaller and fuzzier with each passing year; it can't be because my eyeballs aren't getting any younger. Wearing reading glasses and a magnifier I can't tell if a band is supposed to be brown or gold, or what shade of blue/purple/violet that band is supposed to be. Who knew they made resistors with 50% tolerance?
In a sense we're all color blind in that situation...the eye cannot see fine detail in color.

I fully agree color blindness is a non issue.

As far as the math...well, i'm an engineer and a math person.

"Left brained" they call it.

I looked at the OP's (enroper) web site. You seem to be more the artistic "right brain" type.

Electrical and electronic engineering is certainly math intensive, as it should be. But you know, I built lots of gear as a teenager before I went to university. I had algebra in the ninth grade- that was about it.

So I say go for it!
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1st June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les View Post

So I say go for it!
thanks man!
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