DIY learning resources

From circuitbending to homebrew stompboxes & synths, keep the DIY spirit alive!

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Common Wiggler
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DIY learning resources

Post by handsfelloff » Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:01 am

Hey wigglers!

This is my first appearance here so hello! Although I have been lurking around the muff street corners trying to absorb as much diy electronics knowledge floating around here from the many experts.

I wanted to start a thread to share quality diy electronics learning material to help people like myself wanting to build and understand diy circuits.

From my point of view i am after some comprehensive step by step self learning course material that does not jump in at the deep end or bail out at the shallow end. Rather guiding the novice through circuit principle physics and theory backed up with practical experimentation taking them to a level where a schematic makes sense and having and idea how to implement design ideas. Plus make some useful and interesting circuits along the way!

heres some I have found that will hopefully be useful and help get the ball rolling..

(novice - intermediate)
my favorite at the moment. this really fulfills my above wishes from the basics to building tube preamps
all the way making sense of the theory with practical experiments. everything you need to start. very nice resource :hail:
Good for an uncluttered insight into the basic circuit components and simple physics/math theory

Electronics for Music Synthesis Course Online (Listed by B13 previously)
A great video resource a full uni course online!
Funny guy....he prances around when he gets excited about circuits
A pity he left auto focus on which can make his board work hard to follow...but hey its free!..Also to bear in mind after scribbling math equations on the board and saying "anyway you guys know all this but any questions?" its futile to raise a hand... so this is a course for people who have the basics under their belt. however even for the novice its worth watching some then jumping to the Internet to find ask questions..

Anyway hello wigglers hope this is of some use and I will watch out with interest for any other resources. Plus will add more to this thread as I come across them


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Roycie Roller
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Post by Roycie Roller » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:14 pm

Welcome! They are some nice links there- Aaron Lanterma's course looks well worth investigating. The freek website is a favourite for CMOS information & theory (schematic symbols, etc). I found Curious Inventor's soldering videos very helpful when i started out-

I tend to bookmark stuff i _plan_ to come back to, but instead i find that i do all my learning when i've got a pcb in front of me that needs to turn into a working circuit, and i learn from the BOM's, notes, and others' trials & errors, while making many of my own along the way (errors). I'm kind of gleaning my way to a self-built modular. But ultimately i want to be at a level where i'm confident enough to build a tube synthesizer (hopefully by the end of 2009).
There are some really exciting DIY circuits being researched and shared on the electro-music forum, and of course Bridechamber seems to be an ever-expanding one-stop shop for excellent kits.

If there's one thing that i see referred to all the time as a benchmark for DIY synth circuits, it's Electronotes-

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Roycie Roller
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Post by Roycie Roller » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:49 am

Holy crap, i just stumbled across this goldmine-

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Shameless plug...

Post by det3 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:18 am

This is something I've maintained and advertised on the Synth-DIY list in the past:

Det3 Synthesizer Book List

I've got everything in there from general engineering books for AC/DC and semiconductors up to bad-ass digital processing and crazy filters.

Plus, if I'm missing anything in print or in treeware format, please let me know.

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Post by auricle » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:38 am

Hi, this is my first post. Hello all!!

I'm just starting to dip my toes into electronics as I plan to build some modules from other people's designs and perhaps even design my own one day.

This thread is a great resource and I'm learning a lot from some of these links. Can I recommend to make this post a sticky?

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Post by Luka » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:59 am

yeah sure
i think this has merit as a resource

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Post by Luka » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:18 am

ok ive been working on some circuits today and had some little calculators that helped me a bunch

resistive divider calculator

basic ohms law calc

parallel and series resistance

resistor power dissipation

also a page that has come in extremely hand is ... plications

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Common Wiggler
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Understanding Input/output Impedance, pcb design and diy pcb

Post by handsfelloff » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:14 pm

Some great links guys.

A few more fish from my daily web trawls...

Impedance a practical understanding and nice tutorials ... impedance/

A nice practical explanation (not too in your face math) on the input impedance subject.
Also generally a good practical happy electronics focused on guitar stompbox for beginners and another perspective for intermediate refesh(helped me audibly click on the impedance subject). Also check out the other electronics tutorials some nice simple and uncluttered circuit explanation.

PCB Layout design ... alRevA.pdf

A Brilliant guide to get you on the right road to designing your homebrew-professional pcb's.

DIY PCB on a shoestring it works well and really cheap

A couple of simple step by step tutorials tp great consistantly good pcb etches with toner transfer and magazine paper. Much cheaper than press N peel infact just the cost of toner ink! I can say it works just as well.

Hope these are of use.


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Post by fracinfrucer » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:21 am

I have been looking at the faceplate etching thread and wondering if there are any good resources or books for teaching metal work that would apply to DIY? I wouldn't know where to begin trying things like some of you are doing. I have wondered how people get silkscreened letters on their own DIY creations, even just drilling holes in metal, etc. I have noticed most DIY metal work books are focused towards jewelry making.

I've never even drilled holes in metal and from what I've found online you need to use a drill press, place a piece of wood behind where you will drill, drill front to back, etc... and I was wondering where all of you started since it seems more complicated than I thought. Or am I overcomplicating things? Thanks for any suggestions!

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Post by vinnui » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:35 am

My DIY modular workblog:

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Post by fracinfrucer » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:28 pm

Yeah, ignore me. I think I just had a mental block hoping I wouldn't need to buy a drill press for what seemed in my mind such small jobs...

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Scope Tutorial

Post by frijitz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:04 pm

Here's a halfway decent tutorial on how to use a scope: ... AGuide.pdf



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Post by eighthday42 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:05 am

Just found a really good source for soldering techniques. A bunch of short professional how to videos. Link below.
Tweak those knobs and finger the faders!

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Post by talks » Fri May 20, 2011 3:21 am

Useful links! :tu:

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Post by schmidtc » Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:44 am

This MIT open courseware electronics class is pretty goo. ... -lectures/

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Post by Fuubjuh » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:47 am

Coolness Thx

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Post by decaying.sine » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:08 am

schmidtc wrote:This MIT open courseware electronics class is pretty goo. ... -lectures/
Nice. :tu:
"I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create." William Blake

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Post by J3RK » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:14 pm

This one is interesting. Can't remember where I found it, (probably here somewhere.)

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Post by Juxwl » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:52 am

Wow! This is what I've been looking for. :party:

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Post by satindas » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:28 am

MIT OCW just got a whole lot better, the full 6.002 course is up for grabs online and for free !!!!
These are bizarre manifestations of untamed high-frequency parasitic oscillations...

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Post by causticlogic » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:28 am

Great information!
I'm starting to get bit by the DIY bug. A month or so ago, I had this dream about this polyphonic, semi-modular synth box that I am determined someday to create.
Realistically, I'm a ways off from that but these resources will give me a good start on trying reverse engineer my "dream synth".

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Post by craque » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:38 pm

I realize that these aren't "online" resources but I'm rarely "online" when I'm tinkering/building/breadboarding so they do me very well.

Everything listed here except for the first book were published after I started into the DIY world of audio, and after spending literally DAYS of searching and reading electronics tutorials and articles online, they have become my 'go-to' stack for reference and inspiration.

1. If you aren't familiar with Forrest Mims, get familiar with him. I just picked up Vol I. of his "Engineer's Mini Notebook" series, which is titled: Timer, Op Amp & Optoelectronic Circuits & Projects. It should have been titled: The Building Blocks of Analog Modular Synthesis, and I wish I had discovered it five years ago when I first started into building this stuff, cause it is indispensable. All the "how do i build a 555 timer?" and "how do i correctly power an opamp?" or "what frequencies do i get if i change these resistors?" questions that you search for hours on the Internet? It's all in here - there's even a chapter on photocouplers - aka 'varactors' - which are used a lot for CV audio systems.

2. Another specific project-oriented book but much more glossy and full of awesome examples and a DVD (which I haven't gotten around to watching yet, shame on me) is Handmade Electronic Music by Nicolas Collins. This one is specific to DIY audio hacking and electronic building, covering everything from building oscillators (different chips than the Mims books!) to circuit bending and experimental electronics.

3. Make has started releasing awesome print publications (I have two of the Maker's Notebooks and love them). The one I've found the most applicable and helpful to audio DIY is by Charles Platt and is one of the first: Make: Electronics. Simple, easy to understand tutorials on the foundations of... well, making stuff. With Electronics.

4. Finally the most general of all of them but something that is a great learning resource for a wide range of electronic applications, by Michael Jay Geier, How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic. The title doesn't lie. Every chapter is basically a Cliff's Notes on that particular subject or piece of equipment, summarizing how it works, what might go wrong with it or often does, and how to troubleshoot and fix it. It also includes quick introductions to fundamentals of physics and other things related to electronic parts and machines... and most importantly to us, a wonderful introduction to oscilloscopes and how to both choose and use them.

All these books together will probably cost you as much as a good VCO module! :lol: But they are worth it, I highly recommend any of these to the DIY audio muffer.

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Post by executiveBlaster » Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:28 pm

This "DIY Audio Articles" page is great! Very in depth, lots of subjects. Some great info on being electrocuted (how not to, of course) as well.


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Post by lysander » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:37 am

MIT course on semi-conductors, from physics to circuit design: ... fall-2009/

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Post by iopop » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:52 am

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