(Topic ID: 12052)

Electronics courses at community college


By Jobi

7 years ago



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  • 36 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by Allibaster
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    #1 7 years ago

    The only thing I know about electronics is how to plug them in. I'm kidding myself if I think I know anything about fixing pinball. I want to know though. You guys are all great but I need hands-on experience and I can't be bugging my local mentor with every little thing. So I'm thinking back to school.. I don't need a diploma, this is just for a hobby. I'm sure the school is going to tell me to take an entire program, but I'm not down with that. What I am asking you, Pinsiders, is which classes have proven the most valuable to you in this field?

    Thanks!

    #2 7 years ago

    I would think a "basic electronics" course and maybe "reading schematics and diagrams". I would check what courses are offered and then decide what fits best. Sounds cool and good luck.

    #3 7 years ago

    Ha! Welcome to the world of pinball...the best class is the school of hard knocks and trial and error and getting great advice on here!

    As my granddaddy used to say "at least do something, even it's wrong".....when you screw something up you usually won't make that mistake again..

    #4 7 years ago

    Not sure if this will be the best class for pinball repair but I'll know when it starts, I'm enrolled to start 3/5/12. Its worth a shot, just drop out if it doesn't work for you. Its free and it's M.I. fricken T!

    https://6002x.mitx.mit.edu/

    Post edited by herbertbsharp : Forgot to include the link!

    #5 7 years ago

    Thanks for the info. I might take a electronics class in the fall.

    #6 7 years ago

    You wont be doing nothing in regards to "pinball machines"!! No soldering, no nothing! I took an electronics class and no one there knew nothing about pinball, even the instructor didn't even know what a "leaf switch" was, and he held a MASTERS degree in electronics. So I brought one in to show him and he looked at it like a caveman would a lighter!You do learn the color bands on resistors and there purpose. You will learn "kirchoff's law", "Ohm's law", you will learn how to make a circuit. There really wasn't anything hands on except learning to read a multi-meter and take readings off batteries, etc. It was useless really if you wont to learn how to work on pins! I was wanting to learn how to solder on circuit boards, etc. but nothing like that in the first 2 years I went. I learned more by going on pinball websites and researching. Save your money!! You been warned!

    #7 7 years ago

    oh ya hope your EXCELLENT in math? It was all about math! Kinda frustrating to be honest, and a waste of cash that I could have bought another pin with!

    #8 7 years ago

    oh ya hope your EXCELLENT in math?

    You mean to tell me "4+4" DOESN'T = JELL-O?!?

    JELL-O.jpeg

    My mom's sure going to be pissed about this next report card!

    For the record,
    There are plenty of YouTube videos giving you the basics of electronics relating to pinball/board-work and the like. Easiest way to learn is to practice... Find something electronic that you don't use/want anymore (old alarm clock), open it up; then go to town! (Boards, diodes, etc...)
    See if you can make it work again!

    #9 7 years ago

    The only class that will really help with pinball machines would be a class that does a lot of circuit board building and repair. Most electronics or engineering classes are going to spend more time on circuit theory.
    I spent 4 years getting a electrical engineering degree at a major university and I never learned anything from them about soldering. What I know about soldering I have learned on my own (which is not much). Most electrical engineers that have 4-year degrees are paper pushers rather than circuit builders.

    #10 7 years ago

    The only school you need.
    http://randyfromm.com/shopping/

    #11 7 years ago

    "The only school you need.
    http://randyfromm.com/shopping/ "

    I would think that you only need 3 of those DVD sets for Pinball repair:
    1. All You Need beginning electronics...
    2. Diodes, Transistors, other semiconductor..
    3. Easy pinball PC Board repair

    Which is about $130 total.

    Has anybody tried these DVD's? Are they good?

    #12 7 years ago

    I have taken a few courses at my comm college. I already have a BS and have a few college math classes under my belt so some was review, but I think it has helped me immensely.

    The first two courses I took was an AC/DC Circuits class and a Soldering class. I even got certified with the soldering class so that was a nice touch.

    I also had to take an electronics math class which on a scale of 1-10 was a solid 8.5 on the difficulty scale because of the amount of new stuff each week.

    Next I will be taking a digital circuits class.

    The AC/DC circuits class really helped alot since you are taught what a transistor, diode, capacitor, etc etc is and how each functions.

    I would recommend if you have the time and cash...

    #13 7 years ago

    Between Google, and YouTube, you should be able to teach yourself enough basics to keep your pins happy.

    Get a meter, wire, battery, light bulb. Make a circuit so the bulb lights. Measure voltage on your simple circuit.

    Then get a transistor, diode, learn to check them with a meter. So you see what good ones read like. Shorted or open ones will read different.

    Don't worry about high tech or flaky stuff right now.

    Just learn some basics and then apply them to your game.

    If you never soldered before. Get an iron, solder, wire, and sit at your bench and learn to flow solder. Heat metal so solder flows onto and through it.

    Same basics for most repairs in your game. Switch don't work, with your newly acquired skills with your meter, you can now check if switch is opening and closing, and if wires have continuity from switch to board in the head.

    Then apply your detective skills - switch is dead -replace and gets wires and diode back in same spots. Good time to take pictures or notes to help you learn. Switch works, then follow the wire with your meter and find the break.

    Apply same skills to lamps, and coils. Though your switches and lamps are usually part of a matrix, listed in your manual. This helps you know what wires go where.

    GI is usually AC, measure AC voltage hot to common not to ground.

    See, a half hour of practice and you know enough to do some basic repairs.

    You can repair pinball machines. You just don't know it yet.

    You get stuck, then post here. The pinball community is blessed with lots of help.

    You'll gain in knowledge and skill and face your game with more confidence.

    You'll do fine. Just don't over think things and stick to basics.

    LTG

    #14 7 years ago

    Holy S**T!!!! His next classes are in San Diego. I need to sign up, like right NOW!!!!!!!!!

    #15 7 years ago

    gees Nimblepin that Jell-o cake is a work of art
    where did you learn how to do that - awesome work

    #16 7 years ago

    From this cookbook Danica gave me...

    danica-mckellar.jpg

    #17 7 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Between Google, and YouTube, you should be able to teach yourself enough basics to keep your pins happy.
    Get a meter, wire, battery, light bulb. Make a circuit so the bulb lights. Measure voltage on your simple circuit.
    Then get a transistor, diode, learn to check them with a meter. So you see what good ones read like. Shorted or open ones will read different.
    LTG

    Or you could get a 9 volt battery, some wire, and appropriate sized capacitor. If you assemble them in a particular way and put the vinegar into your skin just right, it could be fatal.
    When I was in engineering school our professor told us how an MIT student died this way after eating a sandwich that had vinegar in it which he managed to get on his skin. DC current is hazardous to your health

    #18 7 years ago
    Quoted from DCFAN:

    Most electrical engineers that have 4-year degrees are paper pushers rather than circuit builders.

    #19 7 years ago
    Quoted from Firebaall:

    DCFAN said:

    Most electrical engineers that have 4-year degrees are paper pushers rather than circuit builders.

    Of course, the good thing about the paper pushing from my experience as an EE is that it usually pays more than hands-on work.

    #20 7 years ago
    Quoted from NimblePin:

    There are plenty of YouTube videos giving you the basics of electronics relating to pinball/board-work and the like

    If I'm reading this right, there's a need for even more basic knowledge - 101 stuff like AC vs DC, resistor, caps, diodes and what do they do, etc. It only helps to practice once there's an understanding of the basics.

    I think a course that'd cover the basic 101 stuff should be available at a community college without the need for enrolling in a degree course.

    #21 7 years ago
    Quoted from Jeff_PHX_AZ:

    oh ya hope your EXCELLENT in math? It was all about math! Kinda frustrating to be honest, and a waste of cash that I could have bought another pin with!

    Well yeah, electronics courses generally require some background in math/physics. It's not Home Ec, y'know! (Although basic grammar is apparently not a requirement.)

    I'd recommend a good intro book to electronic components, to learn the lingo and basic functions of components. And then some pin-oriented hands-on resources, such as some youtube videos, the various online pin repair guides, etc. A couple of good starters would be a site like http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_pa/Scots_Guide/info/comp/comp.htm, or I recall a cool 'handwritten' book from radio Shack called Getting Started in Electronics (by Forrest Mims, on Amazon too). The Mims book has a ton of cool info and is pretty friendly/approachable, with lots of nice drawings.

    A good book or website for starters would be FAR more helpful and economically sensible than a college course!

    #22 7 years ago

    I bought my CV and TOM from a guy, both working, but had a ton of issues. First thing I did was check out the boards. He seemed interested in this, and asked what I was looking at. I noted some of the issues and where they were generated. He didn't have a clue.

    We then went into another room to use his computer to transfer the money via paypal. I notice a massive bench with crap loads of very high tech electronics equipment. I asked what he did, and he noted he was the head prof at a local electronics school.

    ...yet he never tried to figure out the 15 year old pinball stuff, and was selling due to them not working right.

    #23 7 years ago

    Also, if you study and learn Ohm's Law, you can figure out alot of stuff in relation to how electricity works/runs through your machine.

    boring, yes.

    helpful, yes.

    #24 7 years ago

    You might just end up in a night course for students aiming for a degree down the road and in the end still not getting to the level to de -bug a sym 11 Wms.
    You might want to chat with the person teaching the course and explain that you are taking it to further your career in Pinball repair ?
    They may know a better course or direction to take rather then burning up 2-3 nights a week when a hands on course is available someplace else.
    -good luck with it

    #25 7 years ago
    Quoted from DCFAN:

    Firebaall said:DCFAN said:
    Most electrical engineers that have 4-year degrees are paper pushers rather than circuit builders.

    Of course, the good thing about the paper pushing from my experience as an EE is that it usually pays more than hands-on work.
    </blockquot

    #26 7 years ago
    Quoted from Jeff_PHX_AZ:

    DCFAN said:Firebaall said:DCFAN said:
    Most electrical engineers that have 4-year degrees are paper pushers rather than circuit builders.
    Of course, the good thing about the paper pushing from my experience as an EE is that it usually pays more than hands-on work.
    Thats the benefits of busting your ass in college!! Alot of engineers are into pins! Some just are not!!

    Heh...

    My Fishtales comes from the EE department at the university. It lived it's whole routed life away from sunlight, girls, and other distracting tendencies. Just like most electrical engineers.

    #27 7 years ago

    I've learned all I know from from Clay's guides and LTG's comments on rgp.
    Get you a working game and learn your way around it. It's fun!

    read, read, read...and read some more.. you'll start to pick up on what to look for if something is failing.

    School of Hard Knocks

    #28 7 years ago

    Thanks for posting that, HBS. I may sign up for it too.

    #29 7 years ago
    Quoted from StevenP:

    (Although basic grammar is apparently not a requirement.)

    Taking note of this Unwarranted shot!! Was just trying to let the OP know I was in the same boat as him and in case he was unaware theres alot of Math involved, which know one informed me about!

    1 month later
    #30 7 years ago
    Quoted from herbertbsharp:

    Not sure if this will be the best class for pinball repair but I'll know when it starts, I'm enrolled to start 3/5/12. Its worth a shot, just drop out if it doesn't work for you. Its free and it's M.I. fricken T!

    https://6002x.mitx.mit.edu/

    Are you still in this, herbertbsharp ? I am, and it's excellent. Thank you so much for posting the info about this.

    #31 7 years ago

    I got my undergraduate in electrical engineering about five years ago. I design PCBs and industrial circuit now. I can tell you that it just will not click with a single course. In fact, taking a single course, like circuits 1 or electronics 1, will make you hate it. For me it really clicked after taking a circuits 1, circuits 2, and electronics 1. I HATED those classes. Circuits 2 and electronics 1 were really difficult. Eventually, I got to take some embedded circuits and digital design classes that were really cool, but they had to be appreciated. I remember doing a project building a robot that had to figure out how to move through a maze a detect "bombs"(reflective tape) and do a dance and song to get "defuse" them. Lots of fun.

    I can keep going, but, in short, I can tell you that you'll have to put in some good work to fully respect and understand the trade. If you want to understand electronics, just do a few projects on your own. Get a beagle board and learn how to flash an LED or print characters to a display. That'll go a lot further than a single class.

    #32 7 years ago

    I understand what you're saying, Allibaster, but I have a different approach. There is no way I am going to get a "board" to get started - I am going to design my own circuits (including PCBs) and that is why I decided to invest time in this course in the first place.

    #33 7 years ago
    Quoted from PinHog:

    I understand what you're saying, Allibaster, but I have a different approach. There is no way I am going to get a "board" to get started - I am going to design my own circuits (including PCBs) and that is why I decided to invest time in this course in the first place.

    Go download EagleCAD. It free and there's tons of tutorials out there. I've used it for a couple projects. OrCAD is much more powerful, though. That's what I use at work.

    #34 7 years ago

    I found a local technical institute that offers electronic repairman certification. Takes 11 months. Not much theory, mainly hands on repair stuff. Ninja is far cheaper.

    #35 7 years ago

    What is a Beagle Board? I did a web search and don't get it. What is Ninja? This:

    http://www.pinballninja.com

    #36 7 years ago
    Quoted from FatsoPilot:

    What is a Beagle Board? I did a web search and don't get it. What is Ninja? This:
    http://www.pinballninja.com

    They're just little project boards.

    http://beagleboard.org/

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