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Circuit Board Design
The arduino project has gotten me interested in this branch of computer electronics that I didn't even know existed. As I become somewhat more familiar with the topic I keep thinking about the types of things I could do if I could design my own hardware. Resources on the software side aren't too hard to find but trying to figure out the hardware seems more difficult.

I thought I would try to just figure out how the v3.00 TC4 board worked and I might be able to learn something through that.... TBH, that hasn't gotten me very far. What resources would people recommend to start along this path? Assume I know nothing.

I'm not sure if you're asking about printed circuit boards in particular or about the electronic circuits themselves. Please elaborate.

But there are lots of cool, free tutorials and self-paced learning opportunities around.

For example, for learning about electronics in general, the Arduino itself was designed for that purpose -- one piece of the 'physical computing' concept. is another piece.

For actual schematic capture and making your own PCB, Eagle is worth learning and there are lots of free -- 'Creative Commons' projects out there to study and modify.

Sparkfun has some nice tutorials.

My favorite books are 'Art of Electronics' by Horowitz & Hill, and most anything by Forrest Mims.

Dive in, have fun! -bill
Edited by bvwelch on 10/18/2010 5:51 PM
If you are starting from scratch, or you need a refresher, this link has some very good basic information:

What got me started was the ongoing need to troubleshoot/repair/calibrate my Ectron thermocouple calibrators. I don't recommend taking on something like this for you (or anybody, really Grin), but the moral of the story is it really helps if you have a specific project or objective, rather than try and learn everything at once.

Thanks. I do need a refresher. I feel like I should know some of this stuff but most of my experience is from playing with one of those 200 in 1 electronics kits when I was growing up. Sorry about being a bit ambiguous in the OP.

I think I understand the basics but implementing them into designing a shield for an arduino is a different beast. For instance, I have no idea what the MCP3424 chip actually does.

I still like the idea of using the current TC4 shield and accompanying software to 'guide' my learning since I'll likely be trying to tweak it over time.

I'm not sure that makes the most sense to try. It's possible that the PCB and software are too complicated to start with for me.

I'll look through the recommended sites and see what I come up with.

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