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The main aim of this website is to teach electronics using the simplest approach possible.
We could introduce formulas and complex concepts to explain the simplest operation, but this would lose 90% of readers within minutes!
I have noticed some websites are explaining simple concepts using very complex approaches and although the content is valuable and accurate, it falls between two stools.
Beginners are totally bamboozled by the complexity of the explanation and anyone knowing the concept does not need the instruction. So, where does it sit?
It's perplexing to know why a writer makes a simple concept COMPLEX!
Many of the tutorials are in FLASH and after a 500KB download the main portion of the download is used for irrelevant squiggles and stick-figures moving around the screen. Sometimes the main point has been completely missed!
Although FLASH is smooth in operation, it is very fuzzy for circuit diagrams and has not shown to be an improvement over gif animations. For this reason I will not be using this technology. Our pages will remain simple in approach.
However the content of some of the articles mentioned above will be presented in a simple-to-understand form and included in our Basic Electronics Course. Some of these additions have already been added to the courses.

There are a number of PIC development projects on the market, ranging from $100 to more than $1,000.
Most of them (if not all) are very well presented and will help enormously with developing a PIC microcontroller project.
But there is one problem.
Most of these development boards are fairly sophisticated and they assume you have a good idea of how a microprocessor operates and have some knowledge about programming.
They are not designed for the absolute beginner as they don't start with simple programs to turn on a LED, create a tone etc and they don't show you how to program chips using the instruction-set for the chips. They are designed of the advanced-student.
If you are an absolute beginner, the only place to start is with our PIC LAB-1 and Multi Chip Programmer.
These are low-cost projects to get you started and with our PIC LICK-1 module, you can design projects using the PIC12C508A,
PIC16F84A, PIC16F628 and PIC12F629 (this is a flash version of the PIC12C508A and can be re-programmed up to 1,000 times.  It has 1K of program space, 128 Byte EEPROM and 64 byte RAM. It is pin-for-pin compatible with the PIC12C508A and PIC12C509).
The PIC12F675 is an advancement over the PIC12F629 with 4 A-to-D channels and will take the place of all projects using a
PIC12C508A, PIC12C509, PIC12C671, PIC12C672 or PIC12F629.
It's the "top of the heap" and like most advancements in electronics, it's performance, capacity and speed has doubled while the cost has been halved.
Download the datasheet for PIC12F675. (2MB zip).
This gives us two "top of the heap" chips for beginners.
These two chips will get you started in the world of microcontrollers and allow small-to-medium projects to be produced.
The PIC12F675 is an 8-pin re-programmable chip (up to 1,000 times) with 6 in/out lines (GP3 is input only), internal oscillator, 1K of program-space that can be re-programmed "on-board " (requires 13v to activate), 64 bytes of "scratch-pad" RAM and 128 Bytes of EEPROM memory that will hold information when supply is removed. It also has FOUR A-to-D lines that can accept analogue data (voltage).
The PIC16F628 is an 18-pin re-programmable chip (up to 1,000 times) with 16 in/out lines, internal oscillator, 2K of program-space that can be re-programmed "on-board " (requires 13v to activate) (low-voltage in-circuit programming is available but you lose one of the in-out lines) 224 Bytes of "scratch-pad" RAM and 128 Bytes of EEPROM memory that will hold information when supply is removed.

Over 80% of the emails I receive every day are unwanted junk and spam from unknown sites. Maybe you are getting them too. The internet has always been flooded with this sort of thing, but now the spammers are getting more sneaky by using tricks such as FR** or F*R*E*E* to get around spam filters.
The only problem is the effect these filter programs are having on genuine emails.
Our newsletters have sometimes been rejected simply due to the fact that more than one newsletter has been delivered to the same address.
If you are using an email address with a filter on incoming emails, please send me an alternate address as any rejections are passed to an over-riding body that has determined we are a source of SPAM!

With every emailing we send out, we are getting more than 150 addresses that don't exist!
Please make sure your email address is correct, otherwise it creates an enormous amount of work to go through the list and delete the faulty addresses.

There is no "pot of gold" at the end of a rainbow.
There is no "easy money" and
there is no "easy money on the internet."

I am constantly bombarded with "earn $17,000 per week" business opportunities or "earn $97 per hour at home!"
This sort of thing is totally false and misleading.
No-one is earning anything!
The only money changing hands comes from fools who send $47 for details on "how to get started."
Don't believe any of those Multi-Level Marketing Schemes. They are selling absolutely NOTHING! Most of them are based on YOU getting members to sign up under you for a "cut" of the sign-up fee. 
In Australia this sort of thing is outlawed.
It should be banned in the USA too.
The only way to be sure of an income is to have a skill.
It doesn't matter if the skill is car-servicing, computer hardware sales or aged care.
All these skills are needed in a community and you can be sure of a life-long, enjoyable, employment.
All I can say is: Don't get tricked with "get rich quick schemes."
They just simply don't exist.
Enter: "spam" or "mlm" or "internet fraud" on any search-engine and see how many tricksters are using the web.
The internet is absolutely full of them, from loan advances, getting paid for surveys, work-at-home-assembly, free money from the government, correspondence courses, overseas dating services, low-cost mortgages, or low-cost credit card applications.
Every single email I have ever received (over 10,000) from any of the above is absolute and total fraud.
That's why you have to tread very carefully with anything you see, hear or read. The first and only answer to anything is: NO!
This way you will never be "bitten."

The one thing I detest the most from all these fraudulent sites is the page layout. Many of the pages are too large for the screen and it is impossible to delete them. Then there are the pop-up pages that appear on your computer 10 - 30 seconds AFTER you have deleted the fraudulent site! Sometimes 3 or more pages keep appearing!
The worst offenders create a page that cannot be deleted! You have to push "ctrl" "alt" "delete" at the same time to bring up Windows Task Manager to end the task.
These fraudulent sites have thought of everything to trick the unwary into spending money on unwanted things.
Don't be tricked by a 17kB program that takes you off the internet, dials a remote number and charges you $7.00 a minute to reach a credit bureau that doesn't exist, or some other unwanted site.

Fortunately, the latest news is the Federal Trade Commission is clamping down on internet fraudsters. One of the biggest fraudsters has been fined $25,000 and his websites have been taken off the net.
But when I looked over the content of his website, I noted that many other websites offered the same preposterous money-earning potential and had lengthy pages of verbiage. I can only conclude that all these other sites will be next in line and hopefully the web will be sponged from these get-rich-quick schemes.
Don't be tempted to start any business along any fraudulent lines.
You have to remember one thing. ALL "money-making" businesses on the internet are fraudulent. They all revolve around the concept "do-what-I-am-doing."
At the end of the day, there is no product involved. This will eventually be determined as a "no-product-sale."
The Federal Trade Commission will eventually "rope-in" all these activities. You will lose your business, your earnings and your future.
To look at some information first-hand, go to: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/ruleroad.htm
And an easy-to-read document called "Dot Com Disclosures at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/dotcom/index.html

How do you detect a fraudulent internet site?
It's simple. Ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. Does the site have an email address? Without it you have no possibility of a refund.
2. Ask to see his bank statement - and his tax return - to prove he is getting
          $17,000 per month - not just some scanned image on the web. Anyone can "doctor" or create a bank statement and put it on the web.
3. Some of the sites have a list of satisfied customers - without a single email
4. If the offer sounds too good to be true - it IS too good to be true!
5. If someone is making $17,000 per month on the internet  - is he going to tell
        you how to do it for $19.99!!!!!

Don't get carried away with fraud like this! And don't let it influence you against getting a real occupation. No business will deliver $17,000 per month, so don't think you are a failure if you attract $3,000 to $4,000 per month.
Refer to job vacancies in your local newspaper for realistic wages - don't be tempted by some "carrot on a string." These internet "schemes" simply create a lot of frustration and poverty. Don't begin to get caught-up. Delete anything that even hints at making easy money. I get over 80 junk emails every day - from casino's wanting to put $200 into my account, to getting a $560 work-from-home package for $1.00!!
All these fraudsters work on the concept of "wearing you down."
The theory is: "eventually you will break."
Eventually you will put $20.00 "on the line" and they have tricked another person.
Don't fall for any of it. None of it is true, no matter how convincing they seem to be.  It's all a mirage.
I know it's hard to believe all these lovely websites are "a puff of wind" but take it from someone who hasn't yet been tricked. It IS all a fraud. No casino is going to pay you $5,000 - even if you do win!   A real casino is governed by state laws, an internet casino is governed by no-one.
A real shop is governed by "physical presence." An internet site is "virtuality."
The scammers are getting more and more devious.
I am now getting junk emails with headings like "Here is the information you requested, Here is the order, Can you help me?  I need your help."
This sort of thing is detracting from real subscribers and enquirers to the site.
I hope I haven't deleted a real request as some of the emails don't seem to contain any information.
If I fail to reply, please resend any request as it may have been accidentally deleted.

Don't download any free "screen-savers."  They contain hidden code that allows anyone (them!!) to control your screen and send you advertisements you did not request!!  They virtually "take over your computer" - so be warned!

A number of Universities have farmed out their good name to promotional companies and are offering courses such as MBA and MSc in "IT."
"IT" is one of those academic fields where most of the information can be assessed in written-form. This makes it ideal for a correspondence course. It is one of those fields that you cannot quite put your finger on the content and requirement. If you look at the content of one of the courses currently being advertised (Download the brochure in PDF format or  ZIP file) you will be able to see the vagueness of the course.
I am not "knocking" these courses as I have not had any dealings with their content but at a cost of more than $19,000 for a correspondence course, it needs some looking-into.
No correspondence course is worth $19,000 and before you enter into anything like this, it is imperative you check all alternatives.
Universities, schools and colleges have local classes as well as government-run and community-run correspondence courses. Some are only a fraction of the cost of "high-flying" institutions.
I know it's wonderful to have MBA or MSc at the end of your name, but don't forget, half your job-applications will be returned, stating you are over-qualified. (This is against the law in Australia, but an equivalent comment will be sent).
It's not the fact that you are over-qualified, but the remuneration they are required to pay you for a qualification, will be more than the position is offering.

When applying for any position, you need three things:


But not in that order.

The most important asset is being able to work with others.
Friendliness, compatibility, tolerance and all those things that allow you to get though the day without being effected by others around you.
Once you can "get-on" with co-workers you can use your capability and qualifications to "produce and deliver."

Since a qualification is third on the list, you should prioritize yourself and make sure your first asset is to "get on with those around you."

With this in mind, you should decide how you will apportion your time in gaining the necessary skills.
You should also work out the economics of obtaining your qualification. This is  very complex, especially if you are giving up paid employment to gain the qualification.
One of the first things you should do is find out if it is going to provide you with the skills for the job.
Then you need to work out the economics. At the end of 4 years or 10 years, will you be better-off financially?
Spend time analyzing the situation before you decide, as it will influence the rest of your life.

All I say is this: Don't jump at the first opportunity to do a correspondence course. Look around, ask questions and do your sums.
My approach is entirely different to anyone else.
Mine is to get the absolute maximum return at the lowest possible cost. In many cases you can get valuable information for FREE.
"You get what you pay for..." is only partially true. Some high-priced items and courses are absolutely worthless - so be warned.
If you take my line of reasoning, you will never be disappointed.
Knowledge is essential, but you don't have to "pay through the nose" for it.
The old saying: "the best things in life are FREE" still holds true.

Here's something from a correspondence course.
It backs up what I have been saying:
What is an MBA really worth?
If youíve read the news, youíve seen the questions. What is an MBA really worth? Can academic theory actually make you a better manager? Are you building skills that actually advance your career? So we asked executives in Fortune 500 corporations to describe the skills they want in an ideal manager.
They told us they want team leaders - people who know how to build relationships and manage change. People with a full range of professional and personal skills - not just pure theoretical understanding.
Capella University © 2003

As I said, an MBA is worthless if you don't have the personality and adaptability to manage and merge with others.

Here is the latest SPAM from a fraudulent "University:"
It looks like no learning is involved.
It's possibly one of those fake university degrees.
How can you compete with someone who has a FAKE DEGREE? 
The email was completely encoded like this:
GET<!k> Y<!r>OU<!d>R <!u>UN<!y>I<!b>VE<!j>R<!m>S<!n>I<!q>T<!y>Y<!c>
and no spam filter could read it.
Isn't this sufficient to tell you something is fishy?

Here is it:

From: Karen Kendall [caaxouqxv@msn.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2004 8:45 AM


Do you want a prosperous future, increased earning power
more money and the respect of all?

Call this number: 1-646-304-8069 (24 hours)

  • There are no required tests, classes, books, or interviews!
  • Get a Bachelors, Masters, MBA, and Doctorate (PhD) diploma!
  • Receive the benefits and admiration that comes with a diploma!
  • No one is turned down!

    Call Today 1-646-304-8069 (7 days a week)

    Confidentiality assured!

  • 10-7-2004:
    These "fake degree" emails are still arriving in my in-box every day. When you are applying for a new job, the most frustrating part will be trying to compete with other applicants who may be providing "fake qualifications."
    How do you know what they are doing and what they are providing?
    I have no answer as some of these "degrees" are provided by "recognised Universities!"
    That's why I say, the only way to approach an interview is to take one or more  projects with you and show your capability with "results." You can never compete with FRAUD!

    I want to take a poll.
    I want to ask my 5,000 readers who regularly access this site to send me an email if they have had any dealings with any internet marketing company or Multi-Level Marketing company that offers any sort of income, simply by signing up or taking out a "franchise" to sell any type of product.
    Some of these schemes offer a range of products similar to a "super-market" such as vitamins or cleaning products or "digital products" but this is just a "front" to the real nature of the scheme.
    The underlying aim is to relieve the customer of as much money as possible and they can end up with vast amounts of un-salable stock.
    I want to know if ANYONE has had any success with any of these programs
    I am constantly bombarded by schemes that promise to make me rich, simply by signing up etc.
    I have absolutely no faith in any of these and I think they are full of hot air, but I want to get some feedback as there is no other way to prove they are false.
    One possible way is to see their bank statements or tax returns. But these can easily be forged, using a drawing package, and are absolutely worthless.
    The operators are saying they are reaping $2,000 or more each week and it looks very enticing.
    Apart from the fact that no product is involved (and thus I consider the schemes to be FRAUD), I want to know if people are pouring their money into any of these highly-suspect "cons."
    Even if an operator did reap $2,000 per week, I would never use my email list to trick subscribers into a venture such as this. So you don't have any worries.
    It has already been proven that they are not self-supporting. Only the first few to enter the scheme will get their money returned with a profit and the rest will lose everything.
    So, please let me know if you know anyone who has had any dealings and how much they have gained or lost.
    I will put the findings on this page so everyone can be warned.

    After six months, no-one has emailed me with any details, news or comments about any Multi-Level Marketing organizations. Either electronics hobbyists don't fall for such rubbish or they are too embarrassed to admit they have fallen prey to such a shoddy scheme.
    Or it could be that these programs "hook" very few "suckers" and the whole concept of making a fortune on the internet is a myth.
    Personally I cannot see anyone falling for the concept of "ripping off the other guy" but I want more details before making a statement I can fully back-up.
    I am still getting a huge number of junk emails with no way to get off the mailing list.  This is frustrating as the genuine emails from readers are squeezed between the junk.
    I thought the new laws would curb the flood of junk, but maybe it will take time to weed out the culprits.

    Cracking a PIC Chip
    Many reader have asked if the code from a "protected chip" can be "read."
    I have not done this myself, but a firm from Lithuania offers to "crack" a Code Protected PIC chip for $1,000 USD!
    Their address is:
    Semiresearch Inc.
    Jasinskio str.17, Vilnius, 2001, Lithuania
    fax +37052122757

    This is obviously very expensive and you will find some details on doing it yourself on the web.
    Here is an outline of some ideas:

    The Old Crow says

    I've had success by "blowing" the data pin out on PICs. Example: a 12C508. Ground every pin but pin 7, then put 10vDC on pin 7 for a second. Bond wire fried. You lose the use of pin 7 forever, but as it is the data I/O pin for programming, considerably hampers reading the ROM save for those who can desurface the chip package and probe the die.
    Not strictly recommended for commercial apps, but I've never lost a PIC to this procedure yet.


    Craig Lee [clee@ATTCANADA.NET] says:

    I have found cracking procedure for the following chips:

    16c54,16c55,16c56,16c57,16c58,16c61,16c62,16c64,16c65,16c71,16c73, 16c74,16c84

    The procedure supposedly gives you some bits of the instruction word and you are left to select one of two possible instructions by context. Also, the procedures seem to be generic and should work on all 12bit and 14bit chips.

    The [older versions] of the PIC chip (PIC16C84) can in fact have its program and data memory read after the config fuses have been set to code protection ON. Try the following:

    • Write some code to the chip with the code protection set to "ON".
    • Read back to verify that the protection has indeed been set.
    • Now set Vdd (pin 14) to Vpp -0.5v, (Programming voltage less 0.5V).
    • Set config fuse to "OFF" and reprogram config fuse. Ignore error messages.
    • Now set Vdd back to normal, +5v.
    • Power off the programmer.
    • Wait 10 to 20 sec to allow the charge on the cells to fall back to 5 volts.
    • Power back on the programmer. (VDD at + 5V)
    • Read the Pic....

    and hey presto, data in unprotected format should now be available.


    One of the things that fascinates nearly all electronics students is a CRO.
    It is presented as the "ultimate piece of test equipment" and seems to be the "answer to all problems."
    Before you go rushing to the electronics store, there are a couple of things you need to know.
     A CRO can get you into more trouble than it solves. If you are not familiar with its limitations, it can deliver inaccurate results and lead you in the wrong direction.
    The first point to note is a CRO places a LOAD on a circuit. The probes have a resistance of about 1M and a capacitance of about 12p.
    If you are measuring a high impedance circuit, the resistance of the probes can reduce the waveform and you will be reading an incorrect value. This is especially true when the frequency being measured is near the upper limit of the CRO and at this frequency, the amplitude shown on the display can be about 50% of the true value!
    If the circuit is a high frequency oscillator, the probes may cause the frequency to change or drift. In addition, the probe will act as an antenna and draw off some of the signal. All this adds to incorrect readings.
    But the main problem with a CRO is detecting glitches and pulses of short duration. Many circuits mal-function due to glitches and detecting these is very difficult. 
    To pick up a glitch you need a high frequency CRO.
    Some digital CROs are high frequency but the display is a digital screen consisting of pixels and the resolution may not be sufficient to show the glitch.
    You can also get problems of the reverse-type. A CRO may be showing a waveform with a glitch or odd shape. You may think it is responsible for the mal-function of the project. After hours of looking in the wrong area you find the fault is in the power supply!
    That's why you have to be very careful when interpreting a waveform.
    The only way to test a CRO is to view a known fault.
    Compare different CROs and see how they display the waveform. You will be surprised at the different results.
    It is then up to you to decide on the type of CRO you need.
    The basic factors are: size, speed, digital storage and price.
    The only thing I suggest is: DUAL TRACE. This allows two signals to be compared - it's an absolutely essential feature.
    The rest is up to you.

    CRO e-Book
    We have just finished an e-Book: "The CRO."
    You can find details further down the page. It is the most comprehensive discussion on this amazing piece of test equipment and you can download the  e-book to your computer and refer to it at your leisure. You will find it very informative.
    Here are some of our latest "Flash" animations. They come from the pages of our Basic Electronics Course (in the subscription section):

    The transistor in action

    2 transistors in action

    Schmitt Trigger in action
    Click for more details


    Chip Data e-book has just been updated.  See below for more details and Download the latest version.

    Updated software for Multi-Chip Programmer and 5x7 Display
    Helpful advise to get the Multi-Chip Programmer and 5x7 Display working on different operating systems has been provided on Page 3 of the Multi-Chip Programmer project.

      FREE   e-Book!

    All the CIRCUIT SYMBOLS you need to understand and draw circuit diagrams.
    Click HERE to download our FREE e-book (221KB zip)
    The .zip file is: CircuitSymbolsE-Book.zip 
    Create a folder called E-Book and download the .zip
    Extract all the files into the folder using WinZip
    Open CircuitSymbolsE-Book-Web.html with FrontPage.

    or click HERE to see the e-Book on the web. (175KB) 



    Pinouts for a wide range of the most common chips and
    surface-mount devices.

    - includes circuits and data.
    The .zip file is: ChipDataEBook-1d.zip 
    To download the latest version:
    Delete the old version if you have an old version)
    Create a folder called ChipDataEBook.
    Click: Download.    (570KB) 
    updated 5-8-04
    Put: ChipDataEBook-1d.zip into the folder.
    Click on the .zip file when it has been downloaded.
    A window will open containing all the files
    Select "Extract"
    A window will open
    Extract to folder: "ChipDataEBook"
    This process will create folders inside the folder.
    Right-click on ChipDataEBook-1d.html  - send to Desktop (create shortcut)
    Go to desktop and rename icon "Chip Data E-Book"

    or click HERE to see the e-Book on the web.


      Another FREE e-Book!
    The CRO (Cathode Ray Oscilloscope) is one of the handiest pieces of equipment you can purchase. Don't let the knobs put you off.  This ebook will get you confident enough to go out and buy one!
    The .zip file is: CRO-Ebook-1.zip 
    To download the latest version:
    Delete the old version if you have an old version)
    Create a folder called CRO-Ebook.
    Click: Download.    (1.9MB) 
    updated 5-3-04
    Put: CRO-Ebook-1.zip into the folder.
    Click on the .zip file when it has been downloaded.
    A window will open containing all the files
    Select "Extract"
    A window will open
    Extract to folder: "CRO-Ebook"
    This process will create folders inside the folder.
    Right-click on CRO-Ebook-1.html  - send to Desktop (create shortcut)
    Go to desktop and rename icon "CRO-Ebook"

    or click HERE to see the e-Book on the web.

    Go to: Page 4

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