WHERE ARE THEY?

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gerty
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by gerty » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:33 am

[quote] In Oklahoma, they've phased out all the electronics programs in the vo-tech schools and it's nearly the same in Missouri is nearly the same. State-supported vocational electronics programs are rare. Haven't seen electronics coorespondence courses in a long time. Only a few private schools still exist, e.g., DeVry and ITT.

[/quote]

I still teach Electronics, but to your point, the number of students has decined a lot. Fortunately for me I also teach Industrial Electricity, typically have around 16 students, this trimester (starting Tues ) I'll have 9 total. Enrollment goes up and down for most classes, we just hate it when it's this low.
Welding shop just went through a $300k upgrade, (most of the welders were 1974 Linde's, out of busines for years ) and they have 8 students. When they applied for the money to update the shop there was 18 students and a waiting list.
I think the disposable element of electronics contributes to the lack of need for technicians.

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haklesup
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by haklesup » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:24 pm

I agree there is a general decline in electronics hardware interest, perhaps those minds are are either moving toward software jobs or are learning on their own. Don't discount the power of the internet to undermine brick and morter schools as well as stores. They may not be coming to our forum but there are a few active ones out there. I also think the economy has seriously effected the ability of many students to pay for voc school training. Its a vicious cycle. can't make money w/o education, can't get education w/o money. Still that certificate or diploma is worth a lot more than "I learned it on the internet" when it comes to getting attention in the job market.

Another factor is that "Electronics" has grown huge and fractured into multiple disciplines. Its hard to cover more than Basic Electricity analysis before it gets all specialized.

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Lenp
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by Lenp » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:05 am

I think several issues plague the forward movement of electronics interest. One is that manufactured products are far superior to anything a hobbyist can usually make. Years ago, hams considered building a receiver or transmitter to be a rite of passage. It was a very popular project with many hours of airtime logged on home brew gear. Today with the digital influence and specialized chips, it is beyond the capabilities of a hobbyist to even get close to a manufactured item. Since most people do not have the inclination to build an inferior item, the decision almost always falls to an off the shelf answer. Just try to find coils and variable caps with vernier dials today. Does The name Millen or National Radio bring back a memory?

I taught electronics in the USAF for several years and that was a rewarding period of my life. Afterwards I looked into teaching at a vocational school but that never went forward. I decided against it because of poor pay and lab resources, but most importantly, it was the general lack of interest by most students, which corrupted the rest. The instructors themselves seemed to have given up and that created a day care environment.

Remember that years ago 'Radio' was viewed as a hobby. Many veterans later learned about radio in the military then turned that knowledge into either a hobby or a somewhat lucrative small business. People would often say 'Hey, do you still fool around with radios?".. get the drift" No one ever considered the long, maybe lifetime investment, to learn the rapidly changing face of electronics, the high cost of test equipment and documentation and of course the cost of parts that we 'left the smoke out of'! Nope, it was just a 'hobby' to many and as such we got hobby pay, and the interest diminished.

Yes, years ago I also 'hobbied' :shock: with consumer electronics but when buy became cheaper then repair I saw the light. Where are the local parts stores now? Every major city had several and even Radio Shack has cut their parts to the bone. What about finding a place to get a TV or stereo fixed today? It's tough since they cannot get the parts either or the cost exceeds the value of the equipment. Today many manufacturers rarely repair under the warranty, they exchange it since the cost to build it overseas compared to the salary of a qualified technician to troubleshoot the device makes it an easy choice. That tells you the real story!

I have a friend that recently decided to close his appliance business. The modern appliances are all using micro's to orchestrate the appliance and as an independent service company he had limited access to factory service data, could not afford the custom test jigs required for all the new models, or to stock the plethora of modules to test with. Years ago universal parts were available and models used many of the same parts for years. Today every model sports new features since a few programming code changes can make a Jekyll into a Hyde.

Sure, some of us still design and build devices that fit a particular niche but by and large, electronics today means buying handheld imported gizmos!
Today I do industrial service on equipment that costs more way than my house, and usually would not even fit in the house. The owners will put money into it for repairs without a thought and they value the services I perform. When I quit I'm not sure who will walk in my footprints, but it probably will not be the outlandishly dressed kid walking in the mall with his cellphone glued to his face, even though he's 'into electronics" :/

Len
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

Robert Reed
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by Robert Reed » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:42 pm

Lemp
VERY WELL PUT!
It is sad the demise of electronics as a hobby and for many of the reasons you stated.Their is no hobby level test equipment currently produced that even comes close to a hobbyist's budget, although E-Bay has some expensive but doable items still available. For personal use, I have designed most of my equipment except for scopes.The accuracy of this equipment isn't even close to todays stuff. But they do perform on a par with late '70s,early '80s HP equipment and usually to a higher degree than needed. Most have all the functionality that one would ever need.These were a joy to design and build to professional standards. They set the base to design a myriad of projects over the years so the time spent was well worth the efforts. I find that a lot of commercial products on the market today lack a few features that I would like yet have tons of features that I would never use. That and the fact that modifying them is near impossible and their dimensions may not fit my particular location still give me the incentive to "roll" my own. In a lifetime of working in all phases of electronics I have acquired a tremendous amount of parts so cost in that regard is rarely an issue. I still weigh my options of course between buying and building, but it is a good feeling to see your own design come to life and perform as expected. I do have to say that I am not into surface mount construction with their components getting increasingly smaller every year. I am a "thru hole" guy forever and when that finally dries up, my hobby days are over. Too bad as their are some marvelous ICs out there now in small outline (very small outline!).I suppose their are a fair amount of guys out their that share my feelings and I fear that when we are gone, there will be nobody left to pick up any interest in this subject. And why would they when the human hand can no longer perform functions that now require "picker & placer" machines just to mount those tiny components.
But I will say this much, starting with the vacuum tube days 'til present, it's been one hell of a ride :grin:

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frhrwa
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by frhrwa » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:58 am

Lenp wrote:From the forum status box today....

In total there are 7 users online :: 2 registered, 0 hidden and 5 guests (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 303 on Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:02 am


Where are they, what has happened?
its OBUMMER censoring all of our posts.. he doesn't want anyone to "build" it themselves.. ha..
JESUS”…… don’t leave EARTH without HIM!

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Externet
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by Externet » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:19 am

OK. You guys that have been here since always...
Just spit those silly or not questions or subjects kept in the back of your mind to keep this enjoyable site alive, it is the forum that I feel more like within family, been about 15 years among the group that migrated several times from other defunct forums.
Currently I have no permanent internet access to come more often.

Miguel :smile:

(Just do not bring any 'rice pulling' subjects...) :shock:
- Abolish the deciBel ! -

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MicroRem
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by MicroRem » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:01 pm

I love this forum even if it's a little slow at times. I hate to ask stupid questions, but hey, if we all knew it all we wouldn't be here, right?


best to all,

Tom

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dacflyer
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by dacflyer » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:09 am

"Most users ever online was 303 on Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:02 am"

what in the world was going on that so many were on here at that time of the morning..Hmmmm

3:02AM ! - very interesssting...

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kheston
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by kheston » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:10 am

I build lots of web apps as part of my day gig. I haven't gone through the phpBB (forum software this is) code in particular, but here's my take.

Where are they? Well, "they" are likely some combination of bots and crawlers trying to index the site/mine for contact info and ways to post spam. Since the board server tracks each cookie it generates as a "session" and these sessions take some time to expire, the number may get high at times. If there is a botnet attempting to infiltrate the login mechanism or crawl the site for treasures they can use to plaster the 'net with cheap "enhancer" ads and SEO links, the guest count will be especially high. My guess is there weren't 303 aspiring analog signal enthusiasts at that hour (stating the obvious, I know).

Speaking of aspiring analog enthusiasts, this one considers this to be his home forum. Many of you have been gracious enough to follow along on some of my ideas (MrAl deserves a special shout-out here) and lend help where I've needed it. I do browse other forums looking for circuits, but this is the only one I'm registered with (that I can think of).

Here are my paper subscriptions:

1) N&V (started with PopTronics): Sometimes there's a good article to read. Most of the cookbook stuff leaves out the thought process behind the design, this is the part I could use most to build my own skills. Miss it. Hate it when the project is simply a promotion for someone's gadget/burned in microchip available for a price. Would keep sending them money if only to support this forum.

2) Circuit Cellar: LOVE the micro stuff, wish there were more projects that described transducing the analog world to something a uC can use. Also wish I knew enough to follow some of the very theoretical articles. Pretty much a digital mag, I flip through it for analog morsels.

3) EPE: The Brits are onto something here. The articles about "ratting" components from old gear and tutorials on pure analog are special treat. It's pricey, but I enjoy it.

What would gain this forum traffic? CONTENT! Post your projects, add pics. There are lots of noobs trying to do something not off-the-shelf that you old-timers would see a simple circuit in your head as the answer instantly.

I'm particularly interested in Alt-E projects and control systems. Got some things brewing. Will pay up at some point with posts.

Anybody want to collaborate on a true-sine inverter project? How about an AC servo controller? You be the principal designer and I'll be the eager designer/experimenter/gopher in training! :)

All thanks for posting here. This is a great forum!
Kurt - SF Bay

Robert Reed
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by Robert Reed » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:09 pm

"3) ETE: The Brits are onto something here. The articles about "ratting" components from old gear and tutorials on pure analog are special treat. It's pricey, but I enjoy it."

Kheston - Would that be EPE Magazine (Everyday Practical Electronics). If so, I agree it is a very exiting publication to analog freaks like me.

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kheston
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by kheston » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:17 pm

Good catch RR! I'm doing a project with the acronym "ETE". Freudian slip. Edited my post so no one is confused by it.

Agreed. They're hitting a sweet spot for analog people.
Kurt - SF Bay

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CeaSaR
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by CeaSaR » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:52 pm

Hey Kurt,

Speaking of stuff brewing... how are you making out on the projects for your campsite? I know they
brought quite a bit of traffic back when you were working on them. Just curious.

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

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kheston
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by kheston » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:17 am

CaeSar,

I've been busy trying to start a software company. Thus, my off-grid-amenity projects have fallen off a bit. I have some things brewing, need to post progress, time is precious, sure you can sympathize.

Will take some time and update a few threads sometime soon.

--K
Kurt - SF Bay

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haklesup
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by haklesup » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:05 pm

I love this forum even if it's a little slow at times.
I actually like the low pace in the context that I don't have a lot of time for forums and this is one of the only ones I participate in. I don't like so much activity that topics roll off the bottom before I have a chance to comment. However, I wouldn't mind a little more. At this point, one or two visits per week is enopugh to keep up. I remember when we had to come daily to keep up but it was never up to a multiple times of day type of forum.

I gave up on newsgroups due to the excess of spammers, trolls, primadonnas and bullies that love to bark on them. Almost none of that here.

ALso I want to observe that although electronics in the form of discrete component circuits has gone nearly away along with radio hobbies (and radio shack 1.0), there is still a strong contingent of microcontroller based hobbiests that we don't seem to be tapping, at least not here in the general forum. Radio was the first big boom for electronics hobbies but today there are still some radio enthusiests but there are also more high voltage and digital hobbiest than there used to be. I see a shift in interests, not a collapse

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MrAl
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Re: WHERE ARE THEY?

Post by MrAl » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:34 am

Gigady :smile:

I remember the days of the real Lafayette riding my bike to get parts like my first ammeter.
Radio Shack came along, lots of parts from them. I was there at least once a week.
Collected lots of old equipment for use as 'parts'.

I see some new people coming on to the scene now and then, but the group is wide spread over the entire world, and i dont think there are many that are in the same basic state, like maybe 2 or 3 from the same state if your lucky.

But it seems other things have fallen too, like hobby shops. We used to have about 5 of them around here, 2 within about 2 miles. Now we have about zero anywhere. Same with the hardware stores. We had one in almost every town. Now we have one or two in a wide area.
And ever try to buy a small can of enamel paint that is colored like red, green, etc.? They dont seem to carry that anymore. Is it just around here?

I know there are still people taking EE courses, but dont know any from this area anymore. South Africa and India mostly.

I guess time will tell where the electronics hobby scene turns. With all the new stuff out there and seeing how micro controllers can do so much more with one single chip then we can do with a dozen regular IC chips, it makes sense that a lot of people are going to like using them. They are quite amazing really compared to what we used to have. Very practical projects come out of these things...for the home, car, etc. It's hard to ignore them.
But yeah analog is nice too.

I think we still have some years to go yet. Maybe in the future our replacements will be working with projects that deal with the electrons in a more direct way as the nature of matter is uncovered more and more over time with new theories and experiments. No way to tell for sure what's gong to happen. A new discovery at the LHC could change everything the day before the day after tomorrow.
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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