You can often find the answer to a specific question or research an extensive area of interest on the Internet. Here are ten Internet resources that electronic professionals may find useful:
1. Wikipedia still has a reputation for providing fundamentals on just about any technical subject. Electronics has always been a focus, and as time passes a vast body of knowledge has become a permanent part of Wikipedia’s legacy. Typing a subtopic into Wikipedia’s search bar reveals a suprisingly extensive listing of topics ranging from electron flow through conductors, to propagation of electromagnetic radiation, to a quick review of calculus, or an overview of matrix theory. The site’s coverage can be surprisingly detailed for even esoteric topics in electronics such as, for example, the circuitry inside pinball machines.
2. All About Circuits is a large Internet site with lots of content. You’ll find information on building many types of equipment such as a time-domain reflectometer for measuring characteristic impedance and finding cable faults. Also there are forum threads, Raspberry Pi projects, and a sizable data base containing technical articles of interest to electronics engineers and students.
3. Hyperphysics is a site produced and maintained by the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University. It uses concept maps to enable participants to explore concepts in physics, with strong emphasis on electronics. You can access a subject of interest, gain an overview, and from there go to subtopics for further discussions with lots of graphics.
4. EDAboard is a forum site that specializes in discussions about specific electronic design problems in a variety of disciplines. Despite its name, it does not specifically focus on electronic design automation, though that is one of its thread areas. Recent active threads cover topics that include software problems, embedded programming, analog design, hardware and PCB design, science, elementary electronics, and general computer problems.
5. Electro Tech is on online community of 100,000 members who discuss building electronic circuits, projects, and gadgets. It has areas for forums, articles, blogs, tools, and group discussions. Recent active threads cover topics that include robotics, microcontroller programming, circuit simulation, renewable energy, math, and auto electronics.
6. National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) publishes the National Electrical Code (NEC) and revisions every three years. Additionally, the organization prints a large number of construction standards, like NEC, intended to mitigate hazards to life and property. Currently NFPA is transitioning from just a codes and standards development organization to an information and knowledge source. For this reason, the NFPA website will be worth watching. At present, it is a valuable gateway for free access to all NFPA codes and standards, enough to fill a pouch full of flash drives.
7. Codecademy is an impressive computer programming website. It is free and consists of lucid interactive online sessions that permit the user to actually begin coding within seconds of signing up. The relaxed, informal atmosphere in this online classroom makes learning Python, Java Script, HTML, Ruby and PHP incredibly easy and intuitive.
8. Fiber Optics Association is an international nonprofit professional association. It develops educational programs and certifies fiber optic technicians. If you are looking for technical information, go to the site and click on FOA Online Reference Guide.
Equipment manufacturers and vendors characteristically offer lots of free, detailed information at their websites. To pick just two of them, consider:
9. Keysight Technologies, recently spun off from Agilent. Years ago, Agilent was spun off from Hewlett-Packard and consisted of the test instrumentation organization that formed the original focus of the company when Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded it in 1939. Agilent is now mainly a medical instrumentation firm, and Keysight houses the general test instrumentation business. Keysight offers courses that range from white papers and tutorials to instructional videos on a variety of instrumentation topics.
10. Tektronix also hosts a variety of resources in its site, but perhaps most noteworthy is a tutorial on basic oscilloscope operation, available for download.