My Story: how did it all start?

My Story: how did it all start? 1

I am a hobbyist turned embedded systems design consultant, deeply in love with electronics for more than two decades.

It all started in 1998 when I was reading a science magazine and saw one circuit published and instantly fell in love with electronics.

The Start

When I was young didn’t have the surplus money to enjoy hobbies. This was the time when I was still in school. I used to spend my time making something or the other (my way of exploration). I started playing with scrap or left-out items like electronic watch, radio, tape recorders, etc. My favorite task was to open the clock, part by part and later assemble it back. That was my way of exploring things. I was always trying to make useful things from scrap or play with them. Some of the things I remember doing during my childhood are (there were no digital cameras that time so the pictures you see below are taken from the internet for better explanation):

  • Making a kite using scrap newspaper and a flexible broomstick
  • Opening dead D / AA cells – removing each part without knowing what it is, smelling the chemical. Removing the zinc cover from the cell, collecting zinc from many cells and melt them in a vessel. Later sold the zinc to get some money 
D Cell Teardown 1
D Cell Teardown 2
  • Actually, I was really curious about how things works, interested in learning by doing. I have even gone to the extent of buying chemicals, test tubes, beakers, etc. to set up a small lab in my house.  I used to do experiments with the chemicals.
  • Burning acetylene gas by putting calcium carbide stone in water.
  • Generating H2, collecting in a balloon and burning 
  • Reaction with H2SO4 / HCL, Copper Sulfate, etc.
  • Taking out motor from the old tape recorder and use to connect to the battery and see how after connecting, it rotates. I remember creating a small 4 wheel robot car which could be controlled by 2x two-way switches (forward / reverse direction).
Tape recorder DC Motor
DC Motor
  • Playing with lense – burning paper / making a pinhole camera.
  • Making solar cooker using scrap wood left from woodwork going on at home.
Solar Cooker
  • Collecting unburnt crackers after Diwali (Indian festival), collecting all in a pot and burn.
  • Helped parents in household repairs (learned how to use different tools).
  • Used motor as a dynamo to see led glowing.
DC Motor LED
  • Using a capacitor and charging LED with a 9V battery and making it glow for a few seconds to minutes.
Capacitor driving Led

Somehow, I was always interested in engineering (to know how things work) even before I got an idea what engineering really means. During my 9th standard, I started studying for IIT as any other student of my age. I came across one science magazine which used to publish few IIT mock test papers and in the same magazine, they were also publishing one-page circuit. I instantly fell in love. I started exploring more on the circuit by visiting radio repair shops. During my summer holidays, I used to stand at radio repair shops for hours just to see what they do, how they are able to repair the radio, tape recorders, got to know few names resistor, transistor, diode, PCB board. This increased my thrust to learn and explore more. I searched a few electronic components sellers in my city (Faridabad) and I used to go there to explore (window shopping) and buy few components.

Read more how computer came to my house and it accelerated my learning.

The computer came to our house

Freelance PCB Design Work

Entry of Google & microcontroller in my life

Due to my too much focus on these activities, I lost my interest from academics, I even started thinking that there is no need of doing engineering. I got 6 supplementary in the 3rd year which I cleared in the following year.

Somehow due to pressure from parents and self-realization at a later point of time, I decided, I should complete my engineering successfully.

Overall in engineering, I got 64%, not bad, right ;)?

Professional Career