So after many years of hands-off hard core electronic work - how does one start again? My first challenge was not being able to see that well anymore. This is a huge impediment. In my younger days, I could read the part number on a Zener diode at dusk, from a mile away. It now takes bright sunlight, my reading glasses and a magnifying glass. And then sometimes I still have to apply logic whether it is a 1 or an I, even a numeral 6 vs an 8.
The next step is to familiarise yourself with the technology advances made over recent years. Including additional components available off the shelf. Where in my day, you had to build these yourself. On the up side, it was quick to pick up on old faithful's; 78 series voltage regulators, the trusted old 2N3055 power transistor, the backbone 1N 4004/7 diode and the 741 Op Amp to name a few.
Now for the bit that I love the most - it is cheaper to sometimes buy off the shelf components, opposed to building your own. This was brought about by the Chinese electronic suppliers, selling good products (sure, not always) at a very affordable price. Case in point - I needed a small 12v power supply, delivering no more than 700mA. By the time I sourced the transformer, built the circuit (vero or pcb), purchased the components (albeit very cheap) and put everything together, I would have come in at about USD 12.00. The design had no short circuit or over load protection. Nor was it cased. After some searching, I found a cased psu, giving me all of the above, at USD 8.00. For you stalwarts this is old news. For me, it was an eye opener.
I now have the challenge to pick up on experience. Hence me building some items listed on Element14.
I'll keep you posted on my come back progress.
Keep the electrons moving!