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The Analog Lab Tech Mentoring Program


Improve your technical skills and knowledge base



Throughout the program, the scientific method of thinking like a tech and approaching problems in a logical manner is instilled and reinforced.  We will cover the history of audio and how the design of audio equipment has changed and how new technology and packaging affects circuit design, layout and construction of audio equipment. 


Class 1 – Safety and Liability 


Electrical shock hazards, AC power, charged caps, leakage between equipment, explosion, capacitors powering up repaired equipment, physical injuries using tools, drills, blades, chemicals, cleaning materials, components made of chemicals 

   Third party

Burning equipment, power amps getting hot due to bias thermal runaway shocks, test before leaving bench, blowing speakers due to DC and RF issues 


Class 2 - Hand Tools

Use of hand tools - types, uses, special types

Wire and cable cutting and stripping different gauges and coverings

Tricks for straightening, forming and twisting cables

List of recommended tools


Class 3 – Component Recognition

Identification of components

Resistors – introduction to color code, same value/different wattage and packages

Capacitors – reading values, different packages, different materials, electrolytic

Diodes – recognition of packages, signal power banding identification

Transistors – introduction to package types, standard formats 2N, 2S, BC

Look at circuit boards from different eras and show component 

packaging development


Class 4 – Schematic Reading

Overview of schematic symbols

Recognizing component symbols on a schematic

How power supply connections are shown

Grounds symbols

Locating components on circuit board from schematic

Following signal flow


Class 5 – Soldering

Evaluation of different irons

Correct method of soldering preparation

Soldering methods, tinning wire, terminal tag strip, components on a circuit board


Class 6 – Testing with Meter

DC and AC voltage measurements – HANDS ON

Measurement of voltages with battery and various resistors

Voltage dividers


LED lighting and current limiting

Current measurement

Resistance measurement


Class 7 –Power Supplies 

Transformers, diodes, bridge rectifiers, caps 

Circuit description of how a DC power supply works

Unregulated and regulated supplies

Reading various schematics of PSU, looking at actual power supplies


Class 8 – Oscilloscope & Signal Generator

How an oscilloscope works, go over controls on typical scope, look at       waveforms from signal generator

Scope probe basics

Square wave test

Look at input and output of circuit



Group Project Start


Class 9 – Grounding

AC power grounding and safety

Audio wiring grounding systems, screened cable, ground loops, internal grounding of equipment, star grounding, reading schematic versus actual circuit board and following grounds


Class 10 – Circuit Analysis 

Look at circuit boards with schematic, follow signal path and DC and grounding structure


Class 11 – Wiring and Audio Connections

Balanced and unbalanced audio wiring, connectors


Class 12 – Transistors

Basics on how transistors work, reading transistor specs

Germanium, silicon

Package recognition, USA-Europe-Japan standards 

Selecting replacement transistors

Faultfinding and testing transistors


Class 13 – Op Amps

Basics on how op amps work, package recognition, reading specs, typical uses and configurations, faultfinding and testing op amps


Class 14 – Digital Computer Electronics

Introduction to digital circuits, digital IC family types, reading specs, digital circuit faultfinding


Class 15 – Microprocessors

Introduction to microprocessors, CPU recognition and package types, typical applications, faultfinding 


Class 16 – Audio Transducers

Loudspeakers, microphones, pickups

Overview of how they work and their components




Recommended Books:  

IC Op-Amp Cookbook by Walter G. Jung

TTL Cookbook by Don Lancaster  

CMOS Cookbook by Don Lancaster

The Audio Encyclopedia by Howard M. Tremaine





All rights reserved by The Analog Lab.  For student use only.  Not to be copied or forwarded to third parties.

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