Science on the Web – Part Two, Tomi Engdahl



Science on the Web – Tomi Engdahl

Continuing in our weekly series of Science on the Web, this week’s honours go to Tomi Engdahl.

Science on the Web - Arduino NG Board
A SMD (surface-mount device) FTDI chip, on the Arduino NG board from arduino.cc – source DustyDingo

One thing that should never surprise one is the tendency of great web masters (like previous article on Rod Elliott) to keep it straight and simple.  I have been reading Tomi Engdahl’s articles for more than ten years now – he now owns and authors the website ePanorama.net and the mostly technological driven articles are directed at audio, RF, wiring, circuits to amateur radio.  ePanorama also hosts a blog page.  What makes his website so fascinating?

Education and Passion

Many years ago a friend of mine said to a circle of friends that to him electronics is not a hobby, it’s a profession. I strongly disagree. The people I have learnt the most from are absolutely passionate about their hobby which may just have been electronics. They do not see it as a profession. My wife lectures subjects in horticulture at a local university of technology. She breathes, eats and thinks plants – every day. This is a passion. She brings her work home. There is always something exciting happening out in the garden.


People only interested in electronics as a job, a means to an end, I doubt learn much from experimentation which leads me to surmise that what they know comes from books and quick fixes. ePanorama covers all facets of electronic engineering – anyone learning about transistors, resistors, capacitors and bias points will not stop only at audio amplifiers, radio and power supplies. It is inherent in them to learn how all stuff works and to fix stuff.  So you have a computer – you can write in Word, do calculations in Excel and make a simple database in Access. You can draw, paint and record videos. The electronics guy will make his computer do more than that. They will learn about how the computer communicates through the serial, parallel and USB ports. They will learn how to program. They will make the computer do things. When you speak to them they will tell you what they made, how it worked and what problems they had. That is passion. That is a hobby. The electronic hobbyist is interested in technology. Most people in the electronics industry seem to stick to only one sector in their professional lives but diverse after hours.

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