Online Parts International

Tripping down Memory Lane with ETI and Elektor

I’m an old school junkie. Like many electronic enthusiasts that started out with electronics as a hobby over the 70’s and 80’s I find the most popular magazines for download will always be Elektor and the ETI magazines.

The Elektor Magazine

Electronics Circuit for Beginner to Advanced

:Electronic circuit & Schematics Diagram Resource for Beginner to Advanced

Although the writing styles were different and (possibly) the circuits in Elektor were in my point of view more radical, possibly stemming from Elektor’s Dutch heritage, no youngster studying electronics as a hobby or professionally were without them. Without a doubt ETI was the easier read, Elektor was focussed more on those that already had an in depth knowledge of the subject. I’m not knocking ETI, a magazine which was every bit as innovative as Elektor – ETI actually had the advantage over Elektor in that one could read and understand most of the editorials and circuits. 😉 .

Elektor as mentioned was originally started in The Netherlands, ETI in Sydney Australia – both became popular world wide. We’d build audio circuits from ETI but class D audio from Elektor. What fun it must have been to work for either of these two magazines. A company based on the foreshore in Cape Town called Electronic Research Labs (ERL) used to specialise in keeping most of the components for the projects in these two magazines and at any time of the day one would find enthusiasts, young and old, buying their components there. Of course this would not have been entirely true, many enthusiasts used to buy at Hamrads as well (still in existence).

Working for a computer company I find most (99%) of the youngsters applying for work have absolutely no electronic knowledge. Those that do have adapted very quickly to the computer industry. I relate far easier to people in the computer industry that have come from an electronics background – I also believe that people more successful in the computer industry are also from an electronics background or have an interest in electronic devices/technology.  It’s a shame that schools don’t force or at least encourage students of computer science to take a higher level course in electronics as a subject as well. (South Africa). Both ETI and Elektor remain fantastic tools for the student and engineer.  With the popularity of surface mount technology over the last three decades it may also have become fairly difficult for young students in electronics to improve their practical knowledge at home – moving from standard component packages and breadboard to SM technology is not an easy task, there is also the added problem that SM suppliers want bulk sales. I sincerely believe that youngsters find taking up electronics as hobby more daunting than our parents or grand parents.  Parents are also to blame – show me a child that loves mathematics finding electronics a bore. Do parents even buy their youngsters magazines such as Popular Mechanics or any electronic magazine.

Recently I attended a conference hosted by Samsung in Cape Town. Samsung is very well established in Africa through their cell-phone domination and one thing which became very clear is their interest in training up engineers within the previously disadvantaged group. South African students are at a cross-roads though – education remains a serious issue. No company in their right mind would want to invest in any nation where the government is battling to get students through a mediocre education – Logically Samsung may very well only be focussing on countries they see as giving them a better rate of return: Ghana, Uganda, DRC, Nigeria being just a few of them.  From an intellectual viewpoint, articles from older electronic magazines such as ETI and Elektor may be easier to grasp and whet the appetite of high schoolers – after all what is life without a dream. What is the world without the  Samsungs, The Gates & Shuttleworth Foundations and these two brilliant magazines: ETI and Elektor.

Translate »