The least you need to know

As highlighted in a recent thread initiated by @stephen_adams there is a need for training in repair. We have the wiki, but very practical-mided people are often put off attempting to fix electronicals thinking they don’t know enough about electrical theory, or anything at all about electronics.

To address that need, I’ve just added The least you need to know to the wiki, with the aim of showing that the bar is lower than many people might think.

Please take a look and let me have any (preferably constructive) comments. You’ll need to make a good case for adding anything as I would have made it half the length if I could, but if there’s any way of making it more concise without loosing readability, or anything that could be expressed better, your feedback will be welcome.


I think I have found a good site to read up on basic electrics, DC and AC circuits.
It also goes into quite complicated detail, but you can just read the first section.
Tutorial on DC Circuits (battery, torch that sort of thing)
Tutorial on AC Circuits (Mains, Power etc)
Tutorial Basic Passive Components (Resistor, Capacitor,Inductor)
Maybe you could use these links in the Wiki for Beginners ?

This site gives basic tips on DIY, including Do’s and Don’ts.
Useful tips on doing DIY
Maybe include it in the Restarters Wiki?

Here is a good video on how electricity works, for those who like Youtube.
How Electricity works

Here is the main site which also has good explanations on motors and Mains power.
The Engineering Mindset

Nice work, Philip. I think in your logical skills section you should move the points about disassembly to the mechanical skills section, and could do with a bit more about diagnosis logic: e.g. always start with ‘is it getting power (fuse, plug, cable, battery/battery contacts)?, and using the symptoms (e.g. intermittent operation=>is that because power is intermittent then first focus on power getting through) to guide next steps.

Personally I’d prefer an early strong statement that for mains-powered devices at least the visual inspection aspects of a PAT Test are required before any disassembly or diagnosis is attempted. As a novice, failure of a PAT test (visual or electrical) means you need to get advice before attempting powering the item, and both must be passed before plugging it in to mains.

On the best way to learn for a novice, personally I’d say the very best way to start is to buddy with an experienced fixer who is prepared to help you learn, at one or more repair events, and learn from their approach - i.e first watch and learn before getting hands on yourself.

Also if possible can you hint at how to go from “novice” (i.e. someone who wants to learn about fixing electricals but must work with an experienced fixer) to “beginner fixer” (i.e. someone who could be a fixer of electricals at an event)?


here is a tutorial on using a Multimeter which has real life examples of why you might need one in the home.
It is USA based, but the principles are sound were ever you are, the only annoying thing is the ads which get in the way of viewing it
Titled the Best Multimeter Tutorial in World by them

Thank you @stephen_adams for those various links. Have you in fact checked the relevant pages in the Wiki, in particular Sections 2 and 3 on the Main Page to see where you feel they might fall short? The intention when I wrote them was to provide the basic foundation of skills and understanding sufficient to enable someone to start fixing, not to give them a complete course on any of the topics covered, for which many people’s attention span is far too short (regretably).

My policy has always been to use external references sparingly. Links break, I’d rather not be seen to be endorsing any particular sources, and differernt people respond to different styles and look for different levels of detail.

With your obvious passion for education, perhaps you’d like to take a look at the topics in the Main Page marked in red as either skeleton or wanted pages and see whether you could take on one or two of those. Before getting too stuck in, just take a look at the Style Guide, and for any new pages, start with the Prototype Page as a template. Both are under General Topics - Contributing to the Wiki.


most of the people I speak to are aware of Youtube, but don’t know how to search it properly. Some fixers are addicts and always go there first when attempting a fix.
I would always use a well worn link, rather than extoling the virtues in just one place.
The Multimeter link has had 4Million views and been around since 2015!
The Electrical Tutorials are by the EE Group who have been around for over 20 years.
Why re-write them when you can point to the best?
I am not interested in editing pages in the Wiki, sorry but I have other things to do.