The first edition of Make: Electronics established a new benchmark for introductory texts. This second edition enhances that learning experience. Using full color on every page, hundreds of photographs and diagrams convey concepts with unmatched clarity.
Platt uses a hands on approach throughout. You learn by building your own simple circuits. You begin by blowing a fuse or burning out an LED to demonstrate voltage, amperage, and electrical resistance. As it says on the cover, “Burn things out, mess things up that’s how you learn!“
The hands on approach continues with basic switching circuits. You can cut open the sealed case of a relay to see exactly what goes on inside. Unique 3D diagrams illustrate components as they are plugged into a solderless breadboard. A simple circuit reveals how a capacitor stores and releases electricity. While Make: Electronics minimizes the amount of theory that you need, it does show you how to figure out Ohm’s Law and do the simple math to calculate the time constant of a capacitor.
A buying guide shows basic tools ranging from pliers to a low cost multimeter. Components such as transistors and capacitors are shown in color photographs so that you will quickly recognize them. A simple “finger test” demonstrates how transistors switch or amplify current. The book then shows functional circuits that you can build to create light and sound, leading to a plan for a simple intrusion alarm. Platt includes three chapters explaining how to solder wires and build a permanent circuit. However, the skill of soldering is not essential for other projects in the book.
You learn all about integrated circuit chips: how they work, what they do, how they are identified, and where you can buy them. Build your own oscillator and one shot circuits, and learn how to chain timer chips together. A simple circuit can test the speed of your reflexes. Other circuits include a combination lock for a computer, or a game in which players compete to be the first to press a button. There is a novel, simplified circuit to build electronic dice. Make: Electronics includes advice about setting up your work area, storing parts, and buying additional tools, if you decide to venture further into the field.
The final section of the book explains inductance and the components that make use of it, such as loudspeakers and a simple AM radio. Finally, three chapters explain microcontrollers, with projects that can use an Arduino. A shopping guide will minimize your investment in parts for the projects. Alternatively, kits from independent vendors contain exactly the parts that you need.
Ideal for Beginners
This book assumes that you have no prior knowledge. It explains each concept in meticulous detail and is friendly, patient, and fun. Positive reader feedback has been received from people ranging in age from 8 to 84. More than 200,000 copies have been sold. If you only buy one book about electronics, this should be the one.