MAKE: Electronics: Learning by Discovery / Edition 1

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"This is teaching at its best!"

—Hans Camenzind, inventor of the 555 timer (the world's most successful integrated circuit), and author of Much Ado About Almost Nothing: Man's Encounter with the Electron (

"A fabulous book: well written, well paced, fun, and informative. I also love the sense of humor. It's very good at disarming the fear. And it's gorgeous. I'll be recommending this book highly."

—Tom Igoe, author of Physical Computing and Making Things Talk

Want to learn the fundamentals of electronics in a fun, hands-on way? With Make: Electronics, you'll start working on real projects as soon as you crack open the book. Explore all of the key components and essential principles through a series of fascinating experiments. You'll build the circuits first, then learn the theory behind them!

Build working devices, from simple to complexYou'll start with the basics and then move on to more complicated projects. Go from switching circuits to integrated circuits, and from simple alarms to programmable microcontrollers. Step-by-step instructions and more than 500 full-color photographs and illustrations will help you use — and understand — electronics concepts and techniques.

  • Discover by breaking things: experiment with components and learn from failure
  • Set up a tricked-out project space: make a work area at home, equipped with the tools and parts you'll need
  • Learn about key electronic components and their functions within a circuit
  • Create an intrusion alarm, holiday lights, wearable electronic jewelry, audio processors, a reflex tester, and a combination lock
  • Build an autonomous robot cart that can sense its environment and avoid obstacles
  • Get clear, easy-to-understand explanations of what you're doing and why
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596153748
  • Publisher: Maker Media, Inc
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 334
  • Sales rank: 64,928
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Platt became interested in computers when he acquired an Ohio Scientific C4P in 1979. After writing and selling software by mail order, he taught classes in BASIC programming, MS-DOS, and subsequently Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. He wrote five computer books during the 1980s.

He has also written science fiction novels such as The Silicon Man (published originally by Wired books) and Protektor (from Avon Books). He stopped writing science fiction when he started contributing to Wired magazine in 1993, and became one of its three senior writers a couple of years later.

Charles began contributing to Make magazine in its third issue and is currently a contributing editor. Make: Electronics is his first book for Make Books. Currently he is designing and building prototypes of medical equipment in his workshop in a northern Arizona wilderness area.

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Table of Contents

How to Have Fun with This Book;
Learning by Discovery;
How Hard Will It Be?;
Moving Through This Book;
Companion Kits;
Comments and Questions;
Safari® Books Online;
Chapter 1: Experiencing Electricity;
1.1 Shopping List: Experiments 1 Through 5;
1.2 Experiment 1: Taste the Power!;
1.3 Experiment 2: Let’s Abuse a Battery!;
1.4 Experiment 3: Your First Circuit;
1.5 Experiment 4: Varying the Voltage;
1.6 Experiment 5: Let’s Make a Battery;
Chapter 2: Switching Basics and More;
2.1 Shopping List: Experiments 6 Through 11;
2.2 Experiment 6: Very Simple Switching;
2.3 Experiment 7: Relay-Driven LEDs;
2.4 Experiment 8: A Relay Oscillator;
2.5 Experiment 9: Time and Capacitors;
2.6 Experiment 10: Transistor Switching;
2.7 Experiment 11: A Modular Project;
Chapter 3: Getting Somewhat More Serious;
3.1 Shopping List: Experiments 12 Through 15;
3.2 Experiment 12: Joining Two Wires Together;
3.3 Experiment 13: Broil an LED;
3.4 Experiment 14: A Pulsing Glow;
3.5 Experiment 15: Intrusion Alarm Revisited;
Chapter 4: Chips, Ahoy!;
4.1 Shopping List: Experiments 16 Through 24;
4.2 Experiment 16: Emitting a Pulse;
4.3 Experiment 17: Set Your Tone;
4.4 Experiment 18: Reaction Timer;
4.5 Experiment 19: Learning Logic;
4.6 Experiment 20: A Powerful Combination;
4.7 Experiment 21: Race to Place;
4.8 Experiment 22: Flipping and Bouncing;
4.9 Experiment 23: Nice Dice;
4.10 Experiment 24: Intrusion Alarm Completed;
Chapter 5: What Next?;
5.1 Shopping List: Experiments 25 Through 36;
5.2 Customizing Your Work Area;
5.3 Reference Sources;
5.4 Experiment 25: Magnetism;
5.5 Experiment 26: Tabletop Power Generation;
5.6 Experiment 27: Loudspeaker Destruction;
5.7 Experiment 28: Making a Coil React;
5.8 Experiment 29: Filtering Frequencies;
5.9 Experiment 30: Fuzz;
5.10 Experiment 31: One Radio, No Solder, No Power;
5.11 Experiment 32: A Little Robot Cart;
5.12 Experiment 33: Moving in Steps;
5.13 Experiment 34: Hardware Meets Software;
5.14 Experiment 35: Checking the Real World;
5.15 Experiment 36: The Lock, Revisited;
5.16 In Closing;
Online Retail Sources and Manufacturers;
About the Author;

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2010


    I have been struggling for years to learn Electronics and was only ever just marginally successful. I understood some of the most basic principles, but never things like how & why a transistor worked, or what a resistors true function in a circuit is. Once I read this boo - I GOT IT! For the first time ever I felt like I TRULY understood it, that I could look at a schematic and understand what was going on & why those components were there & what they did. I can't recommend this book highly enough for anyone who desires to learn and understand more about electronics. It has me looking for the next book to further and deepen the understanding I have gained.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2010

    Want to taste electricity? Get this book!!

    If you've wanted to dabble in Electronics, this book is for you. Written so that anyone can understand electronics, and maybe more importantly, so that you are not board, this book will teach you step by step what you need to have, know, and do, to get started right away. From tools to components to micro-controllers, what to do including the release of "magic smoke" on purpose so that you can learn what happens in a totally hands on, REAL world way. Step one, taste electricity...Yeah that's right...We've all done it (Ok maybe not everyone) You'll take a....Wait a minute, you'll have to read the book!! Wanna spend quality time with your son or daughter while learning some really cool stuff? Stuff they (and you) can use throughout your life, like using a DVM. "A DV Who?" you say... Seriously, if you have an interest in learning electronics, GET THIS BOOK!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Very much recommended

    I would very much recommend this book for anyone wishing to start learning electronics, but I would also recommend this book as a reference for anyone in electronics. Platt provides good descriptions and illustrations for each of the concepts covered in the book. Its a must have book for electronics enthusiast.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    good on visuals but not very detailed

    it's good for an instructional guide but that's about it. don't expect to get too in-depth on all electronic parts like diodes and ics although they do a good job on explaining capacitors, resistors, and basic circuit analysis. if you're an electrical engineering major you're better off getting something more in-depth like "electronics for dummies."

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