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Make Electronics: Learning by Discovery [Paperback]

Charles Platt
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
RRP: 22.50
Price: 15.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Dec 2009

"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 (Booklocker.com)

"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

Frequently Bought Together

Make Electronics: Learning by Discovery + Practical Electronics for Inventors, Third Edition
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More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

Burn things out, mess things up-that's how you learn.

About 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.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best introduction for serious hobbyists 11 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
I have a range of books on electronics, circuits, robotics... and this one is my favourite. By far the best introduction to making electronics for serious hobbyists. Look elsewhere for detailed fundamentals (impedance, Kirchoff, digital logic) or industrial scale electronics... but read this book for the hands-on knowledge and wealth of ideas, tips and examples that it contains. Ideal reference for home automation projects, one-off prototypes (for example in an academic science, or research project), interactive installations. Written in a very clear and pleasant style, with great diagrams. Complements nicely two other volumes I enjoyed in the same editorial series: "Getting Started with Arduino" and "Making Things Talk: Practical Methods for Connecting Physical Objects".
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By Jim
Format:Paperback
I bought this book to ' get back' into electronics after 10 years away. It explains things from the basics and moves forward in a way that is clear and easy to understand . For this I would give it five stars..........
However there is a convention in electronics for drawing circuit diagrams ( basically inputs on the left and outputs on the right, with positive voltages at the top and negative or ground at the bottom) This book completely ignores this convention and I found the circuit diagrams difficult to follow as there is also no consistency. If you start with these circuit diagrams and move onto conventional circuits I think it could be very confusing.
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to hobby electronics 15 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had been wanting to learn electronics for a very long time and hadn't really come across any books that had seemed approachable to a beginner, most seemed either too basic (covering very little) or too advanced (assuming a prior knowledge of some basic electronics). I pre-ordered this as soon as it was released as I am an avid read of MAKE and have found other O'Reilly books to be of very high quality.
MAKE: Electronics covers the basics of electricity (what is AC and DC current) up to using logic ICs and touches on microcontrollers (the PICAXE). Each chapter introduces a new topic building on what has been learnt in the previous topics, Platt does not repeat himself in the book therefore encouraging the reader to refer back to the earlier material. Theory is not integrated with the experiment text but compliments it after the experiment (teaching via "Do first, then understand what is going on" which holds the readers attention), this makes it incredibly easy to find little snippets of theory when referring back to earlier experiments (which you will have to do to so to comprehend the circuits unless you have a great memory).

Chapter 1 "Experiencing electricity" Covers the very basics of electronics such as reading resistor values, using a multimeter, current, voltage and resistance (the hydraulic analogy) and how they feature in an electric circuit.

Chapter 2 "Switching" covers the use of slightly more complex semiconductors such as Transistors, PUTs, diodes and capacitors as well as relays, loudspeakers and LEDs.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 9 April 2010
By S. D. Spicer VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm 55. I've been trying to learn electronics since I was 13. Somehow, the stuff never sticks. That was until I found this book. This book doesn't throw the theory at you until you need it. Encourages experimentation, sometime to destruction to prove a point, and at last I'm making some headway. It's great fun as well.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but very American 3 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not that I've got a problem with the book being American but when it tells you what components you need, it mainly provides reference numbers for Radio Shack in America.

I'm sure this would be great in America but as we don't have Radio Shack in the UK it means having to pay careful attention to the data associated with components as we have to buy from alternative suppliers making the shopping part a time consuming process - you can't buy with the confidence in your decision you would have with a part number.

Some recommended outlets in the UK would have been good, ideal if it had come with UK supplier part numbers. Not really the fault of the author but something which UK based buyers should be aware of before purchasing.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm pleased 3 May 2010
Format:Paperback
So far I've mainly dipped into this book and have just bought the supplies for the first two chapters (11 experiments and circuits). My main aim was get my son (and me as well) to appreciate the underlying concepts of circuits after building a few solder by numbers kits from Maplin and this appears to fit the bill.
One thing to remember is that the costs go beyond just buying the book. Individual components are relatively cheap but the initial outlay on a multimeter, breadboard & soldering iron etc. is definitely beyond pocket money. That said once the core items are purchased the rest of the components can be bought as an when needed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, easy and well explained 4 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
From absolute zero to quite complex projects, this book is fun to read, easy to understand, but also packed with theory and historical background; I'm using it to teach my son (11) and he's understanding everything so far - as I've do.

Only small drawback - be ready to shop for components and tools, plan to spend $150+, but ... is there any other way to really learn electronics?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product
Excellent product everybody should have one or to of product excellent working 100 percent ok speedy delivery excellent that is why i give it five stars excellent Make... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Trevor
5.0 out of 5 stars Starts slowly, but builds well
From the other reviews I was put off by the start of the book - it's very basic and I was worried that I'd wasted my money, but the level builds quickly and while it is only... Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect starting point for beginners
Great buy, go at your own pace from zero, easy to understand,5stars.
Some expect you to have some knowledge,not this one.
Published 2 months ago by pego mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilled and turned on!
Turned on to Electronics that is!! A very masterfull book put together in a hands on, lets do it format, am very pleased with this purchase, am now 'into' electronics properly,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Takeittoem.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for young electronics enthusiasts
This was bought as a gift for my teenage nephew who enjoys designing and building his own electronics projects. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Katharine, Lancashire
3.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to the novice
Would give 4 start if it had a complete partlist, Would give it another star if the chapter on microcontrollers where more up to date.
Published 6 months ago by N. Rasmussen
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Before I got this book, my cat new more about electronics that me, but now I am very well into my first project. The book is clear, well written and quite funny in places. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Matt J
5.0 out of 5 stars Patiently leads you through the basics
Having bought a Raspberry Pi last summer, I wanted to explore its potential to interface with the outside world and that meant, learn some electronics. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr_Zambezi
5.0 out of 5 stars The best beginners book about electronics I have found
I was previously an electronics engineer in the British Army and wanted a book that would give my 13 year old son a good primer on the subject as he is starting to cover the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by J BARBER
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Just started going through it together with my 13 year old, and so far, so good.

I used the 'Click to look inside' to pull together a shopping list for the first 2-3... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Pomf
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