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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best introduction for serious hobbyists
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...
Published on 11 Jun 2010 by P. Cicuta

versus
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 5 months ago by N. Rasmussen


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best introduction for serious hobbyists, 11 Jun 2010
By 
P. Cicuta (UK) - See all my reviews
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book ... but may confuse you long term, 9 Feb 2011
By 
Jim (UK north west) - See all my reviews
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
By 
W. Price (Hereford, UK) - See all my reviews
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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. Platt introduces each component with a background to how the component was introduced, how it works (to some extent, though he does not cover PN & NP junctions which he considers to beyond the scope of the book, fair enough, as it teaching through discovery however one can easily find out more on the internet)

Chapter 3 "Getting somewhat more serious" Covers the introduction of moving a project from bread board to perfboard and making a project permanent; discussing how to solder, how to mount your projects and how to contain them (as well as extend their functionality). This is taught around the implementation of a simple burglar alarm (circuit from the end of chapter 2) bringing together several circuits featured earlier as well in the book and thus giving the reader a taste of the modularity of electronics and how a project can be improved upon by adding extra circuitry.

Chapter 4 "Chips, Ahoy!" Introduces the first ICs of the book, covering the 555 timer (how to produce oscillating circuits), 4026 7 segment display driver as well as logic ICs (74 series logic) teaching the reader the basics of boolean algebra. This chapter covers A LOT of theory, it is presented in an easily digestible colourful layout which I find very easy to learn from (and again, easy to refer back to). My favourite part of this chapter is the discussion of TTL vs. CMOS components (what is the difference, and why you should care) this is invaluable when designing circuits and picking components. Platt also covers a lot of 'problems' and how they are remedied (e.g. switch bounce).

Chapter 5 "What's next" is the final stepping stone after covering the majority of the basics of electronics and encourages the reader to sample some different genres of circuit design, "Audio", "Radio", "Robotics" and "Microcontrollers", this chapter gives a good base on which the reader can choose what direction they would like to take after completing the book and suggests some good books to obtain. It also gives tips on how to setup your workspace and how to organise your electronics components. The experiments it covers introduce new topics to the reader again with theory and background knowledge to compliment it. The projects covered are more advanced and take longer to carry than the early experiments (as is to be expected) and introduce some new skills such as cutting, drilling and bending ABS in experiment 32.

Overall I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in electronics, Platt describes electronics as "A cheap hobby" however, I beg to differ, It has cost a lot to get through the projects I have done so far however it has most definitely been every penny, this book gives a real practical understanding of electronics and not the wishy washy understanding you get just from studying the theory.

Pros:
- "Shopping Lists" at the start of each chapter makes learning far easier, having a list of all the components you need in 1 place is invaluable and what I would say is one the best aspects of this book
- "Theory boxes" After each experiment, theory is introduced in a colourful manner which encourages the reader to fiddle with the experiment and make observations. This definitely gives the reader more intuition when playing around with circuits and is invaluable when advancing onto more complex projects
- The sheer quantity of topics this book manages to cover in ~300 pages is amazing. Experiments are concise but highly informative but do encourage the reader to try and comprehend the circuit and how it works, some circuits are ellaborated on in the theory sections by analysing the circuit with your multimeter thus introducing the reader to trouble shooting.
- Colour. This book is NOT dull on the eyes, it is very engaging and one of the reasons I find myself picking the book up over and over again (bar the content) is to drool over the beautifully produced graphics.

Cons:
- The first addition I have has a few errors in it in circuit diagrams, assuming you have been paying attention to the text these are quite easily corrected but I suggest checking out the errata on the O'reilly website ([...] I suppose this could be quite good for a reader as it makes them debug their circuit and it ensures they understand how the circuit is and should be working.
- Some theory is a bit minimalist in places, I would have liked a little more detail (as I have mentioned earlier, there are plenty of resources to compliment the book)

Why 4 stars instead of 5? Purely because of the errata which I'm sure will be corrected in the future editions. Once these are fixed it's 5 stars from me. This is definitely the most accessible book on the market and pick it up even if you have a passing interest in electronics. I would give it 4.5 if Amazon permitted half stars...

I'd suggest checking out a few of these resources if you do decide to embark on learning electronics:
[...]
[...] (covers the AS level Eletronics syllabus with lots of good theory and questions if you find you need a bit more help on theory)
[...] (Good if you can't remember your resistor colour codes, the resistor attack app further down the page is good if you're having trouble memorising the colour codes)
[...] (my own blog covering my experience with this book and "Learning Processing" by Daniel Shiffman - If you want to learn to program with not previous experience, I'd highly recommend it!)
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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 (UK) - See all my reviews
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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
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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
By 
R. Jones (UK) - See all my reviews
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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
By 
Jaime Alemany Bellido (Torrelodones, Madrid Spain) - See all my reviews
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but some components difficult to source (UK), 28 Dec 2011
By 
M. Potter (Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Make: Electronics: Learning Through Discovery (Kindle Edition)
As other reviewers have said, the style of this book is excellent; it really gets you experimenting which is of course the best way to learn these things. The practical experiments are backed up by small bite-sized theory lessons to re-enforce what you've learned. I bought the Kindle version which (apart from being nearly as expensive as the print copy - one of my gripes with Kindle some times) is well presented and well laid out (another problem with some technical books on Kindle). You can also make notes, bookmark and easily search the Kindle version which I find useful with technical books like this.

That said there are some negatives:

- Some components called for in the experiments are not easy to get in the UK - in the second batch of experiments the author asks you to buy a very specific relay which I found difficult to find;

- The author's claim that the components you need are cheap - I totted up what I'd need to buy online from Maplin for the first 11 experiments (and there are 33 in the book) and it came to about 160. Granted that included a good multimeter at about 50, with many components being re-usable later, but you see the point.

So in summary, well worth it but be prepared to invest a lot more money than the cost of the book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 22 April 2010
By 
T. R. Allen "Tempus Frangit" (Brighton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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O'Reilly books are normally good value and this one particularly so- excellent diagrams, easy enough for an intelligent beginner and deep enough to keep your interest as you learn more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hands on approach to electronics, 25 Oct 2010
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If you like to learn your theory through practical projects then this is the book for you. The step by step nature of the book is easy to follow with very good images and illustrations used to model and demonstrate electronics. Would definitely recommend if you have an interest in Electronics but not sure how to move forward.
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