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on 28 September 2012
This is the best introduction to practical electronics I have found. It is clearly written and well illustrated and the suggested experiments are interesting and help you learn. The problem is that it is written with US suggestions for parts. There is a parts kit available from a US shipper for chapters 1-4 but it is expensive and the shipping costs significant especially if you get hit with customs/VAT. Instead I ordered nearly all the parts from Maplin: their GCSE component kit is an excellent start and then you only need to add a few switches and potentiometers. If you read ahead a few chapters you can find what you need and Maplin have a small minimum order quantity. I thought the last chapter got a little esoteric and the computing part has dated quickly. However all in all, I strongly recommend this.
In case it helps others, I recommend as a next step: Hands on Electronics: A practical introduction to Analog and Digital Circuits by Kaplan and White. It deals very well with the bits this book skims over, particularly transitors and op amps. You will need a scope and will have to cobble together the right power supplies or buy an bench unit but there are good value versions available on Amazon (Rigol scope and Basetech BT-305 power supply are good).
A good text book will also help. I resisted buying the bible, The Art of Electronics by HandH, for ages because it is ridiculously expensive and out of date, but finally succumbed and did not regret it. The explanations and exercises are outstanding and only the component lists and computing parts date really badly.
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on 27 December 2014
Some of the "experiments" feel a bit like filler material eg. how to blow an LED or a battery - I bet most people will manage both during their first outings with a soldering iron... Also seems to jump into ICs fairly quickly without having really explained basics such as voltage splitting or flow of electricity through a circuit. Occasionally the analogies used are a bit "off" and don't really help in understanding what's going on. The book is OK but you'll need access to the Internet to do background reading.
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2015
* Introduction

This book is well bound with quality paper and the binding is excellent. The text is well sized for the pages.

* Target audience?

Its target audience i.m.h.o is anything from A level and upwards. To my mind this book has been written to help the following groups; the student who is coming to this for the first time and so is very well equipped with this book, or any student that's found these skills base is a bit rusty.

* What's it best features?

This book is another gem. There are places in your bookcases for down - to - earth, practical explanations of basic skills as explained within this rather wonderful book. Such as how to build discrete circuits on circuit boards with the ultimate in clarity using colour pictures and easier to comprehend explanations of, say, the well - known 555 timer using these skills and other designs, such as including transistors in circuits. The technical level has almost all the mathematical removed from the book, this to encourage the learner to concentrate on the clarity it going through to show. There are other books to help with the mathematical stuff. I read this book in two sittings and loved reading it.

* Summary

This book explains the fundamental electrical skills you need to know, but in the highly competitive studies you may feel embarrassed to admit you do not know already. I wish i had this book when i did my studies as it would have accelerated my progression in technical reports and practical circuit building and designing.
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on 13 January 2014
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. After a couple of false starts, I found this book. Some of the reviews told me that this American book makes reference to American suppliers. This is true but in the real world, we need to source our own components. These all seem to be available from Amazon, Farnell or Maplin, I just need to trawl through their websites. Where American & European conventions differ, in the use of some symbols for instance, the book is careful to give both versions.

This book needs to be read three times: First to find out what you will be doing and to order the components, second to rig up the circuit and actually do it and third, when you have moved on but need a reminder of how a technique worked. This is made easier by the many boxes, which give practical or historical insight but can be skipped over on subsequent reading. I like the progression which the book follows. For instance, Chapter 2 is on switching and starts with a simple switch, bringing in "pole" and "throw" before moving to a relay, a switch which is moved electronically. The flow brings in capacitors before moving to transistor switching and before you know it, you are building electronic circuits.

Stick with this book and you will learn how to think about electronics. I already feel less daunted by the GPIO on my Raspberry Pi and by the end of the book, I expect to have the ability to build something to connect to it.
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on 1 October 2012
My 11 year old son received this as a birthday present as he had become interested in digital electronics - one of his school books had demonstrated a 'full adder' in comic-strip fashion and he decided he wanted to have a go and build one for himself.

The book is well illustrated and has some excellent photographs of the components you'll be using. The writing style is easy to follow and in-depth background information is included in optional sections. I like the way that the circuits being built evolve from things held together with crocodile clips which are easy to put together quickly through the use of breadboards and on to soldered projects building skills and knowledge on the way. One minor criticism is that although the author lists the parts needed for projects at the start of each section it isn't always that clear how vital they are to the main thrust of the book, some are only there to be destroyed and some for one side project.

As to the audience of the book, my son has loved it. We are about a third of the way through and he was thrilled with his first breadboard project, a siren with two stage amplification built from transistors. He is looking forward to the later parts where he starts to play with logic gates and can make his full-adder, but also to making a little amplifier for his MP3 player.

As an American book it can be tricky to find the exact match for some of the parts and it is worth shopping around for internet based sellers for the components. I'd estimate that we've spent about £50 on parts so far (thank goodness he got some Birthday money!) and that should cover the first half to two thirds of the book. Costs can be cut by not buying project boxes and using bits and pieces from around the house.

Overall I'd recommend this book, I've learned a lot from it and my son has thoroughly enjoyed it, more so than the Cambridge Brainbox style of clip together electronic kits that he had tried before.
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on 21 November 2013
Of the many, many books I've read about electronics this book stands out as the best I have read or even seen before.
The author, Charles Platt deserves a knighthood for his work. This book if filled with straightforward, easy to simulate information.
The illustrations are first class. A whole range of useful, important information is contained in this book: such as who and when
volts, amps and other scientific information came into being. Every Secondary School should have several sets of these books
in their technology department. Even a few copies should be found in our primary schools.
I sincerely hope other books like this one will be produced in the near future. Buy this book and you will never regret it.
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on 7 October 2013
I decided to try this book after reading all the customer reviews. I wanted something that would start from the beginning and this book is exactly that. The aim for me, is to try and gain a good understanding of electronics. I like the fact that it has lots of diagrams and is very easy to follow. I like to learn by example and this book is full of them. I would definitely recommend this book.

The only small draw back is this book is written for the American market. With a lot of references to Radioshack and some slightly different names for some components.

I will definitely buy the next one Make: More Electronics but the same author. Nice book Mr Platt.
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on 10 February 2015
I attended a 3 week 'intro to electronics' course some years back which cost my employer £1500. Upon completion I discovered that I had learned practically nothing useful. Got this book today and three hours later I have a fair understanding of the basic principles, and have already completed a few actual experiments. The book cost me £20, whereas the course cost £1500 and took me out of work for 3 weeks at a further cost in lost time. You do the maths. Actually....belay that. Forget the maths. Leap forwards and buy the book. Do the practicals, then marvel at how easily you WILL understand. Have lots of fun doing it, emerge triumphant with new found skills + enthusiasm to delve deeper. Of course, I shall put my calculator to more robust work soon. But the fact is you DON'T need to endure a bewildering blinding with theory or complicated algebra in order to get underway. You just need this book, and a willingness to stump up a very modest outlay. What are you waiting for?....just do it :)
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on 18 December 2013
Very good to get started in electronics& I would recommend to the inexperienced/starter.

However, personally I did find that I wanted more technical explanation to it's topics and a little more theory/maths. At times, the exercises were a little too pre-meditated(!)/blinkered and didn't explain alternative solutions, methods or components.

Although I gained a great fundamental understanding for what different components did, I lacked a more general knowledge of what components (IC's & semiconductors) were generally available and specifically how each one should be used to solve subtly different problems.

Would still recommend it though - it was a good first book on the subject
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on 1 April 2014
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, arrived at a reasonable time(from the USA), price was excellent , value for money o yes!! Packaging excellent, Thrilled by use of illustration and actual photographs as well, Can't recommend this book enough!.....................T.
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