I'm a complete newbie to robotics, but I'm very interested. I have a
Computer Science degree, so the programming part won't pose a problem I
don't think - unfortunately that is one of the last stages in robot
I think I need to start off learning some basic electronics. I have a
book entitled "Practical Electronics for Inventors." Unfortunately,
while it's very informative, it's not very /Practical/. For instance, I
have NO idea how to go about putting together a simple circuit, or good
ways of translating from circuit diagrams to an actual circuit. Does
anyone know of any good books or other resources for learning the
practicalities of electronics?
Thanks in advance.
Uh, oh -- there's you problem! <g>
Serviously, for learning basic electronics get the older Forrest Mims
books from Radio Shack. They don't sell the Electronics Mini Notebooks
now, but a few years back they republished these in larger format as one
or two books. Check around to see if your local Radio Shack has any. If
not, try the local library. They are very hands-on, and do an excellent
job teaching you the basics.
But books really aren't all that helpful just by themselves. Electronics
is a hands-in discipline. Consider one of the better "adult level"
electronics experimenters' labs. Good ones go for $100-175. Ramsey and a
few others sell some good learning labs. They have all the parts you
need to construct several hundred test circuits. The manuals tend to be
poor, though, with pidgin English (most are poorly translated from
Chinese), but electronics is a universal language. You'll get the gist
Author: Constructing Robot Bases,
Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza
Actually three books(not including the minis or 'computer projects' and a
few others ...trying to keep the same class). Four if you consider one
having two different covers. A fair amount has been copied in one another
books as it were. Five if you also include 'Getting Started in Electronics'
(thought that one was about the most simplistic- out of print anyway), and
six if you include the one that comes with 'Electronics Learning Lab'
(Radioshack pn#28-280). Radioshack.com looks as though is down 'til the
(later)morning. Oops nope came back up just now just type 28-280 in the
This is what it looks like anyway ( better picture):
Not a bad price. Normally runs $60us. Not recommending ebay or the seller
Pretty cool kit. The use of a 24 pin capable solderless proto would have
been better ... but I guess nobody thought that. Though it will accommodate
quite a few PICs and AVR. It does have 18 leds considering using the 8
Good for general experimentation. Not as good as the prof. units but
essentially a lot of the basics and considerably cheaper. Might want to lop
off the ends on some wall warts(plug-in-wall AC power adapters) to save on
Radioshack tried selling the mini's for profit sake. Thought that was
pretty crummy of them actually. Anyway, the Mims books are available in
bookstores or even:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Saw this while looking about too:
(see disclaimer... snicker)
You also might want to look at Steve Ciarcias books as well.
Most of which are a bit more advanced and not so generalized.
or on ... hard to distinguish the difference with some of my rat's nests. :p
I thinks I said that before. hmmm ... better check google.com .. HEY! ...
we're no longer being archived ... how sad.
Second that- 'pigeon' English- is prevalent in a lot of the science-fair and
no-name electronics lab kits. One of the first kits that came out was the
Science-Fair 100-in-1 Electronics lab. Instructions in French, Spanish,
English and Chinese. Problem being that the English translation read as
well as the Chinese or any other. Spurring probably more linguists than
Recommend the second edition of the Robot Builders Bonanza. Gordon Mc Comb
is one of the few authors who actually supports his own work
actively(obvious?). It should be mentioned that 'Lasers, Ray Guns and
Light Cannons' is a bit much.(snicker/rib-rib). ' Gordon McComb's
Gadgeteers Goldmine ' - pretty good too.
'Art of Electronics' - good book also, but more technical.
mmm... A good multimeter would go a-long-way with this. Not really needed
to just play around but something that'll go to the millivolt range is
probably best. Roundabout $20-40. Go digital. There are virtues to an
analog sweep but nobody reads mechanical clocks anymore. ;) A cheap used
(oscillo)scope would probably be a good addition but then that's probably
later ($$$). 20mhz is just fine to start. It just helps to give a better
picture of the goings on.
Then a good soldering iron, a shit load of wire, pcb's, diagonals, flush
cutters, strippers, better probes, coffee (lots and lots), psychotherapy ...
umm better stop here.
Hope that some of this helps.
Have fun damnit.
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