Complete Newbie, Where to start, Electronics?

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 building.

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.

Reply to
Tim Ford
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Uh, oh -- there's you problem!

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 of it.

-- Gordon Author: Constructing Robot Bases, Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza

Reply to
Gordon McComb

take a look at

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they have some good ebooks you can download free in pdf all about electric circuits & electronics, some have 500+ pages so it takes a while to download

Reply to

Infix proceeding: Gordon McComb wrote in message ...

he he hee - funny stuff that :)

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). looks as though is down 'til the (later)morning. Oops nope came back up just now just type 28-280 in the search bar. This is what it looks like anyway ( better picture):

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a bad price. Normally runs $60us. Not recommending ebay or the seller btw. 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 segment display. 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 batteries. 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:
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Saw this while looking about too:
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(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 .. 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 electronics engineers.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 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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