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Book review – Make: Electronics: Learning Through Discovery

Make: Electronics is a practical guide to hobby electronics. It’s very much a hands-on guide encouraging learning by experimentation.

Some of the experiments involve deliberate damage to components. Whilst I understand that this can be a good way to learn I think there are other ways of teaching which don’t encourage deliberately overloading components. My real concern however is that one of the experiments involves soldering mains electrical wires together. Mains electricity is very dangerous and I wouldn’t recommend this as an exercise for beginners to soldering.

The book includes circuit diagrams, but rather than following the traditional circuit diagram layout the diagrams are positioned as though they are placed onto a breadboard. Whilst this makes it easier to transfer the designs onto a breadboard it makes it harder to understand how the circuits work as it does not show the relationship of how the components are interconnected.

A number of the circuits are based around the 555 timer integrated circuit and there is a very good explanation of how the 555 timer works internally as well as how to incorporate it into circuits.

The book does cover a programmable integrated circuit (PIC) / micro controller unit (MCU) called the PICAXE. It is however only a very short section and doesn’t give justice as to what can be achieved with these PICs. In particular the Arduino has shown the potential of what can now be achieved, but is hardly mentioned in the book.

Summary

A good book that provides an easy start for anyone starting out in hobby electronics. Some things are different in their approach, but I think that key thing in the book is that it will leave the reader wanting more.

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