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In the past, we’ve run monthly themes on the site (e.g. Earth Sciences, Alt.Transportation, Citizen Science). This year, we’re going to do a series of monthly “Make: Skill Sets” (special articles and projects and round-ups of existing projects and posts designed to teach basic competency in a discipline).

To coincide with the forthcoming release of MAKE Volume 25, our Arduino issue, our first Skill Set is on electronics. As you can imagine, we’ve done quite a bit of coverage on electronics over the past six years and we’ll be rounding up the best of it, filling in some of the blanks with new articles and projects, excerpting from our best-selling Make: Electronics book, and maybe even launching a contest or two. We’ll kick things off tomorrow. In the meantime, if you want to follow along at home, you might want to check out some of the books, tools, and kits in our Introduction to Electronics section in the Maker Shed.

And, as always, we’d love to hear from you. What would you like to see us cover in the realm of beginner electronics skills? Got some area in your core competency that needs a little shoring up? Let us know in Comments below and we’ll see what we can do.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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Comments

  1. Thirstyboots says:

    My son loves electronics, a shared passion between him and his daddy. Last year Daddy bought our son Legos NXT Mindstorms and it was a hit. Daddy passed away a few months back and so our son and I have no one qualified to help answer those electronic questions that mom doesn’t know about, (but has always wanted to learn!) This last holiday, dear son was given Make: Electronics Components Pack 1 along with the Make: Electronics Book. This is a great one, two combination hit!!! I didn’t have to run around and try to buy components all over the place. I didn’t even have to know what the differences were between capacitors, resistors and the rest. The Components Pack is well labeled and the book has step by step instructions so that even a novice like this mom can understand! Thanks for the hard work of putting this whole lot together! We’re having a blast not only learning about electronics, but remembering Daddy while we’re doing it. I want to give a hearty and grateful THANK YOU to all who put these two together!
    Hugs,
    From A Blessed Mom

    1. migpics says:

      I recently moved out of the US to Norway and have been communicating with my family through Skype or Google chat. My nephew and I used to work on projects together when I lived in San Diego but now, it’s a bit more difficult.
      I got him the make electronics kit starter package, book and electronics kit and we’re going to be going over the experiments online using skype and a web cam.
      I wonder if there’s a way someone can volunteer and be a Skype Mentor and help mentor you and your son through some of the experiments even if it’s once a week or something like that.

  2. Joe Pitz says:

    I am on the last chapter of Make Electronics.
    Ready to move on the the next level. A good continuation would be to learn how to design the types of circuits that were covered in the book. Related math, circuit analysis and skills need to learn how to design circuits.

    Great, I am ready to continue

  3. MarcP says:

    Very kind to ask us what we’d like to learn :)
    I think a good entry would be how to use the I/O of all these boards.
    For example, if i want to check the signals out of a car with a microcontroller, i had no problems with the code itself for the board, i’m a programmer. But how to plug a +12V signal into an I/O pin that’s said to be “logical” ? The same to read a voltage, a capacitor… I’ve talked to a lots of friends : a lot of peoples are able to do a little bit of code but don’t know how to connect the wires without burning the board. A small example would be how to check on an old car : resistance for the fuel level, +12v entries for the car signals, capacitor for the oil pressure, and how to connect properly a relay to a board. You explain it, i’ll do it ;)
    Thanks for the good time reading your magazine and keep up the good work !

  4. Ross Hershberger says:

    Hey, Gareth. I’ve been distilling down the lessons from the long question/answer threads in the comments to my Squelette article from back in the summer. I’ve answered a lot of questions about electronics math. Electronics Makers take things like Ohm’s Law and component value calculations for granted. This material is not intuitive, but could become so with the right kind of explanations. I think a good approach would be to explain why electrons, resistors, capacitors, inductors, etc. behave as they do. This knowledge supports understanding of their action in circuits much better than just memorizing equations.
    No, I’m not volunteering to write some. Well maybe a little bit.

  5. migpics says:

    I’d really like to learn more about making things move with electronics. Take for instance the blinking light experiment in the make electronics book, that’s awesome but how do I hook up a 9 volt solenoid to that so I can control a lever that smashes the top of a bottle to make a drum beat?
    Right now I’m experimenting with Python and NXT just so I can learn programming and I was so excited when I made the motors turn!
    And maybe you guys can explain why my soldering iron sometimes takes a long time to get hot then other times, is just burning up (I’m using the one from the electronics kit from the maker shed store)
    Thanks!

  6. Hiro says:

    What people should learn:

    How to read a circuit diagram [I think you guys call them schematics] – and related to this, why a magazine that publishes electronics projects should ALWAYS include a circuit diagram.

    As well as ohms law, the basics of power, voltage & current [why you can't power a fan heater with a battery, & why using a 9V battery to provide 5V via a linear regulator is a bad idea, why you must get the voltage right when selecting a power adapter, but the current can look after itself as long as you provide more than the draw, etc]. A lot of noobs in the forums get this stuff wrong.