Charles Platt

Charles Platt

Charles Platt is the author of Make: Electronics, an introductory guide for all ages. He is completing a sequel, Make: More Electronics, and is the author of Volume One of the Encyclopedia of Electronic Components. Volumes Two and Three are in preparation.

Latest from Charles Platt


Normally lurking unseen inside stereo systems, the digital potentiometer needs no adjustment, because it adjusts itself. Its fluctuating resistance can change the color or brightness of a light, the loudness or frequency of a sound, or any other parameters that depend on voltage and current. Read more »

Figure D: Although neon lamps with ornamental electrodes aren’t being made anymore, the old ones last for decades.

Vintage components that add character to your creations. Read more »


Note: This is an excerpt from Charles Platt’s newest book, The Encyclopedia of Electronic Components, Volume 2, the second in his reference trilogy. Unlike the “Learning by Discovery” emphasis of Charles’ popular Make: Electronics and Make: More Electronics, the Encyclopedia series doesn’t have step-by-step instructions for experiments, but rather, is... Read more »

Figure F

Generate enough power to light an LED through the magic of inductive charging. Read more »

Three electret microphones viewed from below. Upper right: from RadioShack. Upper left: from Bottom: from The ground terminal is on the right-hand side in each case.

Electret mics are now tiny, high-quality, and available for less than $1 each. Read more »


Get beautiful macro shots using this inexpensive hardware and software setup. Read more »

Gunther Kirsch/MAKE

Try these clever off-label uses for an underappreciated component. There are billions of triacs in the world. In almost every lamp dimmer, every electric stove, and many motor controllers, power is moderated by a triac clipping a portion of each positive and negative AC pulse. Read more »