Take a Video Crash Course in Beginner Electronics

Education Technology
Take a Video Crash Course in Beginner Electronics


In 2008 and 2009, Make: produced a wonderful series of videos, called MAKE Presents, done by the inimitable Collin Cunningham. The idea was to create a series of highly entertaining, user-friendly, and informative videos that would explain the rudiments of electronics — the basic components, tools, and processes used. Collin delivered all of that and more, making the series an early YouTube “hit” for Make:. These videos are too good to forget, and so thought we’d resurface them.

Here are ten of our favorites. You can see all of the series and some related content on this link. I also put links below to the original posts. There’s not much additional content on those links, but some of the posts have lengthy reader discussion that’s worth checking out if you want to delve deeper.

The Resistor

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Simple, commonplace, and vital to our electronic world, take a closer look at the current-fighting backbone of circuitry, the resistor!

The Capacitor

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Collin provides an elegant description of the capacitor, including the earliest capacitors, known as Leyden jars.

The Diode

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It’s the simplest semiconductor device made. It ushered in the age of radio. The electronic valve that rectifies and regulates — MAKE Presents: the diode!

The Transistor

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Collin educates us on the origins and operations of the transistor, the amazing component that revolutionized electronics, the transitor.


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Take a tour through the world of the light-emitting diode (LED) and learn who invented it, how to use it, and how to make your own.

The Inductor

The simple inductor coil stores the energy in an electromagnetic field that makes transformers, electromagnets, and other components possible

The Integrated Circuit

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A brief introduction to the technology that makes it possible for today’s electronics to do so much with very little space — the Integrated Circuit (aka the IC or microchip).

Ohm’s Law

Voltage, Current, and Resistance, three important electrical properties, elegantly intertwined in a simple equation; V = IR, aka Ohm’s Law.

The Digital Multimeter

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Get acquainted with the Digital Multimeter, an engineer’s best friend, and learn how to test such things as resistance, voltage, current, and continuity in a circuit.

The Oscilloscope

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An oscilloscope is a surprisingly easy to use diagnostic tool for electronics once you’ve learned the basics. Here are the basics.

Collin Cunningham now works at Adafruit Industries and continues to do videos, including a continuation of his Collin’s Lab series that he started at Make:. You can access that playlist here.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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