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Weekend Watch: Exploring Electronics with TestCase TV

Weekend Watch: Exploring Electronics with TestCase TV

One of the many things I love about the maker movement, especially the high-tech/electronics and programming quarters of it, is the way that so many people, with different skills sets, skill levels, and teaching styles have taken to YouTube to teach what they know to others. We all learn differently and different teaching styles appeal to each of us.

When I was learning electronics in the 1980s, there was so little material available and most of it was written by engineers who didn’t really know how to talk to mere mortals and arty-farty types like myself. Learning how electronics worked, building and troubleshooting circuits and building hobby robots took persistence and some serious heavy lifting. Few of these barriers exist today, thanks to resources such as Make:, Instructables, YouTube, MakerShare, and other widely available and widely appealing online learning destinations.

One stellar example of this approachability is TestCase TV, a 6-month-old YouTube channel by a maker who goes by the name of Metalnat Hayes. Metalnat describes himself as “a computer programmer and overzealous helping hand.” With a very clear, patient, and casual teaching style, in his videos (11 to date), Metalnat runs through the electronics basics of how to use a multimeter, how to ID resistors, Ohms Law and choosing resistors for LEDs, how buttons, switches, and batteries work, and more.

If I were learning electronics today, this is the kind of hand-holding and learning style I would gravitate towards. It’s a comfort to know that dozens and dozens of such video education resources now exist online. Here are a few examples of TestCase TV’s video offerings.

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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. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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