Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Review of Make: Electronics Part I

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I took some time to start re-reading the book. While I still believe that information will stick when you're using your hands to actually perform the various experiments, I didn't have the time (or the components) to start from scratch. Instead, I'm just re-reading and trying to find anything that I might have missed during my previous read and hands-on time.

This isn't the first time I've re-read Make: Electronics -- I believe it was about a year after I finished my hands-on time with the experiments that I started going back over the material again. I have the book in print and digital formats, and since I carry my tablet with me just about everywhere I go it made it fast and easy to revisit the information.

The early chapters go fast -- I'm already familiar enough with decoding resistors, for example, that I just gloss over that section. The same goes for the chapters on switching and capacitors and soldering. I've done enough of this on my own now that I believe this information is firmly seated. I think where I started really noticing more time spent actually re-reading was in Chapter 3 around Experiment 15 and the opening discussion of diodes. I just take diodes for granted when I'm taking a circuit I've found online or in a book and transferring it to the breadboard. It was nice to go back over this section and remember how "bad voltage" can creep into a circuit. It also forced me to revisit the discussion of transistors and how the different variations of transistors work to allow or disallow current flow.

I'm now up to Chapter 4 that starts the discussion on ICs. I've used quite a few ICs (including the ones I purchased for the book's experiments) over the last few years, but as I skimmed over the chapter to decide if it was worth a more detailed read, I found the 555 timer experiment and realized it wouldn't hurt to start a more in-depth review beginning with Chapter 4.

So, consider this Part I of a few upcoming posts where I'll discuss my reviews of some of the experiments as well as anything I might have forgotten and rediscovered...