I’m very new to electronics but have dabbled a little with Arduino in the past but never stuck with it because I didn’t really have a purpose or project. Are there any kits or books recommended to start? I’ve looked at Make: Electronics but it requires a kit of components or you have to source them yourself. As for kits, I would prefer something that is useful for future projects such as a power supply kit that could power a breadboard. Any suggestions? By the way Chris, your Shine On You Crazy KiCad videos are great and I hope to follow along and complete that project at some point once I get some basics under my belt.
I’ve really enjoyed the Forrest Mims books that Radio Shack sells for learning electronics. The only thing with those is, in order to really learn the material it requires buying some electronic components and putting them together and experimenting. For kits I usually go to Tindie and search for something I’m interested in to see if someone has made a kit for it. For example, here’s some neat kits that came up when I searched for “soldering kit” on Tindie. Depending on your soldering experience, you may want to start with a kit that has mostly through hole components. Have you checked out the Getting to Blinky course yet? It was great at least for me when I was first learning how to solder. And getting your first board back from oshpark and assembling it is a tremendous motivator.
Thanks for the response. I’ll take a look at Forrest Mims book. I do have a project in mind but I’m just worried it is way beyond my skill level at this point. I have a few lighting projects I want to try and the major one is redoing the lighting in my garage. I’ve seen a few projects online using cheap Chinese LEDs like these but I wanted something with Higher CRI and more neutral color. On eBay I found some Osram 5730 LED emitters that are 95 CRI and 4000K for pretty cheap. Do you think this is worth tackling? This is for a learning experience so being tedious or not worth the trouble isn’t really a problem for me. I was planning on getting a base pcb for these LEDs first to make sure I can solder them. Then I can buy those strips to desolder and add the better LEDs or even better, create my own PCB design and get it made. Is this a worthy endeavor or should I look to something more basic?
What do you want to learn? Simple hardware things (NE555 stuff with some Linear regulators) or programming (like Arduino / microcontrollers) with some hardware attached?
I ask this because the Tron Club monthly (ish) kits are pretty cool. The beginner kits are more introductions to hardware with the NE555 / linear regulators and some LEDs / some extra things. The advanced kits are programming with an ATtiny.
The cool thing about the kits is they provide you with all of the parts needed for that month’s kit and also an online booklet that gives some background/understanding of what is going on. I’m doing a review… thing of the advanced kits on this forum now.
While they wouldn’t be “useful” as in getting things to use later. It might be nice to give you ideas/understanding of where to start on your own designs by giving a working example (with the parts!)
I think the LED strips would make for a good project. Having a project in mind like this will help you stay motivated. My parents actually just redid their kitchen and had those same strips put in for under cabinet lighting. If I remember next time I’m at their house I’ll take some pics of their setup.
@ScottS has a great suggestion too with that Tron Club kit. It may be a nice option since all of the components for each tutorial are mailed to you each month.
Thanks for all the feedback. I think for me the project approach is going to be the best way to learn and I can learn/fail along the way. I started last night on the Blinky project in Kicad and will go from there but as a twist I’ll try to work in a 5730 led which is what I want to use for most of my lighting projects I have in mind. I’m going to go ahead and buy some basic components from eBay and then buy components as needed whenever I get to to the next project. I also need a variable temperature soldering iron. Should I just get one of the 936 clones? I was also looking at some of the T12 clones that looked promising and were under $50.
I was at my parent’s house the other night and managed to snap a few pics of their LED strips. Their setup seems pretty simple, it looks like the strips have a peel and stick back to them, so they just stuck them at the bottom edge of the cupboard. They said that one mistake that the installer made initially was placing the strips too close to the wall, which I guess made the light not reflect properly off of the wall. Essentially, they just have a 12 volt power supply plugged into a switched outlet. The power supply is Velcro’d under the cabinet. Then from the power supply they spliced the wires into the LED strip and covered it with some heat shrink tubing.
Jon, how are they controlled? Just an on/off switch? No dimming, colour changing?
Yep, just a regular old wall switch. Dimming and color changing would have been really neat features to add.