I've done only one electronics project since my electronics course in undergrad. I keep meaning to do more, but I never get around to it.
Ladyada interview with Paul Horowitz - The Art of Electronics ...
And doing it with real components and equipment is pretty cheap now.
Still suffers from general problem with electronics books where I hardly know where to start on building real things. People have been recommending Chris Gammel's courses or certain kits for that, though.
I've heard so many horror stories about how great technical books get mangled when they're made into ebook versions (frankly I'd be quite happy with a proper PDF version).
Speaking of quality, their Android bundles are unfortunately pure garbage. They used to be great but now they are just garbage. If someone from the humblebundle team is reading this: what the hell is going on there?
One of the reasons I buy these. PDFs rock.
Although that's probably breaking copyright laws...
cheap that will print and bind a pdf for you
The more specific (by theme) Make book won't explain those basics most of the time, they're more like paint by the number, which can be good. Still, being able to understand the underlying will allow you to change and evolve them.
I've tried to do some basic circuits, but I always strike the same issue: resistors. Most basic books just say "add this resistor here", meaning that whenever I've tried to make changes I either kill my circuits or don't give them enough power (you can have hours of fun debugging electronics when you have a dead circuit and you don't know it).
Is there a simple equation I'm missing somewhere? And perhaps more related, is this issue covered in one of these books?
I'm not very proficient in hardware, so I'm about as confused as you, but clarifying your question can help. I bought these books (not the plus bundle, though) and they explain things a lot, so there is a very nice explanation for what resistors do in them, and hopefully why they're used where they're used. I mean, for $2 or so, there's no question about it.
However, I think the biggest problem for why resistors / capacitors / inductors / transformers are confusing for people coming from a software background is that they tend to (a) have to do with power circuitry, (b) be backed by physics that are non-digital, & (c) be fundamentally parallel/functional in nature. So a lot of intuition we have about digital state wrt imperative languages makes analog power circuitry design / function seem bizarre.
If you're really curious, I'd try and find an introductory text to basic power circuitry design (good starting point: how to build a passive & active AC/DC transformer). Most of the components get used in that context and if you can understand them there then you can understand them anywhere.
Also, this book:
Buying all the components yourself separately would be a nightmare if not impossible
The kit I got is from Chaney electronics. It is linked to from the site .
There's a more expensive kit from Makershed. The ones on Amazon are for the first edition of the book so don't get it there. Get it on Makershed's site. Again though it's more expensive by half.
The trick is to order from $0.99 Chinese eBay sellers and have patience to wait a few months for all the mail to arrive.
If you get something in bad shape, such as bent IC pins (or never get it, although that's quite rare) do NOT give negative feedback, instead contact the seller and they will gladly post another packet your way, so that they can get good feedback.
Of course, if you are in a hurry, there are lots of component shops that will sell you the same things for 10x the price and deliver them in a few days.
I suppose their target audience is a manager at a large enterprise who's buying a subscription as a perk for his employees; he doesn't really care about a precise list of books so long as he knows that it's big.