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Make: Electronics Book Bundle (humblebundle.com)
178 points by lolptdr on June 15, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 63 comments

I'm very tempted to buy this, but I know it would just be another hobby that I don't have time for. Even if I could afford to be retired, I doubt I would have enough time to explore all the things that interest me.

Yup... I have "The Art of Electronics" megatome sitting right next to this keyboard I'm typing on. Will I have time to open it up this month? Maybe to wistfully flip through it, right before I go to bed. Otherwise, probably not.

That book -- I tried reading it. It's ... well, hard to stay focused. Ended up just now getting "Learning the Art of Electronics: A Hands-On Lab Course," its student manual companion, in the hopes that I'll be able to follow both easier than just one alone. :)

I have an earlier edition of "The Art of Electronics" and I'm wondering how different the latest edition is. That said, I rarely open it so it probably doesn't really matter anyway.

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.

I bought the new one on the basis of the sample chapter that is available to download at any number of places. It's a much much better book in terms of readability and structure, and has a lot of additional content compared to the previous edition. A lot has happened in electronics since 1989. I recommend you go read the sample chapter and decide accordingly.

To be clear, though, it doesn't cover software, or what you'd need for Arduino-based projects. But it has quite a few sections at the end for micro-processor based projects and communication protocols, etc. I found it to be a good starting point for definitions or ideas, and to then head to the internet for more details.

There's also: Ladyada interview with Paul Horowitz - The Art of Electronics ... http://youtu.be/iCI3B5eT9NA

Thanks for the info. I'm not worried about software. I've done enough low-level programming for that to be not a problem. I'm knowledgeable enough about electronics, what I need most of all is a good reference which is why I have the earlier edition.


The lab manual is definitely the way to go, especially if you have a good circuit simulator available.

And doing it with real components and equipment is pretty cheap now.

me too!

Any of you doing that might try Malvino's Electronic Principles. An EE recommended it to me as explaining the stuff better than most with some practical advice mixed in. Got a relevant edition for under $3 on Amazon. Finally understand quite a few things.

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.

In that case, do you suppose that the value of reading about the hobby is worth $15 to you? There is perhaps pleasure to be had just reading about it and dreaming about it.

Oh absolutely. The six-foot tall stack of books in my to-read pile attests to that.

You should probably split it into two three-foot tall stacks.

Well if you're looking to donate, Equality Florida is on the Humble Bundle charity roster. They're collecting for and helping distribute money to Pulse victims and their families.

http://www.eqfl.org/ https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund

buy it anyway. it's for a good cause

Can someone who has actually bought this tell us whether this is as good as the print versions? Things like all the diagrams and photos being present, having good resolution, etc.

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).

I bought one of the previous Make Magazine bundles, and the PDF's were very high quality. Definitely recommended over the ebook versions, as there's a lot of formatting.

I buy all their bundles. The PDF quality is usually good but that could also mean that the files are too big to be read on a tablet or a phone. The mobi & epub versions are sometimes just a dump of the PDF file.

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?

As far as I know, all of the Humble Bundles offer PDF, MOBI, and EPUB format. (DRM-free, of course.) The PDFs are all fully-formatted pages, the way the publisher intended.

One of the reasons I buy these. PDFs rock.

Are there any services that are easy to use and cheap that will print and bind a pdf for you? I'd love to get spiral-bound programming books or textbooks that actually stay open on a desk without having to pin them or destroy the spines.

Although that's probably breaking copyright laws...

  cheap that will print and bind a pdf for you
Google for thesis / dissertation printing. There's an entire industry dedicated to printing and binding one or two copies of PDFs :)

I'm pretty sure copies for personal use are allowed explicitly by Fair Use laws. As long as you aren't giving it away or selling it, I think it's acceptable.

...if you're in the US. Unfortunately most countries do not have the idea of fair use.

lulu is pretty cheap, although the wirebound options are pretty limited.

I've had Fedex Office do this for me before.

I bought the last couple of Make bundles and they come with a couple of ebook formats plus PDFs, with HQ PDFs for some titles. I definitely recommend the PDFs, but it's nice to have options.

in some cases, my kindle is far more readable with a properly produce mobi file -- full margins, etc.

I've bought them, can confirm the PDFs are print quality. Haven't checked the .epubs or .mobis yet but based on their file sizes they contain high-res images.

Does anyone know what the best book is to start with? I'm kinda new to electronics, but know some ( to little to mention it actually) basics...

"Make electronics" would be a very good start so. Your basics will be refreshed, and then you'll be confident in the next steps.

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.

FYI, the "Making Things Talk" book is not about attaching voice circuitry to devices. It's about making devices that can communicate with each other.

FYI: You need a Kinect for the Making Things See book.

And, if you're picking up one on eBay (approx £15), be sure to get the standalone version which comes with an external power supply.

Slightly off-topic.

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?

There is a simple equation, Ohm's law. Resistors are usually there to drop voltage, but there isn't enough detail in the problem you're facing to know exactly what the answer should be.

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.

Ohm's law is a important starting point (and will explain a lot of the basics if you branch off from there search terms you don't know).

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.

Relatedly, I skimmed one of the Make books (the encyclopedia of parts, part 1), and it goes into some detail about how a transformer works, so that seems like a good starting point (for me as well), thanks.

Ohm's law is simple sure, but applying it hasn't been simple for me. In particular looking up data sheets and figuring out how to properly apply Ohms law to the circuit I want to put together.

One thing that usually isn't mentioned (at least in the projects I have seen) is the wattage of the resistors required. I can have a 200 ohm resistors in 0.25 watt rating or 1 watt rating or something else. Depending on what is required for your circuit it can burn your resister due to excessive current.

As in, there's no circuit diagram accompanying the instruction or it's not enough or something? Could you be more detailed?

Very quickly regarding the topic of dead circuits. The first tool you want to always have with you is a digital multimeter. Anytime there is doubt, simply test the two ends of the component or circuit and you can very quickly "debug" the whole thing

Those basics knowledge are part of the first chapter of the Make Electronics book, and then afterward you'll get the full explanation about why chose this or this component. I can't vouch for them enough !

Is this worth it? I'm not familiar with the series, but I love hardware hacking at a novice level.

Definitely worth it. I have a physical copy of Make: Electronics and that book alone is worth the "fully unlocked" price of $16 or so. -- especially if you are a software person and want to dabble in diy hardware.

I wanted to try my hand at this but you need components to follow their book and their kits run out of stock for months at a time (and most years are out of stock indefinitely except for a few seconds before they get snapped up).

Buying all the components yourself separately would be a nightmare if not impossible

The author actually has put up a site that links to the kits. I just bought it and am about half way through the book. It's great!

The kit I got is from Chaney electronics. It is linked to from the site [1].

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.

[1] http://plattkits.com

I bought Make: Electronics in paper format and have had absolutely no trouble acquiring all the components separately.

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 bought one of the old, accidentally incorrect kits that sell for much less, and then brought it up to parity by buying individual components.

Where I live 15$US buys you 4 12 Oz (Large) flat whites - that would be 'latte's' for Americans, I think. So its probably worth it. I own (sorry, licensed user) of a few of the books in the bundle and they are good introduction material generally. You will get your $15's value out of them I'm sure.

Starbucks sells flat whites, bringing culture to those Americans who have never visited Australia or New Zealand.

Not in China! Here we mug a cino, homes. Smacks of LA.

Alas, where I live, $25 is a day's wages.

It's a very good deal!

3 encyclopedias + both make:electronics books are a steal for $15!!!

Nice bundle. Wish each book linked to a list of components required to complete the activities.

For the first Make Electronics book there are kits available on eBay containing all or most of the parts to complete the exercises in the book.

I can second the use of eBay to get cheap component kits, or even single bags of a specific component, usually for $0.99 posted.

It looks like almost everything in this bundle is available on O'Reilly Safari. Still worth it.

Their individual membership is $399/year[1] for "unlimited" books and videos, but there's no obvious place on their website where they actually list the books available -- very annoying.

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.

[1] https://www.safaribooksonline.com/pricing/

You can search from the main page and get a list of Maker Media electronics books:


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