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Found 8 results

  1. Hello all, Ds 11 is in interested in electronics/robotics. He did all of the free lessons on the EEME site, saved up money to purchase Q the robot with all of the add on components and has put Q together and programmed him. He's still interested in learning more, but I don't know where to go from here. I don't know about robotics. Anyone have any brilliant ideas? I would love a push in the right direction. Thanks! Debbie
  2. I will be adding and editing this post as we continue to use these and other books. Feel free to add your own favorite books and websites and resources to this thread. General Electronics If your student has no experience with wiring up a bread board, I recommend starting here. This will give you a good introduction to how electronics works from each component to soldering up a project. This dovetails nicely with studies in electricity and magnetism. EEME This is a subscription-based electronics curriculum. Every month they send you a kit complete with all the components to wire up the project. At his website, he has a series of short videos that show you how to wire up the project, and provides some background theory. He also puts in short online quizzes to check for comprehension. If you already have experience with electronics, then you can purchase the components more cheaply yourself, but EEME really is for beginners who don't know a resistor from an LED. He really steps you through the project slowly and carefully so you are unlikely to make any wiring errors. Also, each project is broken up into very short videos, so it's easy to stop and pick up again where you left off the next day. I got a lot of confidence with this program, and I am still a subscriber. (Disclosure: since I've become a subscriber, I've met the founder in person and he's a great guy. He's very responsive to emailed questions and suggestions.) Make: Electronics by Charles Platt Begins with detailed full-color illustrations and transitions to schematics. Good balance between hands-on projects and theory. Topics include: electronic components, soldering, transistors, logic gates, 555 timers, electro-magnets, high and low pass filters, a DIY AM radio and step motors. He also throws in science history! Make: Electronics vol. 2 I plan to alternate among projects using an Arduino, a RasPi, and an experiment in this book, simply because I couldn't pick only one thing, and they all seemed interesting. Experiment 1 has you using a transistor to amplify current that was passing through a line of Elmer's glue. It was a hoot and really drove home how transistors amplify signals. Experiment 2 also has you taking measurements with a transistor to show how the output varies linearly with input, and dovetails nicely with algebra and geometry. It was fun to use our multimeter as well as some dedicated analog meters. Also, measuring voltages across resistors in series was illustrative. Experiments 3 - 5 cover phototransistors and give us another opportunity to experiment with voltage dividers. We just finished the book's introduction to op amps. I had never heard of op amps until my electronics class in college so I was keen to introduce the kids to this. I thought the book did an admirable of job of explaining them and comparators in a way that combines the hands on with the theory. Programming Another important prerequisite is some programming experience. Python is a good place to start, although other languages like C are fine, too. There are many other threads on this topic, so I won't go into it here. Arduino Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets I only found a couple of appropriate projects: the Stalker Guard (uses an ultrasonic sensor) and a walking robot that avoids obstacles (tricky to build, but very cool looking). But it's a good first place to start. Arduino Projects for Dummies by Brock Craft. We just started this one and it looks more promising. The Light Pet (chapter 5) was a hit. Dd12 put it into an enclosure and keeps it on her bureau. The scrolling sign using an LED matrix display (chapter 6) is fun, but the code was really hard to understand. If anyone understands bitwise comparison let me know. We are currently working on the programmable alarm clock using a 12x2 LCD display (chapter 7); we were delayed because my new breadboards had a short between one positive and negative power strip! That took FOREVER to diagnose, but it was a good learning experience. Next is the keypad entry system (chapter 8). Black and white photos and schematics, but look at the author's website for full color versions of most of the diagrams and figures! Raspberry Pi The thing about RasPi is that it was designed to be used as a cheap computer to be used by schools to teach programming. So it comes pre-installed with Scratch and Python. So in every beginner RasPi book you will find an abbreviated intro to Scratch and Python. Too abbreviated, usually. My advice is if you want to learn Python, do that separately. Then use your knowledge of Python to do cool things with the GPIO pins on the RasPi. Look in the books for the section on GPIO and go from there. Raspberry Pi for Dummies Has nice detailed instructions on everything you need to buy to accompany your Pi, and how to get Linux installed, and how to navigate their version of windows and lots of basic Linux commands. I still keep it on the shelf as a reference. We got everything set up without any problems, except the keyboards I ordered were way too small (not the book's fault) to be of any use and I needed to replace them for our sanity. I skipped the projects at the end because they seemed too difficult and complicated for us. Raspberry Pi in Easy Steps by Mike McGrath. A slim paperback with full color photos and large diagrams, perfect for kids. Skip to the end for simple python programs using the GPIO pins. I just went through them today and they are a great intro. May not be worth buying if you have a copy at the library. Again, I think some Python knowledge is a prerequisite because while the code is only a few lines, it is mystifying if you aren't familiar with it. Programming the Raspberry Pi by Simon Monk. I'm a little disappointed in this book. I knew going in that I would basically ignore all but the last 2 chapters (the clock and the robot projects) because it is a beginner's book and we already had our RasPis up and running. In reading chapter 11 (the robot), I became spooked because it appeared one of the components required a bit of DIY to create, and there weren't specific instructions. His website isn't particularly helpful either. The clock in chapter 10 seemed more promising: you get to solder up some Adafruit LED display onto a back pack, but the information was sparse. Minimal explanation of Linux commands required to download modules, minimal explanation of the python code (except the stuff that was obvious), not even an explanation of the the backpack and cobbler were really for. It's kind of fun, but not a lot of learning here. Getting Started with Raspberry Pi, 2 ed, by Richardson and Wallace. Assuming you have become acquainted with your RasPi from the books above, then go straight to chapter 12 for a neat demonstration of the Internet of Things. You will turn your little Pi into a web scraper (taking weather data from the internet and turning it into an umbrella reminder) and a webserver. The web page is cool, because you can click on a link, and the RasPi will use it's GPIO pins to turn on and off some device. You start by turning on/off LEDs, but it also points you to a nifty relay device that allows you to safely control other plug-in appliances in your home, the exemplar being the coffee maker for some reason. Otherwise we skipped the other projects because they were mostly review. Both: RasPi and Arduino Make: Sensors by Karvinen, Karvinen and Valtokari. We are just getting started with this , so I only have some first impressions. Lots of cool projects like a smoke detector, tilt sensor, an alcohol sensor. I'm very excited to try this one. Full color photos and diagrams. The list of necessary components isn't detailed enough for an absolute beginner, that is, there aren't any particular part numbers or vendors for specific items, but I've managed to get what was needed. Like other books I feel like this one glosses over explanations of the programs. While there is a line-by-line description of each program, I still feel like it is inadequate for our understanding. There's kind of a dichotomy between explaining everything in excrutiating detail to the point of boredom, and the other extreme of "here's a cool project! just type this in and bingo!" without much explanation of how it works. I feel like a lot of the projects in these books lean to the latter extreme. We did have a good experience with the project described at the end of chapter 3 with the IR sensor and the piezo buzzer. We've written so many arduino sketches that by now I'm feeling like we're actually understanding what's going on. HTH!
  3. We own an oscilloscope. My middle school kids who have had pretty decent exposure to electronics. They can wire up a breadboard using a schematic. They know the difference between AC and DC. They've made crystal radios. Low pass and high pass filters. I thought it would be great if they learned how to use an o-scope, as I'd never seen one before college. Are there any fun easy projects that use an oscilloscope that would be appropriate for students? Thank you for your help!
  4. I'm learning electronics along with my dd's using Charles Platt's excellent primer on the subject. We are currently studying switches and relays. Please help me to see if I understand correctly how these are used in a car's ignition. When I turn the key in my ignition, I am effectively closing a momentarily ON switch (normally off, NO), sending a small amount of current to the relay. Because the relay handles sending a greater electric current to the engine, it no longer needs a constant supply of electricity from the closed circuit of my key. This is why (something I've been wondering about for years), when I release the key, it springs back to the OFF position, but the car continues to run. If this is true, then I have another question: What is it about pulling the key out of the ignition that causes the car to turn off? I welcome all discussion about car ignitions, switches, relays, and even other electrical components (capacitors, resistors, etc.)
  5. My dd would like to create an electronic device for a science fair project. She needs to learn how to build a small electronics box. Is there an elective course we can use to learn that? She also will probably have to program it with code. What can we use to learn that? Thanks
  6. Hi all, I am researching self-teaching books in electronics for my son, who loves to learn these types of things (computer programming) on his own. I came across the MAKE Electronics book, and found this thread that speaks favourably about it: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/showthread.php?t=407732&highlight=electronics. I also found this book: http://www.amazon.ca/Complete-Electronics-Self-Teaching-Guide-Projects/dp/1118217322/ref=dp_ob_title_bk. Can anyone compare these? Has anyone used the second book? Opinions?
  7. Our son and I were chatting on the way home from camp today, and he said he would be interested .in learning more about electronics. He has had one of those snap sets before, but we are looking for something more curriculum-y that is also hands on but offers more explanation and is more real life in nature (i.e parts look like what you'll really see). He is beginning to think about working with computers in the future, he is gifted in spatial reasoning/relationships (way gifted as tested) and might really take off with the right learning resource. Does anyone have any ideas? I don't even really know where to start or what to research. He just turned 13. Thanks! Cindy :bigear:
  8. I've been thinking about passion lately. I haven't really felt that my daughter is passionate about anything. She likes some people and some things *a lot* but nothing I'd really call passionate. So I asked her. Me: what are you passionate about? Her: (narrows eyes, looks askance) passionate??? Me: what do you like to do more than anything else? Her: (narrower, askancer) more than anything? Me: Yes, you like swimming but not more than anything else in the world. You like violin but not more than anything else in the world. What's your favorite thing? Her: well, in school I love love logic and math. logic then math but they're very close. Me: but it doesn't have to be school. It can be anything at all. Her: . . . thinking . . . it'll sound dumb. Me: of course it won't. Her: it's something you NEVER let me do. EVER. Me: (narrows eyes, looks askance) Her: I just want to take things apart, put them back together, and see if I can make them work. Me: More than anything? Her: More than anything BUT . . . you never let me see if they work again. Me: but you've got your legos, NXT, and other stuff. Her: legos don't count and NXT has to work b/c i follow the instructions and tell it to. So, what do you do for a kiddo like that?
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