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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Lately, I've had a growing interest in Electronics & Microcontrollers. I'm a loyal reader of Make Magazine and thoroughly enjoy seeing all the various projects in each issue, even though I rarely try to make any of them.

I've been reading and watching videos about the Arduino, which is an open source Microcontroller and software project that the people at Make (and a lot of other folks) are pretty hot about. Even the prebuilt hardware is remarkably inexpensive , although there are kits available to build one from the base components.

(Full disclosure: I bought my first soldering iron... EVER... just last week, so I fully acknowledge the likelihood of making some mistakes. That's why I'm not trying to do the "build it yourself" kit just yet. It's also another reason to be happy the hardware is so cheap.)

There are a number of different Arduino boards available, but the two that have really piqued my interest are the Arduino UNO and the NETduino. The UNO is a very popular board, with a number of features and is under $35 which means I won't hurl myself off a bridge when I inevitably destroy it. The NETduino is very similar to the Arduino UNO and has the added advantage of being programmable with... you guessed it... C#.

I'm actually ordering both boards and some miscellaneous other doodads to go with them.  There are a few good websites for this sort of thing, including www.makershed.com and www.adafruit.com. The price difference is negligible, so in my case, I'm ordering from Maker Shed (the Make Magazine people) because I want to support them. :)

I've also picked up a few O'Reilly books on the subject which I am looking forward to reading & reviewing: Make: Electronics, Arduino: A Quick Start Guide and Getting Started With Arduino (all three of which arrived on my doorstep today.)

This ties in with my "learn more about robotics" goals as well, since I'll need a good understanding of Electronics if I want to move past Lego Mindstorms eventually.

Posted on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 1:59 PM Electronics Hacking | Back to top

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Comments on this post: Learning Electronics & the Arduino Microcontroller

# re: Learning Electronics & the Arduino Microcontroller
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I just bought a subscription to Make for these very reasons...I've also been brainstorming ideas for projects. Hopefully, I'll keep my destroyed components to a minimum, not sure how my wife would feel about an increased "circuit board" budget
Left by Nick Olson on Feb 01, 2011 3:35 PM

# re: Learning Electronics & the Arduino Microcontroller
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What soldering iron did you pick up? I finally graduated from my nasty Radio Shlock firestarter a few months ago and have really enjoyed having a quality iron.
Left by Rich Quackenbush on Feb 11, 2011 9:13 AM

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