Electronics All-in-One For Dummies by Doug Lowe

Electronics All-in-One For Dummies by Doug Lowe

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If you know a breadboard from a breadbox but want to take your hobby electronics skills to the next level, this is the only reference you need. Electronics All-in-One For Dummies has done the legwork for you ― offering everything you need to enhance your experience as an electronics enthusiast in one convenient place.

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Written by electronics guru and veteran For Dummies author Doug Lowe, this down-to-earth guide makes it easy to grasp such important topics as circuits, schematics, voltage, and safety concerns. Plus, it helps you have tons of fun getting your hands dirty working with the Raspberry Pi, creating special effects, making your own entertainment electronics, repairing existing electronics, learning to solder safely, and so much more.

  • Create your own schematics and breadboards
  • Become a circuit-building expert
  • Tackle analog, digital, and car electronics
  • Debunk and grasp confusing electronics concepts

If you’re obsessed with all things electronics, look no further! This comprehensive guide is packed with all the electronics goodies you need to add that extra spark to your game!

Review of Electronics All-in-One For Dummies

Let me start by saying that this book, overall, is pretty nice. It’s got a good pace and is good at analogizing rather complex concepts and cutting down to the meat of what you need to know and why. There’s a few projects in there that are a great way to practice your skills and knowledge.

However, I am forced to give this a bad review for one main reason: it’s wrong. Just plain wrong in some parts. It’s as if Doug, the author, didn’t even bother to proof read through the book and the editors were asleep at the wheel. I’ve just encountered my 3rd straight-up error in the book and I’ll briefly explain it below:

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Transistors use these things called p-n junctions where the one side has more electrons than the other, creating a small voltage inside that can be used in cool ways. Specifically, transistors have three of these different areas (either arranged as pnp or npn), creating two p-n junctions.

Doug states that there is a voltage drop between the middle and end p and n sections (the second p-n junction). But he says that there is no voltage drop across the entire transistor (the whole pnp device). This is like saying that there is gravitational potential half-way up a waterfall, but non at the top of the waterfall. It makes no sense and is blatantly wrong. Yet they still printed it in this book.

Another hilarious mistake is more towards the beginning of the book when Doug is describing the definition of amps (ampere, the measure of electric current). To paraphrase, he says that “an amp is defined as the passing of one Coulomb of charge per second. But this doesn’t mean it has to be measured as such! For instance, it could be two Coulomb’s of charge every half-second or a half-Coulomb of charge for two seconds!” It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that this is a horrible paragraph.

The book is nifty and a decent read, and one error is acceptable, but I’m about a quarter of the way through and I’ve already caught several very harmful errors (which could end up being literally harmful when working with line-voltages). I would love to give this book a higher rating but the lack of integrity from the author and editors prevents me from doing so. Maybe they’ll come out with a proof-read version, but I’d just learn this stuff from the internet until they do. Oh, and I have the 2nd edition, which means that Doug and the editors had TWO chances to catch these errors and they still let them through. Tsk tsk.

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Introduction 1

Book 1: Getting Started in Electronics 7

Chapter 1: Welcome to Electronics 9

Chapter 2: Understanding Electricity 21

Chapter 3: Creating Your Mad-Scientist Lab 37

Chapter 4: Staying Safe 61

Chapter 5: Reading Schematic Diagrams 71

Chapter 6: Building Projects 85

Chapter 7: The Secrets of Successful Soldering 123

Chapter 8: Measuring Circuits with a Multimeter 135

Chapter 9: Catching Waves with an Oscilloscope 149

Book 2: Working with Basic Electronic Components 161

Chapter 1: Working with Basic Circuits 163

Chapter 2: Working with Resistors 203

Chapter 3: Working with Capacitors 233

Chapter 4: Working with Inductors 257

Chapter 5: Working with Diodes and LEDs 269

Chapter 6: Working with Transistors 295

Book 3: Working with Integrated Circuits 325

Chapter 1: Introducing Integrated Circuits 327

Chapter 2: The Fabulous 555 Timer Chip 339

Chapter 3: Working with Op-Amps 375

Book 4: Beyond Direct Current 395

Chapter 1: Getting into Alternating Current 397

Chapter 2: Building Power Supplies 421

Chapter 3: Understanding Radio 433

Chapter 4: Working with Infrared 459

Book 5: Doing Digital Electronics 475

Chapter 1: Understanding Digital Electronics 477

Chapter 2: Getting Logical 493

Chapter 3: Working with Logic Circuits 513

Chapter 4: Working with Flip-Flops 547

Chapter 5: Introducing Microcontrollers 573

Book 6: Working with Arduino Microprocessors 579

Chapter 1: Introducing Arduino 581

Chapter 2: Creating Arduino Sketches 593

Chapter 3: More Arduino Programming Tricks 623

Book 7: Working with BASIC Stamp Processors 655

Chapter 1: Introducing the BASIC Stamp 657

Chapter 2: Programming in PBASIC 675

Chapter 3: More PBASIC Programming Tricks 703

Chapter 4: Adding Sound and Motion to Your BASIC Stamp Projects 725

Book 8: Working with Raspberry Pi 747

Chapter 1: Introducing Raspberry Pi 749

Chapter 2: Programming in Python 773

Chapter 3: Reading Digital and Analog Input 805

Book 9: Special Effects 825

Chapter 1: Building a Color Organ 827

Chapter 2: Animating Holiday Lights 839

Chapter 3: Building an Animatronic Prop Controller 861

Index 893

From the Back Cover

Amplify your electronics knowledge!

Whether you don’t know a resistor from a capacitor, or you want to take your basic electronics skills to the next level, this nine books in one reference provides exactly what you need and more! You get clear explanations of the important concepts, along with fun building projects, including developing a breadboard, designing circuits, and creating your own schematics. This book has everything you need from concept to conception ― so jump in and get started!

9 Books Inside…

  • Getting Started in Electronics
  • Working with Basic Electronic Components
  • Working with Integrated Circuits
  • Beyond Direct Current
  • Doing Digital Electronics
  • Working with Arduino Microprocessors
  • Working with BASIC Stamp Processors
  • Working with Raspberry Pi®
  • Special Effects

About the Author

Doug Lowe still has the electronics experimenter’s kit his dad gave him when he was 10. Although he became a programmer and has written books on various programming languages, Microsoft Office, web programming, and PCs, Doug never forgot his first love: electronics.

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