Found in 7 comments on Hacker News
davexunit · 2016-09-12 · Original thread
I got one of those Arduino starter kits that comes with a bunch of jumper wires, LEDs, resistors, push buttons, etc. (there's tons of kits, check for some) and learned enough to make an LED blink and went from there. Arduino makes it easy to get your feet wet and you can get more sophisticated once you're comfortable with the basics. Being a software person, the next step I took was ditching the Arduino IDE and writing my firmware in C using avr-gcc to compiler and avrdude to flash. I have an interest in custom USB input devices (game controllers and keyboards) so I've also starting using the LUFA[0] library which is very satisfying once you get it to work (pressing a push button on a breadboard and seeing a character typed on your computer for the first time is great!) So far I've focused on digital circuits, but I'd like to make an amplifier or something to learn more about analog circuitry. As you can see, I'm not too far past the starting line but I feel like I've learned a lot thus far. It's definitely a satisfying hobby.

I'm still in search of good textbooks on the topic (SICP is to CS as ____ is to EE? Recommendations anyone?) but I've gotten some value out of "Make: Electronics"[1] as a non-academic, beginners guide.

I hope this helps!



codesushi42 · 2015-06-16 · Original thread
It's not hard to get started. Pick up Make: Electronics to learn the basics by example. Each chapter walks you through a project that teaches some important concepts.

And to get started with Arduino, you can simply buy a starter kit:

I actually think it's easier for most people to get started with electronics than with code. This is coming from someone with 13 years coding experience and who has only been working on hobby electronics for the past 2 years.

Electronics projects don't have the same amount of boilerplate you see with writing code today. Development tools, frameworks, dependency management, the commandline, polyglot projects etc hinder a lot of beginners at the start. I would say you need to read 900 pages before you can fully understand everything that goes into developing a trivial CRUD website. With electronics, you just plug in and start learning. Learn the functions of a lot of different components and then come up with something that uses them together. Ohm's law is most of what you /need/ to know to design a basic circuit. You can derive what you need with the help of V=IR e.g. voltage dividers, components in series, parallel. And you need to learn how to read schematics and datasheets.

The theory behind everything you do is deep if you want to venture into electromagnetism, which is IMO deeper than what you would expect from college level CS. But it's not necessary to have a deep understanding of it in practice. Though you could say the same about a lot of software engineering and its relation to CS. :)

silenteh · 2013-01-29 · Original thread
For anybody interested in learning electronics and hardware design, I suggest this book:

It really helped me to get into hardware in a structured and clear way.

A must read.

tdicola · 2012-09-02 · Original thread
It looks like a nice 32bit ARM microcontroller, so its great for small projects like talking to sensors, running servos & motors, etc. Compared to other microcontroller platforms like Arduino, this Stellaris chip is much more powerful (32bit vs. 8bit, 80mhz vs. ~16mhz, floating point support, etc.) so perhaps it can even run an embedded linux operating system like the Beagleboard, Rasberry Pi, etc.

If you just want to make an LED flash and play with a couple buttons you don't need anything else--the development board includes everything to hook it up to a computer and program it using Stellaris' software:

If you're totally new to electronics and microcontrollers, Make magazine has a good book to check out:

mmetzger · 2012-08-11 · Original thread
This isn't exactly what you've requested, but it's still a very good basic electronics guide -

Make: Electronics

Part of the book is breaking things to see how they work which is much cooler than thinking of things as a black box.

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