Electronic Circuits for the Evil Genius has been on my list to review for a while. So I decided to finally crack it open and see what it was all about. As with most books of the this type, project based. I typically will look for any available ready-made kits, and luckily for me ABRA Electronics already had one made. The bonus of these kits is simply that of saving the reader the hassle of tracking down components needed for the circuits in the book.
From what I can tell thus far, the book is geared towards the beginning “Evil Genius”, someone with basically no exposure to electronics whatsoever. However that being said, this is not your typical beginners text. The approach of the author appears to be that of introducing new components via a series of simple circuits as a foundation for the section project(s) at the end of each section. Basically you develop just enough knowledge to be dangerous and have somewhat of an idea of how the main project works.
Of course, the first circuit, or the hello world of electronics is the typical flasher. Of note, I like the early introduction of the diode here. Something not typically seen. It never hurts to learn the value of the diode early on. The beginner will be presented with data involving how to read a DMM, measure voltage at various points, learning how to read resistor values, how to identify electronic components, and much more. My only suggestion would be that of having a supplemental electronics text-book near by for additional informational purposes.
The next circuit covers the use of a potentiometer and provides additional exercises and measurements to be completed by the reader to further develop your knowledge.
The LDR is introduced in the next circuit. Again, the reader is encouraged to experiment, and take additional measurements for continued knowledge development.
What should be noted thus far, are the components being presented. Although the LDR falls under the category of resistor, it is not your typical resister and is seldom seen (in my experience) so early in a beginners electronics book for one to bread board. That being said, this speaks to the approach of the text. The author is introducing components that will be used in targeted projects, but in a manner suitable for a beginner to grasp. Different….but cool and makes sense.
The last circuit I completed, not the last circuit for the section mind you, introduces push buttons and capacitors. Notably, the author does a good job at reaching his target audience through the use of everyday items in his analogies to describe the function of electronic components. A definitely plus for the beginner who may find it difficult to grasp what is occurring at subatomic level as a result of the high-level presentation of the material (not a necessarily a bad thing).
Overall, my first impression of the book is that it is targeted towards the beginner. That being said, a true beginner may struggle with the text as there is no hand holding here per se. If your circuit does not work, the use of a supplemental text may prove to be beneficial in a pinch. On the other hand, this book is very much hands on and that is one of the best ways to learn and stay engaged. Time will tell if the pace remains at a beginners level or if it teeters between beginner and that of advanced beginner. So far, I can’t see the subject matter drifting towards an intermediate level but I could be wrong.
As I continue through the book I will blog when I can.
It’s definitely worth a look based on the projects inside. The authors approach to the subject matter is easily understandable and pleasant.
Side note: The kit comes with preprinted circuit boards for the main projects which is quite nice. Therefore, it should be noted that some soldering skills are required.