Getting started in DIY electronics

Victorian synthesizers, laser microphones, and space explorers
Nic Collins' Trombone-Propelled Electronics
If you haven’t had any sort of training in electronics, it can be a daunting world to get started in. It’s no use having someone talk about what you can do with an Arduino if you haven’t first been shown the basics of how circuits work, or say, what you can do with just a battery and a speaker.

I have a little experience teaching electronics to absolute beginners, so I’m always on the lookout for resources. I invariably start by pointing people to Handmade Electronic Music by Nic Collins, a book which has spawned hundreds of DIY electronics enthusiasts, many of whom share their progress on the web.

One such enthusiast is UK musician Leafcutter John, who this week started publishing a series of electronics tutorials. The first project shows you how to make a microphone using a laser pointer and a solar cell.

Another set of tutorials inspired by Nic Collins’ book comes courtesy of Flux Monkey: the Electronoize Playshop. Topics include getting started in circuit bending, and building your first noise-making circuits.

Yet another fan of Nic Collins, Beavis Audio is an absolute goldmine of beautifully presented introductory- and intermediate-level electronics tutorials. (My favourite is the Heterodyne Space Explorer, which has inspired some of my own work.)

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