Very brief reviews of books I’ve used or bought for electronics/robotics work.

Practical Electronics

Practical Electronics for Inventors

If you were only to buy one electronics book then this would be it. Covers a huge range of topics in a surprising amount of detail but is concise and easy to read. Definitely a must-have for hobbyists.

Analog Synthesizers

Make: Analog Synthesizers

Can’t say enough good things about this book. I purchased it for Kindle for only $10 and it is very well written book with great information on synthesizer fundamentals for the beginner to intermediate level hobbyist.

The core of the book shows how to build a “Noise Toaster” which is one of many projects the author Ray Wilson provides on his website Music From Outer Space. If you are at all interested in synth DIY you need to checkout Ray’s site. It’s superb.

Super glad I purchased this book.


Practical OpenCV

Biggest critique of this book is its price. At time of writing this costs $53 US. There is simply not enough content, nor depth of content, to justify such a price, and as such it makes it very hard to say anything positive about Practical OpenCV.

It does work well as a starter text for vision programming but then there are plenty of online tutorials that do the same, and are free. To add insult to (wallet) injury, the supplied source code has such glaring errors it is clear no one vetted it. Very disappointing.

Overall: Very poor quality for the price.


Make: Electronics

This is the first book I bought when I started up my electronics hobby again. It takes you from basics up to fairly advanced circuits and components.

It gives good advice on the essential tools and supplies needed – which is great if you are starting from scratch. The book covers a lot of ground and well worth the price for the amount of useful information given.

It is project oriented too, so while there is a lot of theory it is all put to practical use. Projects range from how to power and LED to how to build a complete home alarm system.

Keep in mind this is an electronics only book so there are no examples or discussion about microcontrollers.

Very much worth a look at if you are just starting out with electronics.


Make: AVR Programming

This is an interesting book. I bought it as I wanted to move off from Arduino and program the Atmel microprocessors directly. It turns out that this is not a great book for that. It’s not terrible but not ideal for what I wanted.

The book is aimed at the beginner and covers a lot of basic ground I already knew, meaning there are four or five chapters that are of little interest to me – like how PWM works, how to interface with switches and other electronic components such as step motors and bridges. However, it is packed with lots of useful information. I’m sure I will be using it as a reference text.

It’s definitely a well put together volume. If you are a beginner who uses Arduino and want to get deeper into microcontrollers then is is certainly a great option, though the price might be a factor.


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