HOWTO learn electronics

Discoverelecccc Our pals at Sparkle Labs released a new kit designed to introduce you to the basics of hands-on electronics. The Discover Electronics Kit contains a slew of standard components like resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, potentiometers, LEDs, a timer integrated circuit, a breadboard to connect everything together, and of course an instruction manual with a variety of projects. It reminds me of those fun electronics kits with the onboard components and springy terminals that I played with as a kid! At $50, the Discover Electronics Kit looks like a great gift for any aspiring hardware hacker.
Discover Electronics Kit

Previously: Sparkle Labs electronics kit video - Boing Boing



  1. And if you make a cool LED flashy thingy, don’t carry it around Boston. (I say this as a Bostonian, eternally shamed by idiots in the police force here.)

  2. On first glance, the font makes it look like it could read “Electronic Sh*t”. On purpose?

  3. Another excellent resource for basic computing stuff is virtually any Atari operator’s manual for their 80’s arcade games, which I graduated up to from the springy boards of Radio Shack’s bygone era.

    basementarcade has an excellent set of pdfs of these.

    They were explaining complex topics to folks that might only know pinball repair. Diagrams all the way up to bit registers. Very geek.

  4. Soon, we will have these for biotechnology.

    And, I wish I had one of those when I was a kid. So much time wasted watching TV :(

  5. “It reminds me of those fun electronics kits with the onboard components and springy terminals that I played with as a kid!”

    Sounds like the 50-in-1 and the 300-in-1 – both electronics kits that Radio Shack sold. I had them both…they were incredibly fun. One of the projects they offered was making a “bug” that you could place in a room to listen in on conversations.

    I did this, running a long wire to a nearby room so I could hear my siblings talk in private.

  6. Tomorrow’s kids don’t need to learn electronics, they need to learn how to manage a team of anonymous fab engineers in Asia.

  7. @11: Even if that were true, the best preparation would be… to learn electronics. Make no mistake, modern “business school” teaches nothing but naked greed, “optimized” for transient bubble behavior. It’s on its way out.

  8. What’s missing are the magazines loaded with projects like Popular Electronics and Radio and TV News. There were a lot of kits available from Heathkit, Eico, Knight Kits from Allied Radio etc.. They were a nice way to break into electronics. At Al Lasher’s in Berkeley I asked how many kids came in with a parts list for a project. Very few. Once upon a time kids drove countermen at parts houses nuts with their projects.
    “Service Economy” is a euphemism for colonialism with us being the colonists.

  9. #12: Damn straight. I utterly despise the hands-off professional manager type.

    I took classes with some of them; my friends and I were engineers in a multidisciplinary program that required some courses on the MBA side of campus. The MBAs, as far as I knew, only took business courses. We designed operating systems; they learned PowerPoint. But somehow they’re assumed to be better at managing a business.

  10. I loved these kits and learned a lot from then when I was a kid. I had too the one with springy terminals called the radio engineer kit or something like that, you could built a radio receiver or transmitter and some other stuff with it, and before this one I recall that one with the components enclosed into plastic cubes that stuck each other magnetically. These kits along with meccano, chemistry and physics lab and similar ones were my most loved toys of my childhood.

    Parents should give more of this stuff to their kids instead of toy guns or cars.

  11. Totally ordering two; one for me, one for my six year old. My parents never bought this kind of stuff, which is too bad… but mistakes need not be repeated, and sometimes can be repaired.

    Coffee money for this month to the cool electronic kits!


  12. It’s about time something showed up here that gave people a way to aquire the skills to get into this hobby, rather than merely talking about what other people are making.

    @Stefan Jones:
    “somehow they’re assumed to be better at managing a business.”

    They specialized in managing a business. You dabbled in it. It seems like a logical assumption to me. Not necessarily accurate, but logical.

  13. but does “managing a business” mean raking in huge pile of cash quickly while breaking every law and ruining millions and leaving an empty hulk behind?

  14. If you’re in the UK, try Maplins for a similar kit.

    (I am in no way affiliated, etc.)

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