Thursday, July 21, 2011

Electronics Crash Course Resources

   I've been wanting to get back into electronics and microcrontroller programming lately, along with some of my other hobbies. It's been months since I got my TI Launchpad and did a few very small projects on it, like my LED chaser. I bought the TI FRAM Experimenter's Board and haven't done anything interesting using it yet, but I think I'll need an electronics refresher course before I try. I thought I'd share a collection of links to sites and books I found helpful when I first started messing with the Launchpad and electronics last year.

  • The Sparkfun Tutorials - A good range of topics. I keep coming back to these guides, especially the Beginning Embedded Electronics ones.
  • TI MSP430 Resources and Sites - My list of the 5 most useful (IMHO) resources for learning about the Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller and Launchpad development board, the cheapest way I know of to get into programming microcontrollers.
  • Resistor Color Code - Since I like harvesting parts from junk electronics, it helps to have this to figure out the values of random resistors.
  • Ladyada's How to Use Sensors - All the Adafruit Tutorials are useful, but I got the most out of this guide to various sensors.
  • Teravolt goes into fundamental stuff, like What is Electricity? 
  • Arduino Stuff - I'm still learning the MSP430, but I intend to get an Arduino someday. I was reading up on Arduino's and contemplating buying one when the Launchpad was announced.
  • Getting Started in Electronics - I <3 this book. I think it's written for kids, so it's great for a n00b like me. Highly recommended.  
  • IC Package Types - Came in handy when I was trying to figure out what kind of free samples to order from TI. It's the DIP's you want, if you're ordering msp430s for a Launchpad.
  • Chris Meyer's List of Stores - For when you've got no choice but to order parts and tools. I hate spending money, but whaddya do? Electronics is a relatively expensive thing to get into, especially compared to software.
  • The Electronics StackExchange - Stackoverflow is great site for general programming questions, and this is the place for asking general electronics questions that don't fit on more specific forums.

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