Six years ago, I picked up a copy of Charles Platt’s Make: Electronics and worked through the 30+ hands-on projects, documenting my work with photos and videos along with commentary on my findings, my roadblocks, and my breakthroughs. During the process, I discovered other resources that have helped my understanding of electronics and circuits. One of those resources had been around for a long time — a book written by Forrest M. Mims III titled Getting Started in Electronics.
Getting Started in Electronics has sold over 1.3 million copies over the years. My own copy is quite beat up — I’ve read through its pages numerous times over the years as I examined interesting circuits and tried to pull them apart to better understand how they work. There’s no doubt the book has a unique look and style, too — lined pages are filled with Mims’ handwriting and sketched circuits, just as you’d expect a lab book to look. (The handwriting is perfect and easy to read… and makes me envious of Mims’ skills.)
One sure fire way to learn to assemble circuits (as well as how they work) is to simply take Mims’ circuits and recreate them on a breadboard. Students have worked through the book for years and it remains a much-loved resource to many electronics hobbyists and professionals. One of those is Star Simpson, who studied electrical engineering at MIT.
Simpson’s a big fan of the book, and she’s recently partnered with Forrest M. Mims to have three circuits from the book created as small, DIY kits for you to assemble and use — the Dual-LED Flasher, the Stepped Tone Generator, and the Bargraph Voltage Indicator. For all three circuits, each kit comes with the circuit board, the electronics components needed to build the circuit, and a stand made of blond ash wood. On the front side of each circuit board, the various components will be displayed along with a copy of the hand-drawn circuit from the book, complete with lines! On the flip side of each board, you’ll find a snippet of Mims’ text about the circuit as well as be able to view the actual schematic with labels for each component. (The backside is also where the small coin battery will reside to provide power to the circuit.)
Simpson is currently attempting to crowdsource funds for the three different kits with a Fall 2016 delivery date. You can get much more information about each circuit, including specific videos and photos of each kit, by visiting the project’s official page here. Each kit is $44 individually or you can get all three for $99. And the good news is that the project has already met its funding goals.
If you’re a fan of Forrest M. Mims III and his various electronics books, you might enjoy having one (or all three) of these circuits on your desk or work area!