Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chapter 5 - Work Area and Misc

While I wait for my final shipment of parts to arrive for Chapter 5, I've read over the first part of the chapter covering the work area and reference material.

For a while I was working on my dining room table... certain looks from the wife made me realize that my upstairs office might be a better location. Luckily I had a second desk up there that I was able to clear off and use for a bit... but my ultimate goal has been to get my electronics stuff moved to a dedicated spot in my basement workshop. I've got a very good spot for a desk, and there's a nice power outlet right there for me to use to hookup a power strip for more plugs.

I've been collecting small plastic boxes for all my components... but I've also discovered that I'm building up my component collection faster than my storage boxes. Fortunately the author makes some good recommendations and I'll be paying a visit to Michael's or Hobby Lobby soon to see what they have to offer. Ideally I'd like to buy the color coded boxes - one color for resistors, one for capacitors, etc... right now my boxes are compartmentalized but might contain one bin of capacitors, one bin of potentiometers, another bin of gator clips... you get the picture. (My resistors are the only components I have that are organized properly in their own boxes.)

I've been on the lookout at Craigslist.com for The Desk. You know - the perfect desk. Low price (free would be great). Not too beat up. Drawers that work. Plenty of desk space. So far, nothing meets my requirements. I'll keep looking.

As for reference books - "Practical Electronics for Inventors" ... I had another electronics expert tell me that it's a great book to own in addition to the author's recommendation - so based on these two recommendations I grabbed a used copy for $26.00.

I already owned a copy of "Getting Started with Arduino" - personally, I found it too simplistic and skimpy for the price.

I also have had a copy of "Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest M. Mims III - great book but still didn't get as much from it as I got from Make: Electronics. Everyone raves about this book (and his Notebook series) but I view them more as reference because I just didn't get much of an education from reading it straight through... maybe your mileage will vary.

And while I'm here, I have to thank my good friend Chris Smith (a fellow LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot enthusiast) for introducing me to Fritzing. If you are already familiar with it and using it, then you know how cool it is - but if you're not experienced with it, check it out... totally free and I can already tell it'll be a great tool for helping me document future breadboard work. Chris also pointed me to Drawdio - yet another project to add to my TO DO list... but 100% doable after having gone through Make: Electronics. This one should be a piece of cake.

My AllElectronics order is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to this chapter's experiments.

1 comment:

  1. I tried a few methods for organizing components, including ideas listed in the book. I wasn't really satisfied with any of them. In the end this was the best solution for me: http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=86955&cid=7552773

    I got some plastic shoe boxes from the container store, small sandwich bags, 3x5 index cards, and a label maker.

    Write the value of the component on the index card, pop it into the snack back, drop the components in, and file the bag in the shoe box.

    Best part is, it's all very cheap, and can be stacked easily.