The 312-page Arduino Inventor’s Guide is part of a book series by the online electronics retail store SparkFun and explains ten projects focused around the Arduino board which helps explain basic programming and electronic concepts. The explanations assume little or no background in electronics and are wrapped around ten simple projects involving LEDs, a few sensors, a simple dc motor, and an RC servomotor.
The electronics components used throughout this book can be had in the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit and are also readily available individually from numerous sources. A few additional parts are available as a single kit abut are also readily available elsewhere. The authors use basic building materials like cardboard, cardstock, construction paper, drinking straws, and paper plates to build enclosures for the projects. All projects get built up on a solderless breadboard before being soldered together.
The book definitely sees kids as the target audience, though wanna-be electronics hobbyists
will probably find it educational as well. The projects shouldn’t be beyond rank beginners. Several of the projects involve LEDs, and they get into driving these components without bringing up the subtleties of current sources. A couple of the projects use small dc motors. A couple more use small servomotors, coreless versions as are common in RC planes.
Of course, motor drives can get complicated, even for the small motors involved in these projects. But the book isolates the reader from the complexities. For example, it tells readers that servos are driven by pulse-width modulated trains, but the program that generates the pulses is supplied as a pre-programmed routine.
One nice thing about the book is that it introduces a few advanced concepts on an approachable level. For example, a balance-beam project includes a four-bar linkage which the reader constructs out of cardboard and glue. A drawbot project includes an H-bridge motor driver circuit along with an explanation of why you need such a thing.
Published by no starch press, this paperback will appeal to the gadget freak as well as those who like to put their own spin on things.