I'm looking for opinions on what the best beginner electronics kit or lab based kit might be. I don't necessarily care if it is for adults or not, but I do want one with a well written guide and especially one where all the circuits described work.
I think that likely applies to schematics someone might find "somewhere", but I don't know if it applies to kits.
But, a beginner is often faced with a lot of things. I think of the first time I tried to build something, and it never worked. It likely had a lot to do with my soldering ability (or lack thereof), but I didn't know enough whether the substitues I got at the store were suitable, or whether I wired the coil right (I followed the pictorial, but who knows whether the coil I bought matched what the article used), or even if I wired things right.
The beginner often doesn't have the means of finding errors after they make them. This isn't the fault of the beginner, it's part of being a beginner. They can look at what they wired, and be "certain" it's right, while someone other than them with experience might spot something wrong right away. There can often be assumptions made in construction articles or kits that the beginner won't know about, again because they are beginners. WIth experience, you can look at a circuit and know what it's doing and immdiately make some guesses about what to try if it doesn't work, but the beginner hasn't gotten to that point.
Of course, these early steps are the foundation for the later. The beginner has to stick with it long enough to get over those high first steps, and then it starts getting a lot easier.
Thanks for the info. Yeah, I figure assumptions made by the designer of the kit are many times the greatest problem. I'll look into local electronics groups to help me if I run into one of these situations.
I think I'm going to go with the Tronix kit. It seems basic enough and covers all the bases.
Thanks those look good, but I'm an absolute beginner so I'm looking for something that will take me through all the basic theory with hands on lab style circuit building. I'll bookmark that site for when I have more understanding.
I'd consider any of that series more of a terse reminder than something that walks one "through all the basic theory." Even the Basic Semiconductor Circuits book, which does point up parallel and series circuits with resistors and capacitors is rather rushed about things. However, his booklets would make an excellent source of circuits to ask about the design details, here.
The Art of Electronics, 2nd ed., (and the student manual, which is a must-have addition as it covers details of design not well covered in the textbook) does more than many on this subject. But it's not for everyone, either. Very little can replace having access to someone who can help pass along mental models and ideas they've developed over time for thinking about things. Which is what I'd see this group as helping supplement.
Hmm.... Makes me wonder if there should be a Wiki set up for electronics, where contributors provide explanations of every circuit under the sun and other contributors add, enhance, or correct the information over time so that the result gets better and better as a teaching resource over time. In addition, information on various parts and what is worthwhile knowing about them -- things like what makes a polypropylene cap worth it's size and cost, etc.
There was an old book by Ladybug(?) Books called "Build your own transistor set" or similar. It took you stage by stage from a simple crystal set up to a two transistor set. My firm actually put kits together for this to sell along with the book but that was 30 years ago.