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Question: Where do I start in building electronic gadgets? Since christmas is coming up I've already found something to get my girlfriend, but next year I want to give her something I've made and I was looking at doing something electrical. This is where the problem is I have no clue about building electronics, the only thing I roughly know about is the Arduino micro processor which I plan to use in the project. Many thanks.

Answer: That depends on a ton of thing here. What kind of circuit are you trying to make? Something that's cool and has flashing lights, but serves no real purpose? Or something more practical? The fact that you're talking about using uP (presumably) without much electrical engineering background worries me. You can make a uP do a ton of things with logic and a little bit of coding, which is a whole 'nother side of building electronics. If you want to start really simple, make an LED array that slowly flashes your GF's name or something. I did that before, she thought it was the coolest frickin thing in the world. If you really want to use the uP, start playing with some assembly code and you can make the uP randomly output some cute sayings to a little LCD screen whenever you push a button or something. If you're really looking into electronics as just a hobby, you can get a radio kit. Some of the most important circuits today were developed for radio and communication purposes. The kits also will help you with soldering techniques, basic design ideas, and familiarize you with components. My advice would be to start small and work your way up to using a uP.

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