Any suggestions for projects for beginners - particularly electronics?

I know this question is kind of vague, but I thought I'd go for it anyway. I'd like to start working on some fun projects to get me accustomed to working with my hands. I'm relatively handy, but don't have any hard core technical knowledge. I can "build" computers and such, but I'm no programmer or electrician. I found my way here because I love looking at Make magazine, but I never buy it because it seems like all the projects require knowledge I don't have. I want to learn that knowledge. Can anyone suggest any instructables that are good, cheap and fun for beginners? I'm particularly interested in the electronics and tech stuff to get some experience working with circuits and soldering and such. Eventually I'd like to build a basic robot. There's just so much out there, I don't really know where to start. I just want to have some fun and have detailed enough instructions that I have some hand-holding along the way. If anyone out there has suggestions of good instructables to start with, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks in advance for any and all help! Just in case it helps narrow down choices, I'll list some areas of interest: Gaming (RPG, Video & Board) Green Living Robotics (though I know nothing about it) Animatronics (though I know nothing about it) Guitar Home Repair (basic plumbing and building skills) Networking / Computer repair (I was an IT manager until just recently) BASIC Auto repair Science Fiction Comic books Thanks again!

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gmoon8 years ago
There's an Electronics group here, with nearly 300 instructables.

Perhaps there should be an "Electronics for Beginners" group, too...
JesterPoet (author)  gmoon8 years ago
That would be cool. There's just so much it is hard to know where to get started. Perhaps I should just dig in....

Ideally things like THIS would be cool, but I'd rather not buy a kit. I kind of want to do it from scratch.

A kit is good to begin with, though. If you don't have any knowledge of electronics, learning to put together a kit on a PCB that is almost guaranteed to work will be a much more satisfying starting point than translating a project from a schematic to a piece of perf board and trying to get all of your jumpers connected properly. After you are a bit more confident in your Madd Soldering Skilz, then you will be more successful with projects built from scratch.
Goodhart8 years ago
If you wish to do things from scratch, my first suggestion would be to either get a good book on reading schematics, OR use one of the online tutorials on that subject (for instance): How to read simple schematics
or the more detailed Tutorial with color pics, etc
and other places. That is pretty much how I started....then I found a few easy schematics and tried to recreate what they represented. (PS: it doesn't always work that way, but with the simpler ones, it is easy enough)