Questions from a beginner in electronics/DIY.
I am trying to get started in electronics and don't know how to begin. I have done some basic soldering and junk and made really basic stuff but i want to actually learn about electronics. I want to learn how a transistor amplifies current and how to design a circuit to do a task on my own. I want to do projects as a move along but the Make book on beginning electronics isn't what i am looking for, for one it is really expensive to get the pieces with it and second i also want the theory behind it not just the how to build. I hear The Art of Electronics is good but it is over 1000 pages and most of it is extremely bland! I just want a good couple hundred page book that will teach me all the basics of electronics as well as show me some neat projects to do. (also what should i buy after i master the basics?)
I also want to know how you guys got your workshops up and running. I see so many posts about people just casually saying that they took their dremmel to a sheet of plexiglass. I don't own any plexiglass and i sure as hell don't own a dremmel. I feel like there are SO many cool projects that i simply will never be able to build because it reuires a custom made wodden box, or this or that, what have you. How do most people on here think of that? Do you guys all have workshops will all these tools? How does a beginner go about not getting overwhelmed when a neat project calls for some custom made piece and thinks "well there goes that project! I will NEVER be able to make one of those! I dont have the machining experience or the tools!"?
My third question is what tools i will need to get into electronics. I have a soldering iron but i don't know what else i should get. The obvious tools are multimeter, wire cutters, wire strippers, etc. What are the best brands and where do i get these?
What do i do about components? Do you guys just have a place where you have all your components that you might need on hand and only order specific ones? For instance, should i order a bunch of transistors, capacitors, potentiometers, etc and just organize them so i have them to pull out when a project calls for it? Or should i do things on a project-by-project basis? Also how do you organize all your components? What are some good commercial organization bins and what techniques do you guys use? (preferably i want a drawer-type organization, not a bag type).
Also should i purchase and arduino? I am not new to programming (i know C, and Python) but is it the right time to purchase one as a beginner? I see all this talk about using a specific "shield" for a project and i get uncomfortable thinking that i can't do anything with just and arduino. Also i dont want to have to dismantle a project if it relies on a microcontroller but I really dont want to have to buy an arduino for each project i do! How do you reconcile this?
Sorry for so many questions but i am excited to get started