You're never too old to learn

Whether you're keen to try a new hobby or simply tired of paying professionals to do simple repairs, upskilling is easier than you might think

Regardless of whether or not you identify as a nerd, learning about electronics can equip you with meaningful skills that can be valuable in daily life.

The way you approach teaching yourself about electronics will depend on what you want to get out of it. Although the Short Circuits range is designed primarily with young people in mind, its relevance doesn't have an age limit.

The simple, low-voltage project kits in this series have detailed information about how and why they work, as well as instructions on how to create them. These fun projects can be a wonderful way to spend quality time with the young people in your life, but also empower you with skills such as soldering and using a DMM. The knowledge you gain can give you the confidence to diagnose a fault, replace a component and save a hefty repair bill.

Maybe you have an idea for a new invention; perhaps you simply want to hack an existing device to add functionality or make it more practical for your purposes. Adding microprocessor control opens up amazing possibilities for prototyping.

You might want to start by putting together a pre-designed Arduino project or invest in a learning kit to get the hang of the basics. As your experience and ambition grows, the more advanced opportunities presented by Raspberry Pi might capture your imagination. And you're not likely to run out of headroom in a hurry, with books available on everything from programming in various languages to building your own robots.

Remember that work on mains-voltage wiring and appliances must only be carried out by a licenced electrician. That said, developing your low-voltage skills will stand you in good stead if you catch the electronics bug and decide to get qualified!

Click here for details about STEM for young people.


- November 2019

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