Best way to begin

Hi,

I have a very little experience with electronics, but have a pretty long background in programming. I’ve always wanted to do some minor home automation and robotic work, but felt like my hardware knowledge were never up to par (especially when it comes to reading schematics). I’ve been researching the last few days, and really want to make my first leap into this field.

Can anyone be so kind enough as to offer me the best sites/resource to get things started? To be brief, my first project will be using an electric door stop, keypad, and arduino. Nothing overly ambitious just yet, something to get my feet wet.

Thank you,
Jason

Hrmm. Thinking of what I’ve experienced withing the last few months (again), I suggest to get at least this:

  • breadboard, saves so much time not having to resolder when you find a bug. just for developing & testing though.
  • breadboard compatible arduino clone, e.g. ‘boarduino’, helps to keep things nice and clean on a single (big) breadboard.
  • quality wire cutter. I’ve come to like this type, replaces a wire stripper with a bit of practice too ;D
  • project box(es) for all the parts (resistors, caps, chips…)
  • proper wire. breadboards hate flexible wires, so you’ll want solid core, about 0.5mm thick (about 22 AWG).
  • DO NOT USE (or buy) LEAD-FREE SOLDER, it just sucks…

As for websites, here’s just a few (I’m not getting any money for this):

Have fun !