Getting Started

I'm getting started from ground zero, well kind of. My professional background is 3 years as a PC Technician and 13 years as a Computer Programmer/Consultant. All my life, I've loved tinkering with electronics to try to figure out how they work, but never learned the electrical science behind any of it. I'm not known as a handy man with tools, but I want to change that. I haven't bought a single thing yet, but am very excited to get started. I want to get off to a good start, so that's why I'm posting here.

Hardware I'm interested in learning about:

1) Motion Detectors 2) Cameras 3) Servos 4) Wireless 5) Arduino

I'm looking for beginner books for my education needs. There is a major learning curve for me on the electronic side. I'm an accomplished programmer so no need for help there. Here's what I think I need, but feel free to chime in to help me fill in the blanks:

1) Theory of Electrical Science - Volts, Amps, AC/DC, Capacitors, Resistors, how to use a voltmeter, how to not electrocute myself, the math behind the science, and all that good stuff. 2) Intro to Circuit Boards - How they work and the basics. 3) Any other prerequites that a newbie should read before being allow to touch an Arduino.

Thanks in advance!

Scratch cameras from your list. Unless you merely want to active a camera to take a picture. The Arduino is nowhere near fast enough, nor does it have near enough memory, to process data from a camera.

For arduino, the info that's helped me the most so far would be:

~ The Complete Beginners Guide to the Arduino: http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1247637768

~ Adafruit's arduino tutorials: http://www.ladyada.net/learn/arduino/index.html

~ The arduino learning section: http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage

As for electronics I would without a doubt recommend "Make Electronics": http://books.google.com/books?id=PQzYdC3BtQkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=make+electronics&hl=en&ei=IIpuTJqkCoP_8Aahgf39DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

a bonus with the book is that somebody very thoroughly documented 3/4 of the book's experiments on their blog! http://handsonelectronics.blogspot.com/

I would like to add to the list:

30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius - Simon Monk. http://www.arduinoevilgenius.com

This has projects that illustrate sensing, displaying driving motors / servos etc.

It explains how the electronics work pretty much from first principals. It doesn't even assume that you know Ohm's law.

But then I'm biassed. Seriously I did have people like you in mind when I wrote it.

Anything by Forrest Mims. Great for understanding basic circuits. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0945053290/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1878707035&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0K27JKH0EPXG0RHSZ1YM