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10 LED Projects for Geeks Review by Kim Rodriguez

Build Light-Up Costumes, Sci-Fi Gadgets, and other clever inventions
John Baichtal
No Starch Press
245 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Electricity has always been intriguing to my son (age 11).  So much so, he convinced me to teach a class on it to middle schoolers at our co-op this semester.  Electricity is not something I am passionate about, so I needed all the help I could get to make it a fun class.  I was excited to try out the book, 10 LED Projects for Geeks, Build Light-Up Costumes, Sci-Fi Gadgets and other clever inventions.  The title alone made me feel like we would be having a ton of fun.

The introduction is where the majority of the “teaching” comes in while the rest of the units are projects.  There was a lot of information written in a way my boy could easily understand.  We were thrilled to find out he would also be able to code for some of the more difficult projects.

The title claims to have ten projects, but in fact there are actually thirteen.  There are four projects in the first chapter.  The projects start off fairly easy, using an LED light and a coin battery with a few extra parts.   However, the projects quickly jump into more in depth work with many more components and tools to use.   The third project adds in coding. 

The component lists are very comprehensive, even giving the exact product number to look for while shopping.  The steps are written well with photos to help check to ensure things are placed correctly.  The coding is provided where needed, including explanatory comments.  There are also links provided for full source codes, installing guides, and additional resources when applicable.

Overall, this book was way more than I knew what to do with.  I went with what I thought was a pretty simple project, using origami and a circuit board made from aluminum foil for our class of twenty.  Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out as I had planned.  It was a little more difficult than I realized.  That being said, the project of making LED Christmas cards is being used for cards my son is making for a craft fair.  

I believed my son would be able to pull off the projects with minimal assistance, this was definitely not the case.  I was unable to help him, so eventually my husband had to take over.  I am thankful the component list was specific, it helped while ordering all the needed supplies.  I am also thankful my husband was able to finish the projects with our boy.

I would recommend this book to someone with previous experience.  I would also probably wait until your child is a little older than 11.  The projects were fun and exciting and once my husband was able to help, the projects ran much more smoothly.

-Product review by Kim Rodriguez, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2018