Printed Circuit resources
Stop using Ferric Chloride etchant- Use Cupric Chloride instead. It self-regenerates upon exposure to air, and the more copper you etch, the more/stronger your etchant becomes. You don't just dump it down the drain. It's bright green in color, and very "green" environmentally.
This has more of the chemistry explained --
Free PCB Software
Microcad's WinQcad is an intuitive schematic capture and PCB design and autorouter software package. Their Free (not just 30 or 60 days) evaluations package’s only restriction is that you are limited to 499 pins per project, and 100 pins per Gerber file. All other functions are fully accessible. It also cerates files for CNC milling of the PC board, and is compatible with Orcad ™
Surface Mount resources
Surface mount tools and supplies- Solder paste, Hot air tools, De-soldering alloys, and a great deal of useful information in the “TECHNICAL PAPERS” section.
Microchip PIC resources
The Microchip Home page, of course:
The PICkit-2 is the main interface/programming tool for almost all of the PIC chips. On this one page you will probably find all the features, links, sources, and references you need to get started making the most of the PICkit-2. With the new v2.55 software, the module even doubles as a basic Logic Analyzer, USART, and serial EEPROM programmer. This is a fantastic tool for just $35, and the extensive software tools are FREE, and constantly being improved. (Is there a catch? Too good to be true? Not really. If they make their parts easy to use, available, and well supported, then more people will design with PICs, and they sell more parts. Everybody wins.)
PICkit-2 Info Page
Beginners checklist for PIC Microcontrollers: Excellent source of PIC information, references, and links.
Superprobe: The name say it all- a logic-probe on steroids. This is a really clever design, and a good example of what I call “writing hardware”. A simple and useful PIC starter project.
mondo-technology.com/ - (In the ‘Projects’ column, Click on “Superprobe”)
These are books I found very useful in learning electronics and other sciences.
I highly recommend them.
CMOS Cookbook by Donald E. Lancaster - ISBN-13: 9780750699433
Excellent place to learn a lot of practical, hands-on circuit design.
Electrostatics by A. D. Moore - SBN-13: 9781885540041
This is the new, expanded version. Read and study it from cover to cover (No skipping what little math there is), and you will have a complete and working understanding.
Procedures in Experimental Physics by John Strong - ISBN-13: 0917914560
Even though the original copyright date is 1938, this an excellent physics book because it clearly explains how things work, and the basics of how to make scientific apparatus from simple materials.