New MagPi Essentials book: simple electronics

Less than a month has passed since we released Hacking & Making in Minecraft and we’re back again with our seventh Essentials book!

Simple Electronics with GPIO Zero is dedicated to helping you build your own electronics projects in easy steps – everything from push buttons to Raspberry Pi robots, and from laser-powered trip wires to motion-sensing alarms.


Those GPIO pins aren’t as daunting as they might first appear!

The book boasts 12 chapters and 100+ pages of GPIO Zero – but wait, hang on… just download the free PDF and get reading already! If you can’t grab it straight away, here are a few of the chapter highlights:

  • Program LED lights
  • Add push buttons to your project
  • Build a motion-sensing alarm
  • Create your own distance rangefinder
  • Make a laser-powered tripwire
  • Build a Raspberry Pi robot
  • Create a motion-sensing alarm
  • and much more!

We think our latest Essentials book is a great introduction to using the GPIO pins on your Raspberry Pi and programming them with the fab GPIO Zero Python library. It unlocks a whole new world of potential for your projects and it’s much easier to learn than you might think!

You can also buy Simple Electronics with GPIO Zero in our app for Android and iOS. The print version is coming soon too. In fact, we’re just off to have a word with the printers now…

Simple Electronics with GPIO Zero is freely licensed under Creative Commons (BY-SA-NC 3.0). You can download the PDF for free now and forever, but buying digitally supports the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s charitable aims.


Ben Nuttall avatar

Very proud to see my library covered in a whole publication (can’t wait to see it in print!). Thanks to the MagPi team for making it happen. I’ll be recommending this book to anyone who wants to learn more about GPIO Zero and making GPIO projects with Python.

Thanks to Dave Jones for all he’s contributed GPIO Zero. It’s a simple idea but there’s a very complex codebase behind it, making all these projects possible! Just take a look at the source on GitHub and feel free to dive in if you can – issues and pull requests welcome!

JR avatar

Oooh this is a great addition to the collection. I can’t wait to dive in with my Pi Zero (that was finally able to procure!) In fact all the books in the series are excellent and highly commend the MagPi on doing such a great job to put together these essential resources for the community.

By the way, can’t seem to figure out the animated gif this time around. Is that a reference to Picard/Star Trek I’m missing?

Simon Long avatar

It’s Alan Partridge, of Knowing Me, Knowing You fame. Nothing to do with Star Trek. (For once…)

Ben Nuttall avatar


Spencer Organ avatar

This looks really amazing. Excellent!

Leo White avatar

I was playing around with GPIO Zero last weekend and the ability to get a robot up and running with (literally) a few lines of code makes prototyping and testing much easier to do.

So definitely a useful, and time saving, library for the Raspberry Pi.

zoel avatar

Nice and Excellent!, thank you

charudatt avatar

Without a LCD support, I guess , mission is incomplete……… is any work being done on this project to cover more device support ?

Ben Nuttall avatar

We’ve been working on v1.3 for a while now, which will bring several new components and devices, along with other new features and improvements. There’s definitely scope for all sorts of new devices to be added, but you will appreciate some are easier than others to implement. See the full list of suggestions and other issues discussed on GitHub:

I’d love to see support for LCD screens. My initial thought is that there is a range of different screens which work differently, so we’d have to work out a sensible way of supporting multiple screen types in the same way, or providing multiple LCD screen interfaces. I believe many screens work over I2C. We don’t currently have any I2C support but it’s a work in progress. If you can shed any light on how different LCD screens work, please report it on GitHub and any code contributions would also be welcomed.

Michael Horne avatar

Congratulations on getting this put together and published. Really excited to get hold of it – it’ll be a great resource for individuals and for Jams. Brilliant stuff. Ben Nuttall hinted that it might be available in print soon – when do you think it will be? (These MagPi books… they’re like Pokemon, ya know… Gotta catch them all. Oh somebody shoot me for bringing that game into this…) ;-)

Russell Barnes avatar

Thanks Michael.

We’re currently prepping the latest four titles for print (yes, there’s ANOTHER Essentials book just over the horizon!). They should all hit the shelves around the end of September!

Rene Schoonrok avatar

Looks really good. Well done!

Jens avatar

Nice work, but the title is rather confusing. I only had a very brief look at the content and from my understanding this is not about Raspberry Pi Zero but works with any Pi. GPIO Zero seems to be a library instead. As target audience is primarily beginners many readers will don’t know this library. I guess this will need some clarification. I would have preferred “Simple Electronics with Raspberry Pi”.

Russell Barnes avatar

Thanks for the feedback Jens.
It’s titled that way because it’s 100% dedicated to electronics with that particular library. If (well… when) we release another electronics book using a different library (eg. RPi.GPIO), the title you proposed would cause more confusion further down the line (that was its working title for some time!).

Hope you enjoy the book!

Peter Jones avatar

I would agree that calling the library Zero, was maybe a mistake.

Peter Jones avatar

Thanks for this. Could anyone tell me what value potentiometers I need for the ‘BUILD AN INTERNET RADIO’ project?


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