Get an oscilloscope
I am sorry if this seams like a strange tip. But the point with the tips are to let other know what you have ecperienced / learned / would have wished someone would have told you.
About a week ago I got my very first oscilloscope, and I have realized that I should have done this when I started with robotics. Both because it would have saved me hours and hours, but also because it would have made me understand things so much better, and I would have had more fun.
I never understood any electronics, but after getting a DSO Nano, I was even inspired to buy a breadboard, and I have made little circuits with transistors and caps! Not much for many of you, but a giant step for me :)
If you get the DSO Nano, here is a short review:
This little sexy thing can be bought for USD85 when I write this. It is open source, and it is easy to upgrade to a nev SW version , which makes it a totally different tool.
There are many "beta-feelings" over the tool, and the support pages are absolutely crap. It turns out that it is Chinese originally, and the English versions are badly translated, crap to navigate, badly updated, and .. well.. crap :) I ended up using Google translate on some sites, where I found better SW for the tool.
However, after getting annoied over that, I found a SW version, named "Paul".. and boy, that is good! Get that! It is full of spelling errors, but who cares, I spell crap myself :)
It makes the DSO Nano an extremely cool little toy. I cannot recommend it enough, if you do not have an oscilloscope already, and if you like me can be aided by visuals on wht is going on inside the little circuits.
It is very funny and extremely inspiring and I have learned so much! Get one :)