Re: Please point me in the right direction
Fair enough.. sorry for hitting you with a pile of jargon.
A mosfet is a specific kind of transistor, and for the purposes of your project, a transistor is an electrically-controlled switch. One pin (called the 'gate' in a mosfet) controls the flow of electricity between the other two. An IC is an 'integrated circuit'.. they're basically the same as any other circuit, just really small and encased in plastic.
For the feature you described -- low voltage cutoff -- you could imagine putting a physical switch between the battery and the rest of your circuit then having someone monitor the battery with a voltmeter. If the battery voltage gets too low, that person flips the switch and disconnects the battery.
The parts I talked about do the same thing. The mosfet does the same thing as the switch, and the 'voltage detector' IC does the same thing as a person with a voltmeter.
As books go, "Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest Mims is a good introduction. Everyone will tell you that "The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill is *the* reference book.. and they're right.. but it's a bit more advanced. Many people have good luck with "Practical Electronics for Inventors" by Paul Scherz, which sits about halfway between the other two.
No collection of books takes the place of actually building circuits though. Mims has a whole series of little books full of "here, build this" circuits that are wonderful building-and-learning fodder. Get a couple of those ("Engineer's Notebook" and "Electronic Formulas, Symbols, and Circuits" are classics) plus a breadboard and some parts, then spend a few weeks working cover-to-cover building everything as you go. As you do, you'll pick up a thousand little bits of ambient knowledge that are really hard to explain but really valuable.
When you void a product warranty, you give up your right to sue the manufacturer if something goes wrong and accept full responsibility for whatever happens next. And then you truly own the product.