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Analog signal ...basics 
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#1
Dec1512, 04:33 AM

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is it true that analog signals are the logarithmic version of the natural signals... and hence the name ana log.?
what is the meaning of infinite information contained in analog or continous valued signal? please elaborate 


#2
Dec1512, 04:54 AM

PF Gold
P: 1,894

ankities, Welcome to Physics Forums!
The term “analog” in general is described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog The term when used in electronics is described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_signal If, after reading at these sites you still have some doubts or questions, come right back here and post them. Members here are always ready an willing to assist any true searcher advance her scientific knowledge. Cheers, Bobbywhy 


#3
Dec1512, 06:14 PM

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PF Gold
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An analogue is a word that is used for something that 'corresponds' to something else. I guess the root is the same as in the word 'analogy'. In an analogue signal, the voltage (say) on a wire corresponds to the motion of a microphone armature. There are many types of such 'transducer' that produce an electrical output that is proportional (ideally) to another physical quantity.



#4
Dec1512, 11:37 PM

P: 587

Analog signal ...basics
Some interesting history.
The use of the adjective "analog" in what we fondly call "analog electronics" began in the 1940s to differentiate the newly developed "digital computers" from the preexisting machines which subsequently became known as "analog computers". Prior to this, they were just called "computers", a term which could refer either to electrical apparatus or a room full of people armed with paper and pencil. 


#5
Dec1612, 05:40 AM

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PF Gold
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#6
Dec1612, 10:40 AM

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PF Gold
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I always assumed it has same root as analogy,
from Webster my slide rule being my favorite analog computer which operates on the inference that if distances along the C and D scales agree with base ten logartihms of numbers, they can be added and subtracted to agree with multiplication and division in base ten, just as can logarithms. I really enjoyed my analog computer lab where we solved differential equations with opamps and a strip chart recorder. Well, nowadays the term analog, when referring to a signal, is usually meant to describe its trait of having an amplitude (volts or milliamps) in proportion to the value it represents. That's in stark contrast to a digital signal which is a numerical representation by a string of numbers, usually just the 0's and 1's of the binary(base two) system, which decode to a number representing the value being expressed. Curiously there is now interest in computers with number bases other than binary. Base 3 arithmetic has a following, and so does base e. Try google. I once encountered a three level logic system, it used 0, 2.5 and 5 volts to represent 3 states. I was awed at the implications. If three levels, why not four or a hundred? Push that line of thought far enough, and at some very large number of states, digital computing would revert to analog. So the basic difference between analog and digital electronic signals is the number of levels used. An analog signal should be continuous over a range, ie an infinite number of levels; while a digital signal will have a discrete number of levels , and nowadays that number is almost universally two. But watch out. Which begs the question  is output of a digitaltoanalog converter really analog, if it can have only as many levels as its binary word allows ? just Sunday musings... old jim 


#7
Dec1612, 12:06 PM

P: 5,462

Well I think 'analog(ue)' as applied to electrical or mechanical signals is a contraction of the mathematical word 'analogical' meaning "In exact proportion to"
It has a subtly different meaning in chemistry and biology. It has also come to mean those variables that are continuous between specified limits ie they can take on any numeric value to any precision between the limits. This is distinct from discretised variables, which may be digita (numeric)l or take on some other (non numeric) value such as 'open' or 'shut'. In physics we have quantisation or granulation of states, in mathematics we have 'concrete mathematics' or 'discrete mathematics' for similar terms. The terms have come to us from ancient Greek (analogon) through Latin (analogicus) and old French (analogie), which as Jim said has the same root as analogy. 


#8
Dec1612, 01:29 PM

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PF Gold
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The fact that so many digital channels can be fitted into the same spectrum space as one analogue channel is interesting. It works because there is a minimum step size in picture brightness or sound pressure that our senses can detect. This means that a version of the signal can be quantised. Other programme signals will fit into the spaces between these steps. In addition, there are methods of processing digital signals that utilise other 'holes' in pictures and sound that can be left out and approximated without causing unacceptable degradation. The analogue version contains stuff we just don't need.



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