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Circuit analysis and general study tips

  1. May 7, 2015 #1
    The more work I do in the field of EE, the more I realizing that my general circuit analysis skills are usually the root of my confusion and could use improvement. Even after putting on my break-a-big-problem-into-smaller-pieces hat, I still find myself confused about the relationships between parts (especially when multiple parts share a net).

    I'm sure that years of experience down the road will eventually provide this, but I'd like to create a solid foundation sooner than later (and hopefully avoid a lot of the frustration and embarrassment I'm already dealing with).

    That being said, my main question is this: what advice would you have for a focused, targeted studying approach for quickly becoming fluent in circuit analysis?

    I've known people who are similarly aged as me (young) who can cruise through analysis in no time at all, and I too want to work toward having this superpower. Should I start at a modular level and fully understand each component type (i.e. Make's Encyclopedia of Electronics) before moving forward? Should I slowly wade through the newly revised tome of EE? Should I dive into certain types of circuits (e.g. current mirrors, voltage regulators, etc.) to better understand topologies? Is there a resource that compiles a large number of circuit problems that start out very simple and increase in difficulty, accompanied with thorough explanations (sort of like a Khan Academy approach)? I have nearly a dozen books, but most just offer the answer and lack elaborate explanation, so even when I get the answer right I'm still unsure of many aspects.

    Another way to look at it: if an arbitrary/tight time limit of, say, 25 hours, was imposed what circuit analysis topics and best practice approaches to studying them would you use?

    Thanks for any help with this! My head's spinning and feeling overburdened, so any clarity would be greatly appreciated. (It'll also help alleviate me burdening this forum with a laundry list of questions :) )
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2015 #2

    jim hardy

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    The path that worked for me fifty years ago was
    start with basic resistance capacitance inductance, become fluent in application of KVL and KCL,
    then become fluent in rectangular-polar & phasor notation , and solving circuits longhand not computer simulation
    then basic amplifiers (i learned vacuum tubes so it was natural to be conversant in both traditional current and electron-borne current)
    progressed into operational amplifiers. The old tutorials by National Semiconductor, Phillips/Signetics are great. Look for theis applications manuals in used bookstores.
    I recommend TI's "Op Amps for Everyone" they are kind enough to make it available at
    http://www.ti.com/ww/cn/uprogram/share/operation_080625.pdf [Broken]
    and if you're real lucky you'll run across a hard copy.

    You should also get your feet wet in transmission lines, antennas and Smith charts. That's another little world of its own.
    ARRL Radio Amateur's Handbook is a practical hands-on reference.
    Higher math treatments on that subject abound . You'll want to master Maxwell's equations (i never did) else you'll be academically lacking(as i am).

    Doubtless teaching methods have changed a lot since 1960's. I hope somebody who's more current chimes in.

    old jim
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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