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Textbook for electronics?

  1. Jun 20, 2007 #1
    Hi all, could u just recommend some good textbooks about electronics? I'm a little familiar with it as I worked on some circuit in high school. Someone said "the art of electronics" and "Electronic Circuit Analysis and Design" are both good choices. Which one do u prefer? I can't go with both of them because they are such huge guys.:rolleyes:
     
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  3. Jun 20, 2007 #2

    berkeman

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    I vote for (a), but I'm not familiar with (b), so keep that in mind. I like Horowitz and Hill's "Art of Electronics" as a basic intro text, because it has much more practical and real stuff in it compared to other texts that I've seen and used.

    For example, at the end of each chapter, there are two short sections called "Circuit Ideas" and "Bad Circuits". They are just schematic snippits, without any explanation. It's up to you to spot the good/clever stuff in the Circuit Ideas, and to spot the goofs in the Bad Circuits pages. There's some very practical stuff in those schematic snippets!

    H&H also make it a point to list real, current devices (transistors, opamps, etc.) in their examples and tables, as opposed to many texts which just keep on using ideal opamps and other components over and over. The best thing about H&H IMO is that it will help you to avoid the dozen or two most common errors as you start building real circuits.

    Make it a goal to read H&H cover-to-cover, and you will have a very good basic understanding of electronics. Also try to buy and build a few simple electronics kits to help cement that basic understanding. You can get kits from your local Radio Shack or Frys Electronics stores, or from online sources like this one:

    http://www.transeltech.com/kits/kits1.html
     
  4. Jun 20, 2007 #3
    Thank you berkeman for the comments. Yes, I think I need fundamental knowledge most. It is some strange to me, that I've been working with circuits without have enough preparation. Audio amplifiers, wireless controllers, FPGAs, PowerPCs... I really feel I'm not walking on the ground. It's too bad. I'd start from the very beginning.
     
  5. Jun 20, 2007 #4

    berkeman

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    Well, for what it's worth (FWIW), I didn't find H&H until after my MSEE and I'd been working for a couple years. A buddy who went to MIT had it in his bookshelf at work (it was his first textbook in electronics there), and I looked through it and went, "Wow, I see a couple mistakes right off the bat that I've been making!". So I went over to Stanford and bought a copy and read it cover-to-cover, and really got a lot out of it. I don't think you'll be disappointed with it.
     
  6. Jun 20, 2007 #5

    chroot

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    H&H is very good for what it is -- a very readable survey that will build your intuition and confidence. On the other hand, if you're looking for a book that will help you ace exams, you should look elsewhere. H&H won't really help you develop your problem-solving ability. It's unfortunate that most teachers would rather throw disgusting mesh-analysis problems at you rather than teach you how to build real circuits, but that's how it is.

    - Warren
     
  7. Jun 20, 2007 #6
    Agree, H&H is a classic text in electronics. I'm willing to wager that it helped alot of engineers to make new advances electronics, where otherwise they wouldn't be able to make. It is difficult for beginners, and can be discouraging at times. But once you learn the right way it will be stuck with you for life.
     
  8. Jun 26, 2007 #7
    Just ordered a AoE. Thank you all for the good comments. Maybe I can get the same feeling as berkeman, just like the first time when I read that High Speed Digital Design: Wow, how did my circuits function?

    In addition, do you have any recommendations about device manual? I don't know how to choose the right ones for my circuit, transistors, FETs, and even resistors, because there're so many types of them. Currently I select components according to the main parameters, e.g. resistance, power consumption of a resistor. The circuit I've made works in lab, but I doubt if they are robust in other environments. Also I need to know more about other components such like relays and optocouplers. Are there some manuals about this?
     
  9. Jun 26, 2007 #8

    berkeman

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    The AoE book has lots of real devices in it, so that's a good start for helping you to choose parts for your projects.

    Beyond that, what we typically do in industry is to pick a few vendors for each part type (like small signal transistors, and power semiconductors, and magnetics, and optos, etc.), and get familiar with their product lines. If you know a couple good vendors for transistors, for example, then you can use selector guides at their websites to find the best parts to use. Often, availability at Digikey is a deciding factor in choosing parts (at least through the prototyping and early pilot run stage of a product). And cost is definitely a factor in real-world-product parts choices -- we usually have a spreadsheet of the top few vendors for various potential parts, with cost at different volume levels an important entry in the spreadsheet.
     
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