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What Books Would Be Good To Understand This?

  1. Jul 2, 2010 #1
    What subject/field am I looking at that deals with things alike to the following: When I take a basic calculator apart, I see several objects, a main circuit board (I think that's what it;s called) a screen and the solar panel. How do all of these things work to make the mathematical manipulations that I punch into it? How does the screen know what to display? how does the circuit board know what numbers are being put in?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2010 #2
    Something along the lines of electronics. Perhaps electrical engineering.
  4. Jul 2, 2010 #3
    I can't find any books on electrical engineering though, all I found was stuff on circuits.
  5. Jul 2, 2010 #4
    That's what you want isn't it? Calculators work using programmed microcontrollers.
  6. Jul 2, 2010 #5
    So your saying I should study electrical circuits? Looking at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_engineering" [Broken], there's a couple sub-disciplines that could fit what I'm looking for.

    So do cellphones also use micocontrollers? I'm not restricting this to JUST calculators, I just used a calculator as a simple example. I could also have used a GPS as an example.

    Or how about this, how would you make an electronic thermometer? or how an attitude indicator on a modern aircraft works, I know how the old analog ones work, but I don't know how the electronic ones work.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Jul 3, 2010 #6
    I'm not entirely sure about your last paragraph but I'm pretty confident that electronics is a good start in the direction you're looking for. Microcontrollers, microprocessors and etc are used to run cellphones, calculators, robots, TV screens you name it.

    You might want to look at Parallax. See if it's what you're looking for since they specialise in amateur electronics. They even have a GPS add on that you could use with one of their BASIC stamps or robots or whatever.

    Link: http://www.parallax.com/
  8. Jul 5, 2010 #7
    I don't see a whole lot of information on their site. It has a lot of products but not a lot of information. It seems to be just programming electronics, not actually making them.
  9. Jul 5, 2010 #8
    Aside from the solar panel and other supporting parts, most of that falls into electrical/computer engineering, primarily digital electronics, i.e. the topic that deals with logical gates, combinational/sequential circuits, microprocessors etc. The questions you are asking span many topics, including computer science, gate-level design, and silicon-level chip making. Gate-level is probably the easiest and most informative to start with e.g. how do you create adders, how to create state machines etc.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  10. Jul 5, 2010 #9
    A friend of mine has the book "The Art of Electronics" that he said he would let me borrow,would that cover some of it?
  11. Jul 7, 2010 #10
    That book is an excellent one. However, it is too difficult for someone starting on electronics with no (or very little) knowledge. Also, it includes some concepts in mathematics which you may not have come across, such as complex numbers. I don't know how the system works in the USA and I don't know how informed you are in maths so don't flame me if complex numbers are an elementary topic in the US.

    Parallax, Make magazine, the Arduino and etc are good starting points in going down the hobbyist practical side of electronics. If you want something more theoretical, then I think someone else may be of benefit to you.
  12. Jul 7, 2010 #11
    I understand complex numbers, if it has complex analysis, I'm sure I'd be able to learn enough to get by.

    But is The Art of Electronics practical? Would it enable me to make basic electronics such as a simple calculator?
  13. Jul 8, 2010 #12
    Okay, fair enough. The book in my opinion is very theoretical and thus is not very practical. However, I suggest you should borrow it from your friend and make your mind up yourself. I'd imagine it would be good at describing and helping you understand how and why circuits work they way they are. So in other words, it's a good reference book.

    If you were a total beginner in the field of electronics (which doesn't seem to be you) I'd recommend buying Starting Electronics by Keith Brindley.

    Otherwise, you could have a look at The Circuit Designer's Companion by Tim Williams (I haven't read this book by the way).

    Here's a link of the second book from google books: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...&resnum=4&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false
  14. Jul 8, 2010 #13
    It so happens that my friend also has the "Starting Electronics" one, I'll be looking into both of them.
  15. Jul 12, 2010 #14

    In simple terms you are talking about a microcontroller circuit. you can use an available microcontroller for this purpose. and find a book on microcontroller programming.

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