# When electronics engineer design/construct circuits?

Do they have to know advanced math to design and construct circuits? What kind of math goes into design and construction of a circuit? Can you let the software simulation take care of that? Do you really need to know the voltage across a capacitor? How about the time constant of an RL Circuit or Natural response of an RL Circuit? Is it simpler than that to design and construct circuits?

I am wondering if I can take short cuts here instead of learning stuff I don't need to really know.

berkeman
Mentor
Do they have to know advanced math to design and construct circuits? What kind of math goes into design and construction of a circuit? Can you let the software simulation take care of that? Do you really need to know the voltage across a capacitor? How about the time constant of an RL Circuit or Natural response of an RL Circuit? Is it simpler than that to design and construct circuits?

I am wondering if I can take short cuts here instead of learning stuff I don't need to really know.
Wait, you want to become an EE, but you don't want to learn all about circuits?

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
It depends on the complexity of the circuit. You can (and likely will) design a basic circuit in your first EE class using nothing but basic algebra.

Can you let the software simulation take care of that?

You'll be the one deciding which components to place, how to connect them, the details of the power source, etc. A computer can help you solve the unknowns and makes it easier to design large, complex circuits, but it doesn't replace the Mark I brain.

Do you really need to know the voltage across a capacitor? How about the time constant of an RL Circuit or Natural response of an RL Circuit? Is it simpler than that to design and construct circuits?

In general, no, it's not simpler than that. If you want to build non-trivial useful circuits for the real world you'll need to know all the stuff they teach in EE. The experience you gain while learning the basics, along with tools and techniques you'll learn about, will make things easier, but they won't replace an actual understanding of the components.

I am wondering if I can take short cuts here instead of learning stuff I don't need to really know.

Don't ever try to take short cuts when learning the basics of a subject. Learn as much as you can. If you skimp on the basics, it will bite you on the backside later on.

sophiecentaur
gleem
Don't ever try to take short cuts when learning the basics of a subject. Learn as much as you can. If you skimp on the basics, it will bite you on the backside later on.

Amen.

Simplification can occur when you can interconnect special purpose circuits with well define functions or characteristics for which you know how a signal is transferred/generated through/by the circuit. Thus you have amplifiers, oscillators, filters, regulators, comparators, power supplies, for analog electronics and gates, analog to digital converters,latches, timing circuits, synchronizers for digital circuits for example. It is not surprising that electronic texts are 1000 or more pages long.

I must mention that electronic design is not just application of certain laws but requires rules of thumb or tricks to get circuits to work the way you want and requires you to develop an intuition for their functioning for example what does a capacitor or inductor due in DC or AC circuits.

I have heard stories of prototype circuits (for research) that were designed and functioning on a bread board which when cleaned up and neatly organized and soldered did not work because inter component capacitances changed too much. Electrons is both a combination of science and art.

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
I am wondering if I can take short cuts here instead of learning stuff I don't need to really know.

You are forgetting the threat of automation. You don't want your employer to replace you with a machine. Employees who take short cuts will be the first to be fired.

CWatters
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Do they have to know advanced math to design and construct circuits? What kind of math goes into design and construction of a circuit? Can you let the software simulation take care of that?

Depends on the circuit. For some digital circuits very little or no maths is required. For some analogue circuits a lot of maths is required. Sometimes software can help with the maths but not always.

Do you really need to know the voltage across a capacitor?

You almost always need a rough idea of the voltage as capacitors have a maximium voltage rating. For some circuits you may need to know the exact voltage and how it changes with time or even temperature.

How about the time constant of an RL Circuit or Natural response of an RL Circuit? Is it simpler than that to design and construct circuits?

I am wondering if I can take short cuts here instead of learning stuff I don't need to really know.

You definitely need to know that stuff.

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Employees who take short cuts will be the first to be fired

They also have a more difficult time becoming employees in the first place.

jrmichler
Tom.G
Consider this Achilles. Would you go to a surgeon who skipped most of of medical school and only learned how to cut you open, but not where or why?

anorlunda and berkeman
analogdesign
Also, if you don't understand the math, how can you possibly interpret the simulation results? The output of a simulator is only as good as the thinking that went into setting the simulation up.

Tell why you would need to know Natural response of an RC/RL Circuit when constructing or designing a circuit with Capacitors/Inductors?

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus