Author Topic: High level overview book/docs  (Read 4182 times)

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Offline testingwaters

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High level overview book/docs
« on: April 13, 2015, 05:46:19 pm »
Hi all,

Lately, I've been watching some electronics related videos. I have a degree in computer science which helps me understanding the basics.

I am aware there is another thread in this forum where some links to learning material are provided. As it is almost always the case with internet resources, it is easy to find loads of unconnected/unrelated learning material but it does not provide a cohesive view of the field. I can find:
- Specific learning courses where the structure is linear: a sequence of videos
- Detailed tutorials on specific subjects

Ideally, the high level overview would allow the user deepening in one subject/branch if desired. Internet links are ideal to such an structure but the existing content is too chaotic.

Ideally, a book/site should provide:
- Basic theory and tools
- Type of circuits and components
- Circuit implementation processes (some people even build their own PCBs): design, construction, test
...
- Biggest electronic component providers in the market and their catalogs

A the moment I just have a bunch of unordered concepts (resistors, transistors, logic gates, integrated circuits, flip flops, state machines, breadboards, PCBs etc.)  that I would like to structure properly in order to make sense of the whole process and possibilites.

It makes a huge difference when something is properly explained: not too much theory, good analogies, examples etc.

Thanks

« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 03:55:45 pm by testingwaters »
 

Online Shock

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 07:41:53 pm »
Ideally, the high level overview would allow the user deepening in one subject/branch if desired. Internet links are ideal to such an structure but the existing content is too chaotic.

Ideally, a book/site should provide:
- Basic theory and tools
- Type of circuits and components
- Circuit implementation processes (some people even build their own PCBs): design, construction, test
- Biggest electronic component providers in the market and their catalogs

Theory is unavoidable unless you are assembling kitsets.

Introduction to Electronics - Earl D. Gates
In my opinion easy to read, light theory, has nicer images than most books. Has everything you asked about, aimed at more the technical college student.

Practical Electronics for Inventors - Paul Scherz, Simon Monk
Starts of a little more on the theory side. But covers everything you want to know.

The Great Courses - Understanding Modern Electronics - Richard Wolfson
About the most organized video course on basic electronics (if someone disagrees please provide better)

None of these will go deep into any specific area but this is where you use a reference book, dictionary, data sheet, circuits book to fill in the gaps, there are whole books on design. Physics and maths if you want a deeper understanding.

Edit:

Electronics suppliers depend on where you are, but if you put "electronics suppliers" in google it is a good place to start. Catalog and datasheets are all online now. Ebay is a good if you want a cheap and somewhat dubious supply of parts.

« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 07:56:01 pm by Shock »
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 87V, 117, 27/FM     >>> Fluke 51/52 Thermometer Parts Required <<<
Oscilloscopes: Rigol DS1054Z, Phillips PM3065
 

Offline drakke

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 08:49:43 pm »
I bought 'Electronic Principles' by Albert Malvino on Amazon for something like $6 + shipping that seems very basic but complete.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 04:17:24 pm »
Lately, I've been watching some electronics related videos. I have a degree in computer science which helps me understanding the basics.
...
It makes a huge difference when something is properly explained: not too much theory, good analogies, examples etc.

I don't think computer science (per se) will help you with understanding electronics.

A good explanation will, to a much greater extent than in CS, require significant amounts of theory. EE courses are long for a good reason, and even then they cannot cover vast swathes of necessary theory and practice.

Analogies are sometimes helpful, but are always dangerous when taken too far.

Examples are most beneficial when they embody a single point within the scope of a general theory.

So, have fun and don't expect to learn too much overnight, or even overyear! I'm still learning after 50 years, I'm pleased to say.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline testingwaters

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2015, 01:26:32 pm »
Computer science covers digital electronics, but at a basic level (digital circuits, computer architecture etc.).

As far as I know, in every subject, theory and practice go hand in hand. IMHO, it's a question of balance and good examples help.

As each field progresses, everyone keeps learning. Regardless it is EE or CS (as long as you keep your interest or motivation). I don't expect to learn EE overnight, I am just curious. I can read a sports magazine or I can read a book on EE. The second choice is more interesting to me.

PS: regarding the job market, some places only want employees wiht basic knowledge. It happens in IT (basic programming skills) and I am sure it happens in other fields as well
 

Offline Grapsus

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2015, 03:29:47 pm »
I'm kind of in the same situation here. I work in IT, open source software development to be more precise (makes me think of Dave saying "all you Linux aficionados/fanboys"  :scared:). But I've always been passionate about hardware tinkering. I've been watching EEVblog for something like 5 years and I quickly understood the difference between hardware hackers (or call them whatever you want) and experienced electronics engineers. And the more I try to learn EE on my own, the more I think that there is a gigantic gap between projects like "add bluetooth control to an LED lamp" and "build your own power supply/sensor data logging system/multimeter to certain constraints". Unfortunately the only way to overcome this gap is to lower one's expectations, accept to learn some math, physics and EE theory and persevere for many years by doing a lot of experimentation and challenging projects.

Despite of what many say here, there is a huge resemblance between EE and CS in terms of learning curve. With CS you can read some books about HTML and JavaScript and make useful web pages and applications, it makes you feel powerful, it's fun, you can even find an IT job with this skill, but it doesn't make you the kind of IT engineer who can properly design an operating system, a compiler or a DBMS. Feels the same in EE with Arduino tutorials versus projects with lots of constraints and trade-offs.

I'm still on the tinkering side but it feels good sometimes when I manage to connect a 5 V logic signal to a 3.3 V part by using a discrete transistor instead of ordering some crappy level shifter breakout board from Sparkfun.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2015, 07:40:09 pm »
With CS you can read some books about HTML and JavaScript and make useful web pages and applications, it makes you feel powerful, it's fun, you can even find an IT job with this skill, but it doesn't make you the kind of IT engineer who can properly design an operating system, a compiler or a DBMS. Feels the same in EE with Arduino tutorials versus projects with lots of constraints and trade-offs.

Unfortunately too many managers don't realise that (because it is only software and can be changed instantly with zero cost), and are beguiled by empty promises and low bids.

The results are visible all around us :(
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline ivaylo

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2015, 06:10:01 am »
If you are coming from CS and are looking for analogies to enter the EE world, think concurrent programming. Not just spawning a thread or two, but a ton of things happening at the same time, a bunch of processes competing for a single resource, and then introduce a feedback or two. It's all downhill from there. And don't listen to those who tell you "stick with writing HTML, EE requires much more theory than CS", they don't know what they are talking about...
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2015, 07:39:19 am »
If you are coming from CS and are looking for analogies to enter the EE world, think concurrent programming. Not just spawning a thread or two, but a ton of things happening at the same time, a bunch of processes competing for a single resource, and then introduce a feedback or two.

There's some validity to that. EEs seem to be less afraid of concurrency than CS people; typically EEs will use concurrency in a far more constrained and disciplined manner than CS people.

Quote
It's all downhill from there. And don't listen to those who tell you "stick with writing HTML, EE requires much more theory than CS", they don't know what they are talking about...

What on earth do you mean by that?

As an engineer (i.e. not technician) I've worked in both for decades, in everything from low-noise analogue instrumentation, semi-custom ICs, to RF, to hard realtime life critical software, to soft realtime financial systems.

The softies were gobsmacked to the point of not believing it, that as an EE I used the the theoretical concepts learned at university on a daily basis. Too many of the softies quickly forgot the little theory they were taught (e.g. the byzantine generals problem, or FSMs) and didn't see how it directly applied to their current work.

Softies had a tendency to use all their brain cells working out which button to push to get this year's (sometimes this month's) framework to change the background colour. Yes, that's an exaggeration, but there's more than a grain of truth to it.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 07:42:54 am by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline ivaylo

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2015, 03:28:35 pm »
Softies had a tendency to use all their brain cells working out which button to push to get this year's (sometimes this month's) framework to change the background colour. Yes, that's an exaggeration, but there's more than a grain of truth to it.
No no, this is a perfect example of what I am talking about - "I know a software guy whose job is easy, so they all must be bums (while look at me, I used two formulas today at work)". You are reading this on a browser I assume? Look at it carefully, I will make a few assumptions (where you work and what you do) and am going to say that the browser you are reading this on is more complex and has more "theory" to it than anything you are going to touch in your professional life. Yes, "softies" wrote that. Many of them, over the course of many years. Sorry, I hate flame wars as the next guy, but the OP comes and asks for sincere advise and the first thing he gets belittled (in an uninformed way!) for his current job, c'mon...
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2015, 04:03:14 pm »
Softies had a tendency to use all their brain cells working out which button to push to get this year's (sometimes this month's) framework to change the background colour. Yes, that's an exaggeration, but there's more than a grain of truth to it.
No no, this is a perfect example of what I am talking about - "I know a software guy whose job is easy, so they all must be bums (while look at me, I used two formulas today at work)". You are reading this on a browser I assume? Look at it carefully, I will make a few assumptions (where you work and what you do) and am going to say that the browser you are reading this on is more complex and has more "theory" to it than anything you are going to touch in your professional life. Yes, "softies" wrote that. Many of them, over the course of many years. Sorry, I hate flame wars as the next guy, but the OP comes and asks for sincere advise and the first thing he gets belittled (in an uninformed way!) for his current job, c'mon...

(1) why are you making (incorrect) assumptions? I gave a brief outline in my previous message, #9.

It might be worth clarifying what I mean by "working in" a domain. I mean being a professional engineer working with and for universities and R&D establishments and software houses that you ought to recognise, on projects pushing technology, in which I was either the architect, principal designer or one of a group of peer designers.

(2) your statement about "browsers having more theory" is content free and meaningless.

(3) why have you ignored my statement about "it being an exaggeration"?

(4) your inventing nonsense strawman arguments (e.g. software being easy) doesn't help your case.

So, yes, I do have a clue about such topics. Regrettably and annoyingly a damn sight more than many people I've encountered along the way.

(Oh, if meaningless name-dropping means anything to you, I knew Tim Berners-Lee and his parents when he was a kid a year older than me ;) )
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 04:09:49 pm by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline ivaylo

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2015, 04:50:11 pm »
And my dad was a firefighter...  :-//
 

Offline testingwaters

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2015, 12:10:50 pm »
I also have seen an equipment related thread in the forum. The same problem arises, good books offer a more cohesive and higher level overview.

May be someone knows of any book which summarizes the existing tools/equipment (from building to reverse engineering)

Thanks
 

Online Shock

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Re: High level overview book/docs
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2015, 05:26:49 am »
May be someone knows of any book which summarizes the existing tools/equipment (from building to reverse engineering)

Tools and equipment a hobbyist will use? Many beginner books have these including the ones I suggested previously. My best advice for a hobbyist is start small and buy what you need over time, as you need it.

Building as in PCB manufacturing at home? The books I recommend previously do cover this.

If you mean building as in assembly, there are a few good video series on soldering on Pace's youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/paceworldwide you can also find a lot of information out there on reflow and rework. A lot of beginners books cover this as well.

If you mean building as in design there are whole books dedicated to the different aspects of design and layout. Most all-in-one beginner books don't delve too deep. Same goes for reverse engineering.

But don't waste time looking for the perfect book that encompasses everything because it doesn't exist. You can get books like the Art of Electronics and several Electronics Encyclopedias but these are not casual reading to absolute beginners.

If you want free, the ARRL handbook and the Navy Neets training series is about the best out there.

My advice is if you haven't started get some reading material, work with a circuit simulator and test out how things work. Or the practical way is get a kitset or project that has the theory of operation and acquire the the tools required to build and test it.
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 87V, 117, 27/FM     >>> Fluke 51/52 Thermometer Parts Required <<<
Oscilloscopes: Rigol DS1054Z, Phillips PM3065
 


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