Author Topic: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics  (Read 9541 times)

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Offline JenniferG

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Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« on: February 26, 2017, 09:43:36 pm »
With the very much appreciated help I've received from this most excellent forum, I purchased Art of Electronics and Learning the Art of Electronics, and will have them both within a week.

I'm told this book is approachable.  I haven't seen it yet, but I have fears.

I guess fears of the math. I got A's in Trig, Intermediate Algebra, Calc I, Calc II (a B actually), Calc III, Differential Equations and Linear Algebra, but wow, that was 20 years ago.  Also didn't have the fog of diabetes back then either -- it sucks.  I opened up my Calc book the other day (saved it from College -- Swokowski)  and oh my... just shaking my head!   Also was reading about FFT because someone mentioned they have a scope that does that.  Looked up FFT on wikipedia then went to Fourier transforms.. saw the good ole' matrixes I learned about in Linear Algebra, but have totally forgotten!   All those years learning all that math, but never used it, and it's hard to remember!  What a waste?!  You don't do much with Calculus, Linear & Diffy Q doing business applications  & database development with Software Engineering degree.

I suppose I could go to Kahn University vids or something on youtube to refresh.

My question is, how difficult is the math in these AoE books?

Also it's quite large book.  What should I set my goals to be for getting through the pair of books, including doing every lab?  How many semesters does that book typically cover. I can't imagine it's all covered in one semester!

Sorry for being a fraidy cat. LOL.
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Offline MagicSmoker

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2017, 10:03:49 pm »
I don't recall the math in AoE ever getting more complicated than algebra and trig; certainly no calculus or diff-eqs. I can also recommend Khan Academy for brushing up on the math you've forgotten. Oh, and don't be surprised if you have to go back a bit farther than you think when relearning all this stuff. It is not like riding a bike, as I have sadly learned over the years...
 
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Offline JenniferG

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2017, 10:16:23 pm »
I don't recall the math in AoE ever getting more complicated than algebra and trig; certainly no calculus or diff-eqs. I can also recommend Khan Academy for brushing up on the math you've forgotten. Oh, and don't be surprised if you have to go back a bit farther than you think when relearning all this stuff. It is not like riding a bike, as I have sadly learned over the years...

That's great, because I have a college Physics book here that I used for Mechanical physics.  It also has sections on Electricity & Magnetism (as well as Light).   And wow, do they get heavy with the Calculus in the entire book, including E&M.
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Offline Cerebus

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 12:01:54 am »
The really nice thing about AoE is that you can read the whole thing and the mathematics that you will encounter that you have to understand in order to understand what you're reading is nothing that you would have been phased by in a maths class at age 13.

To get the absolute most out of it you'll need to understand little more than basic calculus and elementary complex numbers. By that, I mean little more than understanding what basic differentiation represents, what basic integration represents and a glimmer of what complex numbers are (and there's an appendix to get you up to speed on the basics of complex numbers). As long as you're at a level where you understand what ex represents you'll be fine.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 12:23:32 am »
I didn't actually have the AoE, I only had LTAoE.  So I bought it and it came yesterday.

The differential equations for capacitors and inductors are in the first 50 pages.  We are up to complex impedances (vectors in the complex plane) in the first chapter and, BTW, the integral equations for capacitor and inductors are also in the first 50 pages.  In fact, the first chapter alone covers both DC and AC circuits much faster and perhaps deeper than any textbook I have ever had.  It's like they're in a hurry to get on to switches, knobs and dials.  So far, I haven't seen much time spent on mesh and nodal analysis.

I had heard how this was a 'math free' book but I'm not quite buying it.  OTOH, the equations are just thrown out there with not much tying things together.  But it's early times, I'm just in Chapter 1.

A couple of days ago I posted re: wxMaxima.  Seriously, get it installed.  It will do everything you can ever need for electronics and after a brief warm-up, you won't have any trouble at all.

You clearly have the math background, same curriculum as I had, and you'll do fine.  A few cobwebs need to be cleared away and, truthfully, helping my grandson with Calc I has sharpened my pencil quite a bit.

So far, the book has been a bunch of dV/dt and integral(i(t)/dt) and it's not very difficult at all.

For giggles, I attached the wxMaima code and graph for a capacitor charging through a resistor.  Pretty straightforward except that the charging function is traditionally in terms of time 't' seconds and I want the chart in terms of 'Tau', the RC time constant.  The point is, we get to 63% charge in one time constant and are essentially at the applied voltage in 6 time constants.  Somehow, this seems important to me...

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Khan Academy.  I spend a LOT of time over there trying to keep up with my grandson.  They have some electrical engineering videos as well.

Hit the "Learn" tab at Digilent.  The "Real Analog" is very good but more time is being spent on mesh and nodal analysis.

For general graphing, desmos.com.  For everything else, symbolab.com.

Otherwise, post questions here and let some of the more talented (than me) folks take a look.  You can find out who really knows the stuff in this thread for Simon's homework problem on mesh and nodal analysis.  Ignore my posts...

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/mesh-analysis/ 

Orolo nails this stuff!

The question comes down to "How much do I need to know as a hobbyist?".  That's hard to answer because on one end it can be a little as Ohm's Law and on the other end the speed of light is the limiting factor.  Which part of the sandbox is interesting?

With your background, I wouldn't sweat AoE.  It'll work out fine!

« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 12:37:57 am by rstofer »
 
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Online Brumby

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2017, 03:29:53 am »
I don't actually have the AoE or LTAoE - but I am seriously thinking about pulling trigger.


My thoughts on your situation are this:

You clearly have the math background ..... and you'll do fine.  A few cobwebs need to be cleared away ...

Quote
With your background, I wouldn't sweat AoE.  It'll work out fine!

Here's another book which might help:

(Just need to read the front cover)
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2017, 03:42:18 am »
Of course TAOE is not math free.  But as Cerebrus points out the math is minimal and with few exceptions is on the level of "back of the envelope" basic algebra.

From the introduction:

Quote
The treatment is largely nonmathematical, with strong encouragement of circuit brainstorming and mental (or at most, back-of-the-envelope) calculation of circuit values and performance.

Have no fear Jennifer.  I, like you have not used calculus for several decades (over 30 years in my case) and have had no issues following what's in TAOE.

Also, Dave himself has made the point that in decades working as a professional EE he has rarely needed to use anything more than basic algebra and occasionaly some complex numbers (which only comes up with AC circuit analysis).
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 03:46:53 am by mtdoc »
 

Offline JenniferG

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2017, 04:13:18 am »
Lol I forget how to differentiate and integrate! All I remember is the simple differentiation and integration:  the differential of x^2 is 2x and the integral of x^2 is (x^3)/3.  Stuff like that lol.

For some odd reason, I do recall how cool Laplace Transforms were in Diffy Q to where you can transform a discontiunous function to continuous to differentiate.  But that's all I remember.. how cool it was.. none of the math involved.  Also remember how cool it was to integrate in 3D along with line integrals in calc 3.  Calc ii if I recall was all about series, infinite series, fibonacci, complex numbers, fractals, etc.. that class I got a B in.. although I thought I was gonna get an A.. was disappointed.. must of been close to an A though.  Very cool thorough hippy match teacher for Calc II.. was always a pleasure hearing his lecture.. he smoked a corn cob pipe during break lol.  Wow that 24 years ago...seems like yesterday.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 04:21:42 am by JenniferG »
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2017, 04:29:25 am »
Lol I forget how to differentiate and integrate! All I remember is the simple differentiation and integration:  the differential of x^2 is 2x and the integral of x^2 is (x^3)/3.  Stuff like that lol.
I don't imagine that AoE will take much more than that.  Fourier and Laplace are usually advanced topics as are Maxwell's field equations (barely survived that class).
Quote
For some odd reason, I do recall how cool Laplace Transforms were in Diffy Q to where you can transform a discontiunous function to continuous to differentiate.  But that's all I remember.. how cool it was.. none of the math involved.  Also remember how cool it was to integrate in 3D in calc 3 and line integrals.  Calc ii if I recall was all about series, infinite series, fibonacci, complex nubmers etc.. that class I got a B in.. although I thought I was gonna get an A.. was disappointed.. must of been close to an A though.

Laplace is cool!  Khan Academy has a series on the topic.  There's a current thread that hits on the topic:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/resonance-of-lc/

The book does introduce the equations and dances around them.  No real depth that I have seen as yet.  I like the equations and I really like being able to play with them.  For example:  That graph of the capacitor charging is in terms of Tau so, pick ANY resistor and ANY capacitor and the graph is the same.  The value of Tau changes but the graph doesn't - a time constant is a time constant.  I think there is something to be gained by playing around with the math.
 
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Offline SingedFingers

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2017, 09:37:18 am »
Just as a note, I did the older version of this course when I was 16 before doing A level mathematics in the UK. It's pretty simple stuff across the board really. You can get away with no calculus and basic algebra. Brush up on:

1. Basic algebra.

2. Complex numbers.

3. Engineering units.

That's it. Just ignore the calculus and life will be good.

You can use Khan Academy as a resource and training, Wolfram Alpha to check stuff.

It does help to understand how variables and their locations in the equations affect things.

Personally I got a taste for it afterwards and spent a few years working through Mathematics: from the birth of numbers". A goof reference to have around.

You need a decent calculator, not always but often enough. Preferably one with engineering units and a solver. I use an HP 50g (which has a CAS as well but I don't use that much). A Casio FX-991ES PLUS is a good bet as well. Stay away from TI ones; expensive or buggy.

FFT is just a conversion from the time to frequency domain in an instrument. Unless you're playing around with DSPs I'd be more concerned on interpreting the results than how you derive them.

You can get a long way really with not much knowledge.

Solving simultaneous equations with matrices is fun though.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 09:39:28 am by SingedFingers »
 
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Offline JenniferG

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2017, 01:45:33 pm »
Thanks a bunch! 

Regarding scientific calculator, I used to use an HP 48GX back in college.  Gave it to my nephew some years ago.  Now I use a perfectly functional HP 48GX emulator on Mac OS X -- Emu48. (Was so happy to find this app, to be re-united with this calculator.) Love the reverse polish notation, the stack.. big fan of them :)

I see those used HP 48GX sell for quite a bit even now.

Would be nice to see a successor of 48GX with a very nice display comparable to iPhones retina display.  By the way were there any RPN successors to the HP 48GX?  Have no clue what's available these days.  But the thought of having a very fast HP 48GX with retina quality display, well is darn appealing! :)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 01:49:56 pm by JenniferG »
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Offline SingedFingers

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2017, 02:03:16 pm »
Glad to see another RPN user :)

HP 50G is the only available HP48 style RPL successor  They do the HP Prime which is colour, touch screen etc but it does a poor job of RPN type input.

The 50g has a 150MHz ARM CPU which makes it orders of magnitude faster than the 48 series.

The 50g has a nice monochrome screen and CAS though, both demonstrated below. The CAS has made me lazy :)



I can't praise that calculator enough. But you have to meet it half way for there to be an understanding. TI/Casio attempt to meet you at your door and it doesn't quite work.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 02:07:00 pm by SingedFingers »
 

Offline JenniferG

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2017, 02:18:25 pm »
Looking at the feedback given for 50G vs Prime.. it's obvious people want a calculator in the style of the HP 48GX.

Time for HP to make a Color touch screen version of the venerable 48GX, with as impressive an enclosure as the 48GX, which is one of the best looking calculators ever made if you ask me.  Rugged as well.   

HP 48GX style calc, color, touch screen and an all metal stylish enclosure would be dandy adn I bet many engineers would pay $300 for it like they did back in the 90's for the 48GX.

EDIT: That CAS feature is pretty impressive :)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 02:22:55 pm by JenniferG »
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Offline SingedFingers

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2017, 02:24:48 pm »
TBH I'm happier with the 50g as you don't have to recharge it every 5 minutes and you just chuck 4 AAAs in it if it is. I owned a TI nSpire CAS and this was a big problem. You'd pick it up half the time and find it was dead and you'd then have to wait for a minute for it to boot up...
 
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Offline ady.price

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2017, 03:15:05 pm »
At the end of the preface to the first edition the authors write: "This book can be used.... with only a minimum mathematical prerequisite; namely some acquaintance with trigonometric and exponential functions, and preferably a bit of differential calculus.". I would also like to point out that Appendix A is called "Math Review" and even if it's not comprehensive enough to get you back on top of things, you at least get an idea about the concepts you need to refresh.

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Offline ebastler

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2017, 03:27:25 pm »
I feel that the whole discussion about math prerequisites for the Art of Electronics is missing the point. As stated by others, the required math is really manageable (and you can always just skip to results and accept them, if you prefer and don't want to dig deeper).

The really intimidating aspect of the Art of Electronics (and its beauty, at the same time) is its sheer bulk... ;)  Two ways to approach it, I think: Either go slowly and methodically, and don't expect do be done in a few weeks. Or use it as a reference, or a "tutorial on whatever topic interests me right now"; i.e. don't go through the whole book systematically, but read individual sections when you are interested in them. A perfectly viable way to use the book, in my experience.
 
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Offline SingedFingers

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2017, 03:36:03 pm »
It is and it isn't. You need some common mathematical ability to get by regardless of what the text states.

Just found my notebooks from it. Looks like I actually bothered to do at least the first few chapters' worth of questions.

First block of algebra for you from 22 years ago:



Looking at the first and last dates it took me 14 months to do up to the start of the microprocessors section where I gave up because I went to university. That's an idea of pace. Some of this took a long time because I had to build, borrow and bodge kit for the labs.

Edit: I just notice my handwriting has got even worse since then and it was abysmal then!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 03:43:53 pm by SingedFingers »
 
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2017, 03:49:58 pm »
I like wxMaxima better every day!  This package is a great Computer Algebra System.  Yes, it takes a bit of time to write the first great example but saving a few documents makes it easy to build on what you did before.

It's available for Windows, Max OS X, Ubuntu and source is available for those who care to work with it.
http://andrejv.github.io/wxmaxima/download.html

The User Manual is voluminous but terse - in other words, it's not a simple read.  There are a couple of .pdf booklets that do a nice job of getting a user up to speed:

https://wxmaximafor.wordpress.com/

The idea behind the booklets is to use them as a 1 unit lab course but I suggest they just be used as reference material.  Unless you like 1 unit lab courses...

We have a pair of HP48GX calculators for the number crunching required in my grandson's Calc I class.  We both prefer them to the HP Prime and TI npsire.  They're not as feature laden but they get the job done fast.  Unlike the HP50G, the ENTER button on the HP48GX is in the right place!
 
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2017, 04:04:17 pm »
I feel that the whole discussion about math prerequisites for the Art of Electronics is missing the point. As stated by others, the required math is really manageable (and you can always just skip to results and accept them, if you prefer and don't want to dig deeper).

The really intimidating aspect of the Art of Electronics (and its beauty, at the same time) is its sheer bulk... ;)  Two ways to approach it, I think: Either go slowly and methodically, and don't expect do be done in a few weeks. Or use it as a reference, or a "tutorial on whatever topic interests me right now"; i.e. don't go through the whole book systematically, but read individual sections when you are interested in them. A perfectly viable way to use the book, in my experience.

I think I'm going to take the approach of skimming the book to get an idea of the content and then use if for reference.  I'm unlikely to be interested in each and every topic and I'm certainly not going to try an EE do-over.

The authors do try to inject a bit of humor like the comments re "amperage" on page 3 (3d ed).  It's funnier if you spent your entire career working in MW instead of mW.  They do everything possible to make the subject approachable. 

It's certainly not like any textbook I ever had!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 08:38:38 pm by rstofer »
 
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Offline SingedFingers

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2017, 04:09:15 pm »
You don't read all the book, just the bits it says to read in the labs in the student manual, which is really about 20% of the text.
 
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Offline claytonedgeuk

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2017, 09:28:05 pm »
I'm going through learning the art of electronics book as well. 

I didn't really consider whether the calc would be too hard or not - I just started going through it.  It's actually been really useful seeing applications of differentiation (I've not really found much daily use for determining the area under a curve) - but makes it a bit more meaningful seeing the results on an oscilloscope.

I would also second the recommendation on getting a decent calculator....it makes life a lot easier.  I actually got an HP50g for this as well - it just means I spend less time fighting with calculations, and more time getting a feel for "I wonder what happens if I...xxx".  Ebay is a good source, and at a pinch Droid48 on the app store is a pretty good HP48 emulator.  I love my hp50g though.  :)
 
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Online eugenenine

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2017, 09:40:32 pm »
I like wxMaxima better every day!  This package is a great Computer Algebra System.  Yes, it takes a bit of time to write the first great example but saving a few documents makes it easy to build on what you did before.

It's available for Windows, Max OS X, Ubuntu and source is available for those who care to work with it.
http://andrejv.github.io/wxmaxima/download.html

The User Manual is voluminous but terse - in other words, it's not a simple read.  There are a couple of .pdf booklets that do a nice job of getting a user up to speed:

https://wxmaximafor.wordpress.com/

The idea behind the booklets is to use them as a 1 unit lab course but I suggest they just be used as reference material.  Unless you like 1 unit lab courses...

We have a pair of HP48GX calculators for the number crunching required in my grandson's Calc I class.  We both prefer them to the HP Prime and TI npsire.  They're not as feature laden but they get the job done fast.  Unlike the HP50G, the ENTER button on the HP48GX is in the right place!

Maxima looks similar to SciLab.

My HP48SX got me though college, I didn't have any advanced match classes before college and struggled to keep up.  I'd use the HP equation editor and eval to check my work to make sure I was doing it right.  Recently found https://sourceforge.net/projects/x48.berlios/files/ so I dumped my rom into it.
 
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Online eugenenine

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2017, 09:46:33 pm »
I keep reading about this book.  I don't have my college textbooks so I was tempted to buy this one, but I'm somewhat old school and sometimes like to use a book rather than a ebook.  I can't decide if I should look for some old college textbooks.  Actually found the old 8085 one we used.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2017, 09:47:00 pm »
I'm going through learning the art of electronics book as well. 

I didn't really consider whether the calc would be too hard or not - I just started going through it.  It's actually been really useful seeing applications of differentiation (I've not really found much daily use for determining the area under a curve) - but makes it a bit more meaningful seeing the results on an oscilloscope.


But a wee bit of integral calculus will come in handy for calculating the charge on a capacitor after some amount of time.

That capacitor graph I posted above looks a lot like Figure 2N.6 on page 54 of LTAoE

But, no, I don't usually think about calculus at the dinner table.

Quote

I would also second the recommendation on getting a decent calculator....it makes life a lot easier.  I actually got an HP50g for this as well - it just means I spend less time fighting with calculations, and more time getting a feel for "I wonder what happens if I...xxx".  Ebay is a good source, and at a pinch Droid48 on the app store is a pretty good HP48 emulator.  I love my hp50g though.  :)

ANYTHING is better than doing the calcs on a sliderule.  But it was all I had...  Oh, and tables in the back of the book.

My grandson was just asking how I did ex on a sliderule.  Later this afternoon I will challenge him to a race of his HP48GX against my sliderule.  I get to pick 'x'....  He gets precision, I get speed - and it's a race!  He's doomed!
 
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Offline claytonedgeuk

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Re: Some tips please about going through Art of Electronics
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2017, 09:57:34 pm »
I'm going through learning the art of electronics book as well. 

I didn't really consider whether the calc would be too hard or not - I just started going through it.  It's actually been really useful seeing applications of differentiation (I've not really found much daily use for determining the area under a curve) - but makes it a bit more meaningful seeing the results on an oscilloscope.


But a wee bit of integral calculus will come in handy for calculating the charge on a capacitor after some amount of time.

That capacitor graph I posted above looks a lot like Figure 2N.6 on page 54 of LTAoE

But, no, I don't usually think about calculus at the dinner table.

Quote

I would also second the recommendation on getting a decent calculator....it makes life a lot easier.  I actually got an HP50g for this as well - it just means I spend less time fighting with calculations, and more time getting a feel for "I wonder what happens if I...xxx".  Ebay is a good source, and at a pinch Droid48 on the app store is a pretty good HP48 emulator.  I love my hp50g though.  :)

ANYTHING is better than doing the calcs on a sliderule.  But it was all I had...  Oh, and tables in the back of the book.

My grandson was just asking how I did ex on a sliderule.  Later this afternoon I will challenge him to a race of his HP48GX against my sliderule.  I get to pick 'x'....  He gets precision, I get speed - and it's a race!  He's doomed!
Wow...is the slide rule really that quick? Impressive!

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