Author Topic: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation  (Read 30171 times)

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Offline slateraptor

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So I was in the middle of having lunch when my mind arbitrarily started to think about why anyone would recommend "The Art of Electronics" as a great starting point for someone with interest but little to no formal background on the subject. There are seemingly countless recommendations swearing by this book, but sometimes I have to question whether these people have actually read it. ???

Take, for example, the section in chapter 1 on Thevenin equivalence, summarily encapsulated on a single page as "Easy!" with Norton equivalent "incidentally" mentioned as an aside. Then right into a short description of specialty Zener and tunnel diodes. Then waveforms. Then the time-domain sol'n to an RC circuit. Then a discussion on impedance whilst brushing off Fourier analysis as "seldom necessary". Really? ??? I mean this is just chapter 1 and it's already all over the place!

Flipping to an arbitrary page: 276 on state-variable filters, a whooping 2 paragraphs written like an advertisement for National and Burr-Brown; shimmy to the index and you'll discover that the only other mention of state-variables is on pg 295: another Burr-Brown advertisement. Flip two pages to Figure 5.24, which I instantly recognized as the topology of a synthetic inductor; with a single paragraph, no derivation, and not even so much as a precaution on its limitations, I couldn't help but wonder how many hobbyists over the years have blown up their circuits attempting to use this guy as a replacement for an inductor in a power circuit.

The structure and contents of the book makes sense after a brief glance through the bibliography section: the majority of references were handbooks. If the book weren't so bulky (and expensive), it would make a great shitter reader for a seasoned engineer. But as a point of entry, I'd be surprised if anyone without a formal background was able to walking away from this book with anything deeper than exposure to the lingo, if you will.
 
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Online Conrad Hoffman

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2011, 12:18:25 am »
My opinion is a bit higher, but I've always wondered how good an entry book it is. If you're reasonably well advanced, there's little in it that's useful. If you're a raw beginner, it's missing quite a lot you need to know. It seems good for those with some introductory background, but who aren't yet familiar with all the hands-on basics you pick up the first few years. I know everybody dislikes math because its scary, but I think somebody is way better off with one of the introductory circuit analysis books like Boylestead (sp?). Usually they can be found cheap as used textbooks.
 
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Offline gregariz

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2011, 12:20:06 am »
But as a point of entry, I'd be surprised if anyone without a formal background was able to walking away from this book with anything deeper than exposure to the lingo, if you will.

You'll be attacked for that post because there are alot of fans of that book. However I completely agree with you.

For some funny reason its a topic that seems to come up for discussion every couple of years. The only conclusion I can come up with is that its because the Authors were with Harvard University. If they had been with the University of Nebraska it would have sunk without a trace a long time ago. I've got a stack of books that I think are all far better than that one.

My take however is slightly different to you. As I've worked with a lot of physicists and chemists my belief is that they don't understand the word synthesis or design process as an engineer is formally trained to do. As a result everything they do has an air of experiment about it. That's at least my take on why the book seems so incoherent - it doesnt flow because the authors were never taught that you need to learn things like norton's before you need to do an impedance match. In my travels it seems to be very popular with non engineers who have come into electronics I think for the same reasons - it gets you to a topic you might need without giving you some background that would appear in design orientated books.

 
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Offline McMonster

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2011, 12:59:39 am »
I'm a beginner and I got my hands on this book when I was starting. It all depends on how do you read this book, there's a lot of things that look simply scary, but what's great about this book is that you don't have to really pay attentntion to this. If I saw something I did not really liked I just skipped it and read ahead. Sometimes I suddenly got enlightened, went back, read it again and so on. Reading it word-after-word and trying to get it all at once is a mistake in most cases.

If you don't push it, it's a great book. And it's certainly better than all this crappy, boring, academic technobabble (any Star Trek fans?) handbooks, it's written with a much simpler language.
 
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Offline IanB

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 02:04:14 am »
Maybe there's a reason it's called The Art of Electronics, rather than The Science of Electronics?

(Note: I've never seen the book, so I have no clue about the content.)
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2011, 02:31:40 am »
I think this book is the best all around electronics book   http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Electronics-Inventors-Paul-Scherz/dp/0071452818/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319339386&sr=1"-1  Practical electronics for inventors by Paul Scherz.
It does have some obvious mistakes in some of the figures but it is loaded with extremely usefull info I have not seen anywhere else. I consider this the most usefull electronics book I own.
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2011, 02:41:40 am »
I think of it as the best electronics reference book around, not necessarily the best one to actually learn electronics from scratch.
It's the one I pick up when I have to check something I haven't done in a long time.

Dave.
 
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Offline slateraptor

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2011, 03:41:55 am »
I know everybody dislikes math...

Speak for yourself. ;) Why is it that math seems to be the only thing on this planet that society has given its blessings to suck at? Food for thought.


You'll be attacked for that post because there are alot of fans of that book. However I completely agree with you.

Alas, bring forth discourse, for it does not exist without dissenting opinion.
 
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Online Conrad Hoffman

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2011, 04:02:10 am »
Well, every time I suggest  a book with good fundamentals that covers the math, it goes over like a lead balloon. Admittedly with LTSpice and Excel one can accomplish a lot, but electronics really should be a math-heavy discipline. I appreciate math. I even enjoy math. I use math. Unfortunately, I'm just not as good at it as I wish I was. I think it has something to do with memory and attention spa... look, there goes a squirrel! What was I saying?
 
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Offline johnboxall

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2011, 05:51:30 am »
A good contemporary book for outright beginners is "Electronics - A First Course" (3rd ed.) by Owen Bishop. See http://amzn.to/rRIXXT

Very approachable, the math isn't too bad :) however the basics are there and the explanations are excellent. Plenty of questions with answers as well. A great prelude to higher education or more complex books.

A note to my detractors: mathematics is necessary and interesting. When I recommend a book for beginners with some maths in it doesn't mean I am averse to it or don't recommend learning any of it. People need to start somewhere, and the Bishop book is a good point. Once a student has worked their way through it, they are more than ready for heavier texts such as AOE and so on.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 01:47:09 am by tronixstuff »
 
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2011, 09:54:15 pm »
Ah, the Generation Arduino at work. No Math please, we are hip, and nothing that requires thinking because thinking sucks.
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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2011, 10:05:11 pm »
Well, every time I suggest  a book with good fundamentals that covers the math, it goes over like a lead balloon. Admittedly with LTSpice and Excel one can accomplish a lot, but electronics really should be a math-heavy discipline.
I think what people like about AoE is that it covers the practical side that most EE texts lack, like what capacitor to pick (or at least which one you would pick twenty years ago). It goes much deeper than most beginner level texts. For example, someone recently referred to this text. It explains the transistor as a current amplifier and how to drive it (almost) in saturation, that's it. You won't understand how to build a current source (do you need another current source to feed it a constant base current?). AoE goes much deeper and shows all kind of applications to confuse and scare all beginners ;). Someone who has read AoE at least won't be completely out of touch with reality. But I agree that for people wanting to get farther into electronics, a more college level text with some proper math is a good read. I think the first chapter is probably the worst offender, going at a very high pace through all the passive circuit and miscellaneous stuff (plus diodes and power supplies) and give a bunch of practical tips in between.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2011, 12:15:33 am »
Ah, the Generation Arduino at work. No Math please, we are hip, and nothing that requires thinking because thinking sucks.

Well said,Oh great & grumpy one! ;D

VK6ZGO
 

Offline urbanwriter

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2011, 02:13:30 am »
Well, if 'electronics' should be a math-heavy discipline, why not say the same for people aspiring to be machinists? Let's see; geometry, trigonometry, algebra, arguably calculus and I'm sure I've missed strength of materials, metallurgy, machine design, optimization of design as well as dozens of other areas of study. Why, if you take the 'math heavy' requirement far enough no would ever have to plug anything in, or turn anything on, because they'd be studying the math that describes in intimate detail the physics of those operations. I'm amazed that given the dearth of math (me in particular, trust me) that anyone can do so much as drill a hole, let alone string a bunch of components together and still have the LEDs (plural, because in this case it is not driven by an Arduino) blink.

I will suggest that 'math heavy' may be appropriate if you're engineering for money - but then so is accounting, as a financial practice, for the absolute lowest cost for a given level of performance.

Part of the trouble is audience; I once got as far as LCR circuits in technical school, and that's when I bailed. Now, I'm coming back to electronics as a hobby, and trying to get 'enough' math to avoid the magic smoke. But I'm finding it difficult to find circuits (and the related math) that work together - in the way let's say that Dave's piece on heatsinks did - to tie math theory to the real world of smoking components. Sometimes the math/component/circuit problem is easy to arrange. Think of some number of resistors. Measure those resistors as accurately as you can. Now wire them in series. Now measure the voltage across the entire string of resistors. Now calculate the current. And now, just to live dangerously, splice your ammeter in to the circuit. How close is the measured current to the calculated current? Now that wasn't so hard was it.

OK. Now try to explain (calculus I suppose, but I'm only guessing, and with trepidation) what my scope is showing me when I look at the emitter in an oscillator circuit, that only has to drive a few LEDs. I suppose that for some people the mathematical representations that describe the rise, fall, and ringing that are all very evident on the scope don't need the scope. Those people might actually enjoy math, as a good friend of mine does, irrespective of its impenetrability for some of us.

And before I go back to smoking transistors. It is interesting to listen to people curse out (politely of course) all the applications where Arduinos (for example) have been used - too much complexity, too much wasted capability, 'why in my day,' - and even from my vantage point I often agree. But most of what most of us do with electronics as a hobby could just be purchased. A simpler, more elegant, and often more efficient in terms of cost/benefit analysis way to blink an LED. But should we just buy it?

Hopefully no one reads this as anything but a request for bestowing me with a more mathematical bent, or schematics that actually include test points, voltages, waveforms (heaven forbid anyone should duplicate Heathkit of days gone by) for troubleshooting. Or, indeed, something one or two steps higher in the pedagogical firmament than 'Make: Electronics.'

From Canada's rainy Pacific South-West, your math-disabled correspondent.  :)
 
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Offline amspire

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2011, 03:38:36 am »
A lot of the calculations we do are rough calculations and are probably no more complex then calculations about money.

Lots of people claim they are terrible at mathematics, but give them an hour to spend $500 and all of a sudden they are mathematical geniuses.

It is all about getting a familiarity with the way devices work so that the rough estimates of the component values you need are as easy as budgeting to buy presents for Christmas. In fact I think Christmas shopping is way more complex.

If you have a divider chain of resistors for example, you know the current through each resistor has to be the same so you don't even bother to calculate it. The voltage across each resistor will just be proportional to the resistor value.

If you have a transistor in linear mode, you start off saying to yourself that the base-emitter voltage has to be about 0.6V and the base current will be 100 or more times lower then the collector current.  Just from those two facts, you can design a transistor amplifier that will work successfully. You can usually work out how a transistor circuit you are looking at will work. No need to touch databooks, or find equations for the behavior of a transistor.

At minimum you have to understand Ohms law, but is that hard?  Most people probably understand that buying 1kG of beans for $5 is more economical to buying ten 100gram packs for $1. If you swap resistance for the unit price, current for the quantity and voltage for the total price, then Ohm's Law is exactly the same calculation. The only problem left is getting the same familiarity to the components that you do to money and shopping.

If I wanted to buy 10 cans of paint at $20 each, and I said I couldn't remember if I should multiply $20 by 10 or divide $20 by 10 to get the total price, you would look at me as if I was an idiot.  You didn't even need a formula to work it out - it just seems totally obvious.

Well with familiarity, you will know you have to multiply resistance by current to get the voltage - it is just obvious. Anything else doesn't make sense.

So if you are pretty good at handling money, then you are definitely capable of understanding entry level electronics design.

Richard.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011, 03:49:36 am by amspire »
 
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Offline gregariz

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2011, 05:56:45 pm »
Well, if 'electronics' should be a math-heavy discipline, why not say the same for people aspiring to be machinists?

Hopefully no one reads this as anything but a request for bestowing me with a more mathematical bent, or schematics that actually include test points, voltages, waveforms (heaven forbid anyone should duplicate Heathkit of days gone by) for troubleshooting. Or, indeed, something one or two steps higher in the pedagogical firmament than 'Make: Electronics.'

From Canada's rainy Pacific South-West, your math-disabled correspondent.  :)

Sometimes I think one could get confused as to what current 'engineering is' or why you should subject yourself to sitting in a college math class.

My take is simple. That is, plainly, I can't get a job worth having (ie pays) that involves playing with test equipment, fidling with discrete transistor amplifiers, programming an Arduino or even laying out a PCB.

So what pays? Well in my current job we design software defined radio's that crunch digital satellite signals 30 channels wide all ripping into an Arm 11 at 55MHz. In order to do this we need to design our own Analog RF Asic's and a custom DSP Asic's. We are a team of about 8 people. We also had to write the decoding algorithms from scratch. - Yes there is alot of math in it.

In my first job I was hired to write mathematical algorithms to synthesize field patterns - again alot of math.

So these are the types of technologies that keep tech businesses in decent curry these days.

Now you can find 'design jobs' that don't include math and involve an 8 bit pic or similiar but these are probably less interesting, less well paid and probably less long lasting as well. The 'easy' no math stuff has been commoditised.
 

Offline Wim_L

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2011, 01:36:05 pm »
Probably the same phenomenon at work as when Feynman's lectures are recommended as good introductions to physics. They do cover introductory physics very well indeed --- For someone who already knows introductory physics.

As a true first encounter with the material, they're not quite as good. Introductory books are hard to compare anyway... By the time you get to the second one, you're not a beginner anymore and may miss things that would be stumbling blocks for a true beginner.


The value of AoE lies mostly in being different from the majority. There's no lack of textbooks that will teach you the equations. Real schematics, with real components, and advice on, say, which type of capacitor to use in what situation is somewhat less common in introductory texts.

One that might be good is "A Practical Introduction to Electronic Circuits" by Martin Hartley Jones. A bit smaller and more approachable, covers far less than AoE, but still with real components and recommendations to build and test the circuits presented.
 

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2011, 01:59:25 pm »
We are a team of about 8 people.

Gregariz, I would be grateful if you could share how big is the company and how exactly your team fits in the organisation.
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2011, 02:23:06 pm »
I mentioned "Practical electronics for inventors by Paul Scherz" earlier in this thread.  I have the Art of electronics also. Practical electronics for inventors is hands down a better book for a all encompassing view of electronics and electrical.  I think the title scares people away in that it would not be technical enough. This book combines 260 pages of in depth theory (which he tells you can be ignored if you want to) with an additional 674 pages of extremely practical electronics. It is presented in a style that is very accessible with lots of graphic support.  I have attached two example pages of component identification and tolerance and the table of contents.  Remaining pages will be on next post.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 02:37:14 pm by robrenz »
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2011, 02:41:07 pm »
Remaining table of content pages

alm

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2011, 05:33:56 pm »
It seems that the second edition of Practical electronics for inventors was significantly expanded compared to the first edition, since that was only about 600 pages. From a quick glance, the chapter on passive circuits appears to be more extensive than AoE, but the transistor circuit covers less ground. I didn't find a mention of the exponential relation between the VBE and IB (Ebers-Moll), and it also spends less time about how hFE is not a very stable parameter. Without these facts, it's hard to understand correct biasing and amplifier distortion, although it does mention re. Maybe it's fixed in the second edition, I don't have access to it. Would this topic have been answered after reading that book, especially the later questions?
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2011, 06:09:59 pm »
We are a team of about 8 people.
Gregariz, I would be grateful if you could share how big is the company and how exactly your team fits in the organisation.

The company is now around 250 people, alot of them sales spread around the world. Engineering is clearly split in two - R&D and Applications. We are probably getting a bit big now - as a general rule I have come to believe you really want to be in the smaller ones (although probably not too small unless its yours). Not sure what I will do after this - might try my own for a bit.
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2011, 06:13:18 pm »
It seems that the second edition of Practical electronics for inventors was significantly expanded compared to the first edition, since that was only about 600 pages. From a quick glance, the chapter on passive circuits appears to be more extensive than AoE, but the transistor circuit covers less ground. I didn't find a mention of the exponential relation between the VBE and IB (Ebers-Moll), and it also spends less time about how hFE is not a very stable parameter. Without these facts, it's hard to understand correct biasing and amplifier distortion, although it does mention re. Maybe it's fixed in the second edition, I don't have access to it. Would this topic have been answered after reading that book, especially the later questions?

The Art of electronics is definitely more in depth in transistor theory and many other areas.  It is a great book and much more useful to the more experienced.  It would cover that topic in much more detail than Practical electronics for inventors.  but it also does not cover a huge amount of information that an entry level person needs to know.  I am not bashing The Art of electronics, everyone serious about electronics should have it also.

My point is that this topic is "entry-level recommendation" and in my opinion Practical electronics for inventors covers everything a beginner would need to be aware of in one book.  As an example: 240/110house wiring what does common and hot mean, earth ground ?  what does that have to do with working on AC powered equipment.  What do these components look like?  what do the colors and numbers mean?  what type of capacitor or resistor etc. should I use for this situation and why?

PS. I am far from entry level but I am also very far from experienced, so maybe that is why I think Practical electronics for inventors is so essential.

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2011, 07:09:12 pm »
One book that definiteley deserves a palce here is

Fundamentals of Analog Circuits
Thomas L. Floyd
David Buchla

http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Analog-Circuits-Thomas-Floyd/dp/0130606197

Before reading this book I was quite miserable at electronics. I used to look at schematics rarely recognizing anything except the most rudimentary. When reading the texts I carefully skipped the maths bits always ending up only with the most superficial and anecdotal out of it.

Fundamentals of Analog Circuits lets you penetrate the topic with nice explanations and graphics like any good book but the difference is that it lets you get a grip of the maths too. It assumes very little in terms of math background and works step by step until building a good picture of the topic. The transistor topc attached below is a good example.

Very highly recommended to anybody who wants to go past "noob" in electronics.


 

Alex

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2011, 08:05:09 pm »
We are a team of about 8 people.
Gregariz, I would be grateful if you could share how big is the company and how exactly your team fits in the organisation.

The company is now around 250 people, alot of them sales spread around the world. Engineering is clearly split in two - R&D and Applications. We are probably getting a bit big now - as a general rule I have come to believe you really want to be in the smaller ones (although probably not too small unless its yours). Not sure what I will do after this - might try my own for a bit.

Thanks gregariz, useful. Good luck with any ventures.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2011, 10:58:58 pm »
This is a pretty well written book with curious flaws.  It does have appeal given the quality of writing and clarity [ once the errors are corrected see below], at a hobbyist price range, compared to AoE.   I reserve judgment since I know AoE well enough to know it covers enough to get a good analog design together, and don't know the same for Practical.

Its popular enough that warez folks pirated the whole text as free downloads, I won't link them here but any search engine and some hutzpah can locate the numerous sources to Edition 1.

http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Electronics-Inventors-Paul-Scherz/dp/0071452818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321996921&sr=8-1

Besides errata as in Edition 1, there is no mention of parasitics, or its implications:

http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/physics/ph235/errata.pdf




I mentioned "Practical electronics for inventors by Paul Scherz" earlier in this thread.  I have the Art of electronics also. Practical electronics for inventors is hands down a better book for a all encompassing view of electronics and electrical.  I think the title scares people away in that it would not be technical enough. This book combines 260 pages of in depth theory (which he tells you can be ignored if you want to) with an additional 674 pages of extremely practical electronics. It is presented in a style that is very accessible with lots of graphic support.  I have attached two example pages of component identification and tolerance and the table of contents.  Remaining pages will be on next post.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline slateraptor

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2011, 11:08:19 pm »
I reserve judgment since I know AoE well enough to know it covers enough to get a good analog design together...

I think this statement should be qualified with, "...if you have a formal background on the relevant subject matter and looking for a refresher." Otherwise, AoE is painfully incomplete.
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2011, 11:50:00 pm »
Thanks saturation for the errata link. I did notice a lot of the errors but I still think for US$24.00 it cant be beat for a beginners all around text.  It does not replace AoE.

Offline ivan747

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2011, 12:08:12 am »
Are books ussually filled with so many errors like that?  ??? I'm not buying that book if there are errors every 4 pages.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2011, 11:14:56 am »
Yes, but readers need to find a book that meets their knowledge need and if they find Art jumps around too much, they should get another book to supplement the gaps, no sense reading something too terse that hampers further progress. 

Art was originally intended for college lab, including non-EE majors, and it evolved into an EE text shows how EE has changed. 




I reserve judgment since I know AoE well enough to know it covers enough to get a good analog design together...

I think this statement should be qualified with, "...if you have a formal background on the relevant subject matter and looking for a refresher." Otherwise, AoE is painfully incomplete.
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Offline Ellis64

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2011, 11:45:26 pm »
I reserve judgment since I know AoE well enough to know it covers enough to get a good analog design together...

I think this statement should be qualified with, "...if you have a formal background on the relevant subject matter and looking for a refresher." Otherwise, AoE is painfully incomplete.

Of course it is incomplete if somebody wants to have a job in a project with high tech & complex algorithms and this project needs RF expertice to design high end RF ASICS. In my opinion there is knowledge chain that should be kept in order. Mathematics then electrical engineering then electronics engineering then optionally  embedded electronics or power electronics either RF specialty. Sometimes enthusiasts in electrical and/or electronics engineering disturb this order.  But indeed mathematics in my mind is a signal that drives a circuit of power electronics.  As the signal becomes larger, more torque is achievable in your machinery. More maths the higher you can go. The book is very good if a maths threshold is already achieved and at least the basics in electrical engineering are known. Then the book will be indeed a good introduction in electronics.
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Offline slateraptor

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2011, 01:16:48 am »
As the signal becomes larger, more torque is achievable in your machinery.

Yeah...sure. ???
 

Offline ee851

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2011, 07:00:12 pm »
Before studying electronics at university, I found Forrest Mims'
notebooks on electronics more helpful and practical to learn the fundamentals of electronics devices and how they work together.   So I'd suggest his notebooks as  "recipe books" for electronics circuits.
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2011, 04:00:53 am »
Why is it that math seems to be the only thing on this planet that society has given its blessings to suck at? Food for thought.

Because, years ago, there was a study that found a SLIGHT difference in brain halves in people.  And the finding was blown out of proportion into "There are right-brained people and there are left-brained people....There are people good at math and people not good at math."
 

Offline stoica adrian

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2015, 06:32:18 pm »
The chapter 1 from the AoE is not full of information, in my opinion you need a more solid book, like practical electronics fore inventors . The rest of chapter from the AoE are fully what you need. At the same time i recommend using the book with student book for learning the AoE.
 

Offline Rupunzell

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2015, 02:01:45 am »
Entry level books depends on specific interest. Today, there are choice between software, hardware, analog stuff, robotics and much more.

IMO, the place to start is basic science & math. Physics, Chemistry, Math, Bio sciences, earth sciences, and.. Add to this the humanities, literature, music, history. It all makes a difference.

As for books. Suggest Ron Quan's Electronics from the Ground Up.
http://www.amazon.com/Electronics-Ground-Up-Designing-Inventing/dp/0071837280/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447033391&sr=1-1&refinements=p_27%3ARonald+Quan

Ron's first book on radios is also good, for those who are interested in this kind of stuff:
http://www.amazon.com/Build-Your-Transistor-Radios-High-Performance/dp/0071799702/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447033391&sr=1-2&refinements=p_27%3ARonald+Quan

There are many many application notes published over the decades by National Semi, Linear Technology, Signetics, Burr Brown, Analog Devices, Siliconix, International Rectifier, Maxim, Ti and .... These can server as useful learning tools.

For test and instrumentation, numerous application notes and more were published by hewlett-packard, Tektronix and others.
Instrumentation service manuals from about 1950 to the late 1990's often have a theory of operation and detailed schematics that can also serve as excellent learning and teaching tools.

All can serve as a knowledge base for those just beginning or those who has a life's passion in electronics and related science and technology.


Bernice




So I was in the middle of having lunch when my mind arbitrarily started to think about why anyone would recommend "The Art of Electronics" as a great starting point for someone with interest but little to no formal background on the subject. There are seemingly countless recommendations swearing by this book, but sometimes I have to question whether these people have actually read it. ???

Take, for example, the section in chapter 1 on Thevenin equivalence, summarily encapsulated on a single page as "Easy!" with Norton equivalent "incidentally" mentioned as an aside. Then right into a short description of specialty Zener and tunnel diodes. Then waveforms. Then the time-domain sol'n to an RC circuit. Then a discussion on impedance whilst brushing off Fourier analysis as "seldom necessary". Really? ??? I mean this is just chapter 1 and it's already all over the place!

Flipping to an arbitrary page: 276 on state-variable filters, a whooping 2 paragraphs written like an advertisement for National and Burr-Brown; shimmy to the index and you'll discover that the only other mention of state-variables is on pg 295: another Burr-Brown advertisement. Flip two pages to Figure 5.24, which I instantly recognized as the topology of a synthetic inductor; with a single paragraph, no derivation, and not even so much as a precaution on its limitations, I couldn't help but wonder how many hobbyists over the years have blown up their circuits attempting to use this guy as a replacement for an inductor in a power circuit.

The structure and contents of the book makes sense after a brief glance through the bibliography section: the majority of references were handbooks. If the book weren't so bulky (and expensive), it would make a great shitter reader for a seasoned engineer. But as a point of entry, I'd be surprised if anyone without a formal background was able to walking away from this book with anything deeper than exposure to the lingo, if you will.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 02:36:25 am by Rupunzell »
 

Offline DimitriP

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2015, 03:43:57 am »
Quote
So I was in the middle of having lunch when my mind arbitrarily started to think about why anyone would recommend "The Art of Electronics" as a great starting point for someone with interest but little to no formal background on the subject.

The Preface pretty much explains why/how the book came to be.
You seem to think they've done a lousy job. Some agree with you.
Others don't.
Now, lets' go on with our lives and have fun with something ... as long as it doesn't involve DMMs, probes or the best of something...  :)


 
   If three 100  Ohm resistors are connected in parallel, and in series with a 200 Ohm resistor, how many resistors do you have? 
 

Offline RLSprouse

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2016, 03:24:31 pm »
I have both the second and third editions of AoE, and I have found them to be too heavy for my knowledge level.

I just received my copy of Learning the Art of Electronics, and so far I am liking it a lot better than AoE itself. It seems a bit more down to earth and friendly in style, and I like that it is structured as a course in electronics, with 25 "sessions" that incorporate class notes and laboratory work. I really like building stuff in order to learn, so the "lab" stuff is very welcome.

I'm wondering what others think of this book, and I would love to find a forum of some kind to discuss it with other people who are working through it.
 

Offline ArdRhi

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2016, 02:22:01 am »
I have AoE and LAoE, the most current editions as well as Practical Electronics for Inventors and a few others. I've dunked my toes in several online tutorials and courses as well, and am doing my damndest not to be daunted by it all.

I'm not entirely new to electronics...I've dabbled in it for decades. But math is not my strongest subject, and I'm getting a tad on in years and that just makes it harder. I don't want to resort to calculators and spreadsheets, though, I want to UNDERSTAND it. Maybe I'll just haul out one of my slipsticks and use that. (I collect 'em.) Perhaps the Pickett N515-T or the K&E Cooke's Radio? Any slipstick will do, but those have some specialized electronics scales on 'em. At least with a slide rule you need to understand the concept of the math, even if you have trouble tossing the numbers about. The rule doesn't solve the problem, just the calculations. You still have to know how to solve the problem.

So maybe MATH isn't my issue, and maybe it's not most peoples' issue. Maybe it's calculating that causes people to go into a cold sweat? If I understand the problem, then it's just doing the calculation that's daunting.

I'm not a complete beginner -- I passed my Extra-class amateur exam fine -- but knowing how to build something or use something is different from knowing how to design something, or how something works. I've been able to do the former for a long time. Now I want to know the latter. I've got time; I'm taking it slowly, step by step, and plan to study laterally as well as sequentially. If one book doesn't explain something well enough for me to "get" it, I'll try another, and another, and ask questions, until I DO understand it.

So far, I'm liking AoE and LAoE. The only thing I have difficulty with so far is how much the @%@$!# things WEIGH!

--Gwen
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Offline fbublikov

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2017, 08:20:54 am »
-!Rambling warning!- Maybe it's a bit ironic that my first ever post on the forum dedicated to electronics enthusiasts is about this book. Needless to say, I do have some history with it. I'll try not to ramble too much. My father was a huge electronics buff and as a kid I was always near watching completely amazed how he armed with the soldering iron assembled something awesome out of those insect-reminding weird little bits and pieces. It was not very long before I've got my first electronics-related injury - grabbed the wrong end of soldering iron, which my father left on his workbench to cool off :) . So, my heart was at the right place when I (as a middle-schooler) found the old (Russian-translated) 2-volume edition of this book in my father's technical library. How bad can it be? The translated title was "The Art of Schematics". Unfortunately, I have not got very far. The style was deceptively welcoming and the mathematics was very simple (or non-existent), but I could not follow the essence of it. Long story short - I've dropped the book and my dream to learn some electronics for many years. On the good side, years and one really bad CS degree later, my interest in electronics woke up again. I've started to gather relevant books and any practical information I could find online on how to get my dream going. Ans yes, I saw this book recommended as an entry point in electronics many times, on different forums (on Russian-speaking forums old 2-volume set of translated AoA was still strong). I've got the 3rd edition and a "hands-on" lab course and pleasantly found New York lights problem in the first chapter unchanged.
Language was still very welcoming, but, unfortunately, good points end here. Mathematics was skipped completely, answers to problems were nowhere to be found (and I was naively thinking that abysmal tradition of including only even or odd answers to the problems in US textbooks was bad enough) and even the first chapter was, as one of the members already mentioned "all over the place". So, ironically, the story repeated, only this time I've made even less progress and put the book aside. Again :) . However, not all the hope was lost and eventually I did understood where the catch was. When newbies ask their dreaded question: "What is an entry-level book on electronics?", they get an honest answer, but do not realize one thing - Electronics is NOT and entry-level subject in Electrical Engineering curriculum and for a good reason. It's still an entry-level book (so the answers I've got were 100% honest), but you have to pass Physics 1-2, Calculus 1-2, Differential Equations, infamously brutal Circuit Analysis and universally dreaded Signals and Systems before attempting to crack open anything related to the subject of "electronics" (with the good-old exponential-response formulas, small signal black magic, inverse Laplace Transforms, and other terrible therms I have zero understanding of, were behind your belt already :) ). Summing up what was said, do I think that AoE is a good book for the complete newbie like me? No, it is not. Is this a good textbook in general? No, I honestly don't think so, at least not now. My main gripe would be mathematics - I personally love it and don't think it should be shoved aside for the favor of what the authors call "intuition". Will I read the book eventually? Yes, due to my personal history. But I will not dare to crack it open before I will get through some of good-old Boylestad, Scherz, Millman, Tietze/Schenk and hopefully Serda/Smith. Yes, I do have a lot of books I never read, I'm ashamed of that and doing my best to remedy this. Apologies for the ramblings. I did not meant to upset anyone. All the best to the newbies (like myself  :) )
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2017, 02:10:24 am »
That is a lot of thoughts crammed into one big paragraph!

You could be over-complicating all this.

There are two different approached to learning Electronics that have two different goals.

There is the University-type courses that give you a broad exposure to a wide range of fundamental skills and concepts - many that are very hard to comprehend by learning on your own. You finish the course with little practical ability. You may know nothing about designing a printed circuit board, or the components available in the market, or how to debug and repair anything. However, in a job, you can learn all this practical stuff, and when combined with your University knowledge, it can be a powerful combination. The University courses usually needs books where chapters form a broad and coherent path as you will often work through the book from the start to the end.

Hobbyist-type learning is often much more practical. You want to build a DC op-amp circuit. You do not want to learn anything but the basics of the opamp as quickly as possible. You will pull out a book like Art of Electronics and look for a chapter on opamps. You do not want references to complex theories in other chapters - you just want simple practical descriptions and equations all in the one place. You do not care what the previous chapter was about or the next chapter. You may then want to do something more practical with your knowledge so you buy an Arduino and learn how to program that. Again, you do not want to learn the theory of programming, you want to know how to read the voltage on Pin 5 and then put the reading on a LCD display. You find a book or webpage or video tutorial that says as briefly as possible how to do this. If the information you need is on one page - perfect! You do not need to read anything else.

Work as an Electronics designer or engineer often requires a bit of both approaches, but it probably looks more like the hobbyist-type of learning then the University-type. The thing the University graduates have is they at least will understand the concepts of differentiation, integration, transformations, Laws of Physics, etc when confronted with them. They are hopefully not scared of the ideas and know that if needed, they can master the ideas to the extent that a job requires. It can be very hard for the non-graduate to do this without the 3 to 4 years of training the graduates have.

Back to the workplace, most engineers probably hardly touch most of the theoretical knowledge from their University course during most of their working life other then things like physical fundamentals and reasonably basic mathematics. The reason is that it a waste of time to solve complex problems that many others have solved before you. If you need to design a 7th order Chebychev filter, you can spend a week or two with your fundamental polynomial equations, do the transformations for frequency and passband ripple, solving complex linear equations to convert the polynomial expansion coefficients to component parts for a circuit, and do complex differential computation to work out the effect of component variation, and then work to find a solution that works with standard part values. Or you can use a filter design workbench program and test it in Spice. You might be finished by lunchtime on the first day with error-free results and without touching a single equation.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2017, 03:35:55 am »
Really excellent post amspire.   What you say definitely rings true for me - in particular the contrast between university education and hobbyiest/technician practical education and the pros and cons of both.

I've experienced this same phenomenon in my non-electronics education and teaching experience.  For example, as a graduate student learning electrophysiology, I did not really grasp at the time why I had to learn how to derive the Nernst and Goldman equations from the chemistry and physics first principles.  Later - as a teacher of physiology and neurobiology I understood.  Those kind of university education exercises serve to demystify the tools that will later be used in practice - allowing their use without fear or apprehension.  And learning the first principles of any field from the ground up serve a useful purpose later when someone wants to both feel completely comfortable with the more practical applications. They also allow one to more easily expand beyond the current art and practice of the field if one is so inclined.   

BUT - that kind of ground up education comes at a price:  It is a slow slog - it takes a lot of time and effort - and can cause one to " lose the forest for the trees" - resulting in loss of motivation and interest if the end goal is not kept in sight.  For these reasons I think that that approach works best for young and eager university students.

I'm now finding myself struggling with this dichotomy as I self teach myself electronics.  Because of my background, I've been inclined take the university learning approach - using books and online courses to reproduce a typical EE education and progression.  I'm finding this just too slow a slog - both because my time is limited due to family and job obligations and perhaps because I'm just too old to slog through things that, while I understand their ultimate utility, I do not enjoy and which will be unlikely to help me much in my hobbyist level projects.

So thank you for your post - It's a good reminder to me that I just need to focus on projects and building things and learning the necessary things along the way.  And TAoE serves as an excellent resource for that kind of approach.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2017, 05:29:31 am »
I love AofE, but it is best regarded as an Encyclopedia Britannica Electronica.  The field is so broad, that no one tome can possibly address it all in detail. But AofE is an awesome tool nonetheless. 
 

Online bd139

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2017, 08:22:47 am »
AoE is fine. You need a path for the pilgrimage however rather than "sit and read". Student manual / Lab manual that goes with it is the path. Start with that.

For the sake of economy I'd probably do the first edition "Laboratory Manual" and top up the knowledge later on with stuff from 3rd edition. The 2nd and 3rd edition student manuals are a little schizophrenic and expensive to execute from what I've seen and the parts requirements border on unobtainable (weird 74ls, current diodes, custom expensive keyboards etc)
 

Offline Mattjd

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Re: Concerning "The Art of Electronics" as an entry-level recommendation
« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2017, 03:27:22 pm »
AoE is definitely sparse in its individual explanations. It covers a ton, but each section is extremely short. I wouldn't say its a beginner text. Glancing through the PDF, it looks to me like a book that would require a lot of "electronics maturity". What I mean is that you have to be able to fill in all the gaps yourself, much like a math text book that requires a lot of "mathematical maturity" where a lot of steps are omitted and left up to reader to fill in. If anyone has read a Real Analysis text such as Rudin or calculus text as Spivak, you know what I am talking about.
 


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