Electronic Books

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
cconn86031
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Electronic Books

Post by cconn86031 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:52 pm

I am new to electronics and would like any reccomendations on what books would be a good start on learning electronics or perhaps online courses. I have a degree in electrical engineering , but it was in control theory and not electronics. Also I got my degree in 1980 so everything has changed. Any help would be appreciated.

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Bob Scott
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by Bob Scott » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:51 am

cconn86031 wrote:I am new to electronics and would like any reccomendations on what books would be a good start on learning electronics or perhaps online courses. I have a degree in electrical engineering , but it was in control theory and not electronics. Also I got my degree in 1980 so everything has changed. Any help would be appreciated.
That is interesting and a bit puzzling, cconn86031. I'm sure everyone is a little taken aback by your question about "starting" to learn about electronics. Where would an EE start? An EE should be finished, if not well on his way. Which University did you get your EE degree from? Which courses did you take?
-=VA7KOR=- My solar system includes Pluto.

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haklesup
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by haklesup » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:30 am

I'm sure you must have gotten basic electronics theory like ohms law, power equasions, thevinin and nortin and all that good stuff but I can also see forgetting all that in 30 years if you didn't use it. (To those who never went to school for engineering, it can seem like one really long calculus course, nothing at all like a technicians course in a trade school, except for a few lab classes here and there. Even 20 years ago, little was taught about IC chips beyond some op amps and a basic uProcessor like the 68000, I can imagine 30 years ago, being just [LRC] networks and transistors and a lot of theory)

Are you interested in converting between equasions and circuits (as an engineer would do) or in generally dabbling in digital circuitry which doesn't necessarily require much computation. In other words, would you jump into Digital or Analog or do you want a thorough education and most importantly, do you have money and time to take any courses.

You could go to your local university and find out what text books they are using on the basic Sophomore year courses and use those or you could go out and get a typical book of projects and imitate those until you get it. Many hobbiests just jump in with a project and figure out how to do it. In your position, I might focus on PICs, uControllers, high level DSPs, PLCs and some software since there is a real lot of practical projects you can do with those skills.

Have you looked at the bookstore on this forum's website. Really, there are so many starting places it kind of depends on what you already know and what you are interested in in particular.

cconn86031
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by cconn86031 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:25 am

You are right about the 30 years. When I went to college (University of Mo.-Rolla ) we were required to use slide rules , I believe the first HP calculator had just came out. I still have my slide rule by the way. I stayed in engineering for about 10 years and then went into bussiness with my brothers not engineering. As you mentioned it was pretty much all theory and math, calculus, linear algebra, differential equations etc. and very little lab work if any. About all I remember is the basics like Ohms law and a little about analog circuits. Anyway I have now become interested in electronics for a hobby. I do have enough money to take courses but I don't have time to go to a tech school or college. I would like something online or good books I could learn from. I am interested in everything digital and analog. I bought a couple of books from Amazon but was wondering if anyone had any favorites. What about the Heathkit training courses? Thanks.

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haklesup
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by haklesup » Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:53 pm

Heathkit, what's that? Just kidding, they went away about the same time buttons appeared on TVs and the TRS-80 desktop computer was state of the art.

Most electronics books are all about projects. They may teach some basic electronics in the first 1 or 2 chapters but not very good for an in depth education. I would look for one basic electronics text book with all the basics of Analog theory, from resistor networks to transistors and op amps DC and AC analysis. That will prepare you with fundimentals. I would also look for a basic Digital text book to learn boolean algebra and how to turn those equasions into logic diagrams. Next I would choose a line of uController or PIC that looks like it has enough features to cover the majority of projects you might be interested in. USe that and its acompanying data sheets and online examples and programming interface to do a few basic things like make LEDs flash or drive a LCD display. From there you're off and running. I know some forum members are quite good with these devices.

All my favorite books are quite old and I don't even know if they are in print anymore. I don't have a specific title in mind

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MrAl
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by MrAl » Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:08 pm

Hello there,


First off, welcome to the forum.

I see you are turning to electronics as a hobby now, as many of us i think have.
The theory though is never a waste of time and can be used to produce designs
that are much, much better than cut and hack and trial and error so dont drop
all of your background theory.

I worked quite a bit in control theory too, but it's been a long time since i used a lot
of it too. Perhaps you can refresh me on how to calculate the controllability gramian.
In the mean time, i guess you want to learn about the actual parts available
to build circuits with and stuff like that? Or, do you already have some parts at
home that you have experimented with?
Any transistors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, etc., on hand?

Good luck with your new hobby.
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

psycho
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by psycho » Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:28 pm

I have never had any formal training in electronics except for a class in high school - which was nothing more than "party time" for most of us - shocking each other with charged caps :shock:

My dad has been in electronics and mainly two-way radio for decades. Sometimes I do call him with questions but he knows nothing about digital electronics - and he doesn't want to.

I learned mostly by reading online. Wikipedia is a GREAT tool. Also, the forums (this is the only one I go to every day). The amount of information online is staggering. I have a few books that I use but I rely more on the internet than anything else.

With that all said, I am not very good with analog electronics. Most of my projects don't require alot of analog circuitry. When they do, I either ask here or scour around the net to find the info I need.

In a way, I wish I would have gone to school for it. But, OTOH, if I was working in the industry, I don't think it would also be a hobby - I don't think I would want to "bring my work home" so to speak.

If you don't already get it, you might consider a subscription to nuts and volts... There are several good columns in there every month and good Q&A, too. Though, I will admit that it seems to be thinner than in years past (my imagination?).

Hope it helps and welcome to the forums!
Kevin

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Dave Dixon
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by Dave Dixon » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:53 am

One great source is the ARRL Handbook. Of course it specializes in radio and communications, but the first few chapters are great at teaching all of the basics. Don't worry about buying a brand new one either! My handbook is the 1985 edition!!! The basics remain the same though. I haven't seen the newer issues, but would guess they still begin with the basics. Lots of good projects in them as well. Welcome to the forum and the hobbie!

Robert Reed
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by Robert Reed » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:46 am

Dave
You have the last of the good ones (1985) and also has a lot of info on power supplys,low grade audio and test equipment. Anything beyond 1990 has deleted a lot of that good basic info to make room for breif discussions of digital devices.

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Re: Electronic Books

Post by sghioto » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:14 am

cconn86031,
>>Anyway I have now become interested in electronics for a hobby<<

I would recommend: http://www.forrestmims.com/ "Getting Started in Electronics"
This is written by one of our own forum members and a mentor to just about everybody that ever got involved in hobby electronics.

Steve G

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Dave Dixon
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by Dave Dixon » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:15 am

That is nice to know Robert! I just did a search on Fleabay for "ARRL Handbook" and found 68 matches. Earliest issue was 1945!!! Most all of them are at around $10. I don't think our new forum member could go wrong with any one from the early 80's or so. What do you think?
73's de N0QOF
Edit<<<add>>>
Great advice Steve G.

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CeaSaR
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by CeaSaR » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:06 am

The local Radio Shack has Forrest's book on the shelf. Might want to go see if your's does.

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

Robert Reed
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by Robert Reed » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:22 am

Dave
I would agree with that. I recently reviewed a copy of the 2004 manual and was very dissapointed in its content. Although some subjects were extremely well covered, much of the good stuff was deleted. I guess there are just too many bases to cover nowadays and not enough room to dwell on any particular subject. One thing for sure - I'm hanging on to my '85 manual, even my '60 manual still gets a lot of use for certain subjects ( and the reading is really easy in that one)

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sofaspud
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by sofaspud » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:39 pm

I'll second Mims' Getting Started In Electronics and add any and all of his Engineer's Notebook series. These
combine theory of operation with oodles of small circuits you can learn and build from. For textbooks, I'd
recommend one of the "Electronic Circuits" or "Electronic Devices" books by either Floyd or Boylestead. Last
but certainly not least, get a copy of The Art Of Electronics by Horowitz & Hill.
And keep that N&V subscription current!

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haklesup
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Re: Electronic Books

Post by haklesup » Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:10 pm

You might also consider a Simulator so you can test out your designs without actually building it. National Instrumnets MultiSim is very full featured and I think they still have the free demo version that works except for saving and printing. The Academic version has many tutorials and demo circuits and there is a good users forum.
http://www.ni.com/academic/multisim.htm
You should be able to find a copy in a college bookstore or online.

Eventually you will want to build what you design on a PC board. NI also has Ultiboard but the educational version is very limited but Eagle PCB is popular as well as PCB123. You can pick up on that later but it will probably be a skill you'll want to acquire. When you get to that point search the forum, the topic has been covered a few times.

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