All New Electronics Self-Teaching Guide Paperback – May 12 2008
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From the Back Cover
Learn the fundamental principles of electronic circuits at your own pace
For almost 30 years, this book has been a classic text for electronics enthusiasts. Now completely updated for today's technology with easy explanations and presented in a more user-friendly format, this third edition helps you learn the essentials you need to work with electronic circuits. All you need is a general understanding of electronics concepts such as Ohm's law and current flow, and an acquaintance with first-year algebra. This book's question-and-answer format, illustrative experiments, and self-tests at the end of each chapter make it easy for you to learn at your own speed.
Easily master the mathematical calculations that help you to understand the operation of electronic circuits
Review the concepts and equations you need to design basic circuits using direct current and alternating current
Understand the principles of the transistor, a key building block of modern electronics
Calculate the values of currents, voltages, and resistances in circuits that use transistors as switches or amplifiers
Discover methods for filtering electronic signals to reduce noise or enhance the signal
Explore the concepts and equations governing oscillators and power supplies, including step-by-step procedures for designing an oscillator and a power supply circuit
Gain an understanding of the currents, voltages, and principles and calculations that allow you to select components for circuits
About the Author
Earl Boysen is a veteran engineer who maintains two technology-focused Web sites, www.buildinggadgets.com and www.understandingnano.com. He is coauthor of Electronics For Dummies, Electronics Projects For Dummies, and Nanotechnology For Dummies, all published by Wiley. Visit his sites at: www.buildinggadgets.com and www.understandingnano.com
The late Harry Kybett wrote the bestselling first and second editions of Electronics Self-Teaching Guide. He was director of engineering operations at Columbia Pictures Corporation. He built many studios and video systems for the broadcasting industry and created training programs for Sony Corporation of America.
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In case you are wondering (and I know I was), the third edition is actually written by Earl Boysen now since Harry Kybett, having written the first two editions, has passed away.
The Q & A format is one of those things that always seems to be a bit unique in any particular book, and this one is no exception. In the early chapters many of the questions may seem insulting in that they are so easy, and the reader can find themself wondering if the book was written for 8 year old kids! But the real beauty of that approach is that it forces your mind to change modes on a regular basis: instead of staying in a passive info-absorbing mode, it has to stop and become active at solving a problem, which results in better retention. So even if the question seems childish, the information is more firmly impressed on you. In the middle and latter chapters, the Q & A format usually sticks with problem solving, often asking you to repeat the same sort of calculations you have seen in examples. Most of the time the solutions include more than just answers, serving to explain just how the answer was arrived at. But the problems occur with that word "most"! It is also the case that many of the times when we need details, all we get is a numerical answer with no hint as to how it was arrived at. It is even more frustrating when the book's answer appears WRONG no matter how many times you recalculate it.
In addition to the Q & A presentation, the end of each chapter includes review questions along with answers, but no detailed solution. One clear editorial screwup is apparent where Chapter 1 calls this "pre-test" and all other chapters call it "self-test." That's why I say "rush job".
I found myself confused with the authors presentations on occasion and felt it necessary to consult other electronics books. Two I found particularly helpful were "Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics" by Stan Gibilisco, and "Electronics for Inventors" by Paul Scherz. Both of these guys' books are a lot more "wordy" with an emphasis on making electronics undestandable. While this book is supposed to demystify electronics, I have to say I felt mystfied enough to go out and get these other books. Three things Boysen's book were unclear about are: ground line in circuits, which doesn't even show up in the index and is assumed to be something the reader knows beforehand; combining AC and DC in the same circuit (way too brief); and the emitter-follower amplifier - the description was just plain baffling!.
This book does a great job of covering things like amplifiers, resonance, power supplies, along with AC and DC basics, but of course you have to start with fundamentals. Kirchoff's voltage and current laws are covered, but this books stops short of giving you a full complement of circuit analysis tools. It would be much better to have the method of loop currents presented here since without it, readers will be left scratching their heads when they run into many real-world circuits.
Another big plus is the list of internet references that are provided in the book. The author has his own website and you can send him questions about the book; I did that and got a response every time.
The book does have some experiments (five total), but they will require some equipment. At a minimum, you will need a breadboard and two digital multimeters, but normally you will also need an oscilloscope and a signal generator. Two of these experiments are called "optional" and are in the chapter on oscillators. I would not expect anyone to be able to perform those last two experiments simply because sufficient information is not given. The components are not specified and the author basically just suggests that you try to implement what is shown in a circuit diagram rather the providing the details (as he did in the other experiments). I think they are called "optional" because the author opted out! I would have preferred to see more experiments, maybe minimum of one per chapter?, and some alternative way of doing them without the expensive equipment.
The chapter on oscillators is the worst chapter in the book! The only thing you are going to learn from this chapter is the three basic types of oscillators -- the Q&A problems are just impossible and really serve to show how rushed out the book was. Then, at chapter end, the self-test is very superficial, demonstrating that the author knew very little was conveyed. What are the characteristics of oscillators? Not covered. Why would you choose one type over another? Not covered. What are oscillators used for? Not covered.
Unfortunately, the author(s) make the assumption that the reader has a solid grounding in electricity, and has already had passing familiarity with electronics. I bought the book thinking that it might be useful as a teaching tool for those who are studying amateur (ham) radio electronics.
I'll have to keep looking.
Look, to get a book that covers the basics is a waste of time and money and here's why: The basics that this book expects you to know can be learned over the course of a couple of days. We're talking about a couple of very casual hours at MOST.
I am a complete beginner and I bought this book last weekend because my beginners book of choice (Electronics for dummies by the same author) was not available and I wanted to get started right away. Ohms law? No idea. But with a couple of online resources [...]and this book's first chapter (a full review of topics expected as knowledge base complete with review problems and a test), you're through the basics. BAM! that's it.
Get a beginners book and you'll be missing out on all sorts of material. BUY THIS INSTEAD. Do the work, you'll be proud of yourself, you'll go further, you'll be more skilled etc...
By the way I just finished the chapter 2 test on Diodes and though challenged, I am not stumped. This book challenges and engages, just as all of the reviews said it would. It does have it's flaws as in there's a couple of times it has skipped explaining an equation, but nothing that keeps you from moving forward and improving your knowledge-base.
If you're willing to do the work the title of this book implies, then GET IT. I can't recommend it enough.