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Circuitbuilding Do-It-Yourself For Dummies Paperback – Feb 28 2008
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From the Back Cover
Here's the fun and easy way to start building circuits for your projects
Have you ever wanted to build your own electronic device? Put together a thermostat or an in-line fuse, or repair a microphone cable? This is the book for you! Inside you'll find the tools and techniques you need to build circuits, with illustrated, step-by-step directions to help accomplish tasks and complete projects.
As you accomplish the tasks throughout the book, you'll construct many projects while learning the key circuitbuilding principles and techniques. Find out about measuring and testing, maintenance and troubleshooting, cables, connectors, how to test your stuff, and more.
Stuff You Need to Know
The tools you need and how to use them
How to make sense of schematics and printed circuit boards
Basic techniques for creating any circuit
How to make and repair cables and connectors
Testing and maintenance procedures
About the Author
H. Ward Silver has the experience of a 20-year career as an electrical engineer developing instrumentation and medical electronics. He also spent 8 years in broadcasting, both programming and engineering. In 2000 he turned to teaching and writing as a second career. He is a contributing editor to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and author of the popular “Hands-On Radio” column in QST magazine every month. He is the author of the ARRL’s Amateur Radio license study guides and numerous other articles. He developed the ARRL’s online courses, “Antenna Design and Construction,” “Analog Electronics,” and “Digital Electronics.” Along with his comedic alter-ego, Dr Beldar, Ward is a sought-after speaker and lecturer among “hams.” When not in front of a computer screen, you will find Ward working on his mandolin technique and compositions.
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o Are a beginner in electronics looking to learn some skills;
o Want an entry-level text on this topic;
o Are looking for something to interest and motivate students at high school or polytechnic level (eg: TAFE);
o Are running a hobbyist's class.
Electronics is a "technic"; it is as much an art as a science. By that I mean that there are certain skills that you must acquire if you are to be truly competent and these are skills that are not related to the theory or underlying physics. Sadly, there is an increasing tendency for universities and trade schools to teach electronics using computer simulations. In some places it is possible to graduate without ever having built a physical circuit, no matter how simple, and in most universities student projects use solderless breadboards and there is no training in PCB layout and assembly.
This also affects hobbyists. If you are starting out in electronics or ham radio, or you want to hack the hardware of your computer, you need a mentor to teach you techniques such as soldering, taking measurements and trouble-shooting, as well as selecting the right materials and how to store and maintain components and equipment. If you don't know anyone who can help, you can easily become discouraged and give up. This book attempts to fill the gap by providing a visual guide to some basic techniques and knowledge.
The book covers:
o The minimum tools that you will need and basic metalworking
o Software packages
o Reading schematics
o Solderless breadboards (with some simple projects)
o Building from kits using through-hole and surface-mount boards already prepared.
o Prototyping and constructing one-offs from schematics using: Point-to-point wiring, Dead bug style assembly, Paddy board (also called "island" in the UK and "Manhattan" in the US) and wire-wrap - with some simple projects.
o Wiring cables: data, coaxial, audio, delicate assemblies and power (warning: in some places you cannot wire AC mains power unless you are a qualified and licensed electrician).
o Test instruments and measurement techniques.
o Maintaining equipment and trouble shooting - you are not really expert until you know what to do if something goes wrong.
o Maintaining your tools and instruments
o Using batteries effectively
o Interference and noise.
o There are brief chapters on the special issues of marine and automotive electronics.
The book does not cover
o Soldering in sufficient detail, especially how to recover from a badly-soldered board and how to desolder.
o Metalworking in sufficient detail to know how to fit a project into a readily available box.
o Construction using tag-strips, perfboard or "project boards" (those pre-etched boards for general use).
o Designing a printed circuit board from a printed schematic - a serious omission.
o Etching a printed circuit board from a layout in a magazine or book - another serious omission.
o How to wire radio microphone plugs. Broken mic wiring is the most common cause of "my CB/two-way doesn't work" complaints. This can be a nice little earner for the backyard techie and gets you a reputation as the local electronics wizard.
o There is no coverage of 230V 50Hz AC mains power used in most of the world. The power plug wiring covered refers only to US practice which is not compatible with world standards. There is a safety issue here which reflects badly on the publisher. If you offer a book for sale in a global market you cannot allow US-centric parochialism to dictate the content.
o The US-style RJ11 telephone plug is covered and while this plug is widely used throughout the world there are many other types of telephone plugs in use. Warning: never connect telephones that you have repaired or modified to the public switched network or use the network to conduct experiments. Your telco contract and local laws will prohibit this as it can result in shocks or injury to linesmen and damage exchange (US: "central office") equipment.
On the whole, however, this is a valuable book for the beginner.
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