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Thinking process involved when designing analog electronic circuits

S

S Claus

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have been looking for a book that would explain the basic principles
involved in designing electronic circuits (i.e. what a person should
know, how the person should think and so on).

There are many books that seem to explain how analog or digital
components function and as far as the digital ones are concerned, how
to even group them together to create purely digital circuits. But I
have been looking for something that explains the process of placing
analog components together to create an analog circuit.

Does anyone know if "Electronics - Circuits and Systems" by Owen
Bishop is good in this regard, or is there something better?

Thanks in advance
 
Selected items from my bookshelf and web surfing list

Numero Uno Startup book:

Horrowitz and Hill, Art of Electronics


Boylestad , Introductory Circuit Analysis 9th ed or more recent
OP-AMPS -Application,and Troubleshooting, David. L Terrill
Electronic Devices, Floyd

If your looking for "cookBooks":

The 555 timer applications handbook.

If you need a basic book for kids:

Electronic Circuits for the Evil Genius, Cucher
ONLY IF: you do the experiments which need about 18$ of parts.
(The only one of the Evil genius books that is not a joke IMHO)

For systems design:

P. C. D. Hobbs, Building Electro-Optical Systems: Making It All Work

The content is optics dependent, but it gets you in the mindset of a
good systems designer. (and a successful one at that )

For HF/ Low VHF frequency RF, its ham radio specific, but it makes
you think:

Experimental Methods in Radio Frequency Design, Hayward et al.

If you want to ponder why folks do what they do by ruining your eyes
looking at schematics at 10 pm :

Jim Thompson, PE, "SEDs resident curmudgeon"
http://www.analog-innovations.com/ click on SED schematics

This guy comes up with old 1970s ways to do things with 69 cent parts.
http://www.4qdtec.com/


If you can get them surplus some place: , the US Navy NavShips Basic
Electronics I and Basic Electronics II books
They have been replaced by a lame online course call NEET, as the navy
has gone over to depot level card swapping.
Way outdated, but the books make you think about basics applied to
radar and communicatiosn etc.

Steve Roberts
 
A

Andrew Holme

Jan 1, 1970
0
S Claus said:
I have been looking for a book that would explain the basic principles
involved in designing electronic circuits (i.e. what a person should
know, how the person should think and so on).

There are many books that seem to explain how analog or digital
components function and as far as the digital ones are concerned, how
to even group them together to create purely digital circuits. But I
have been looking for something that explains the process of placing
analog components together to create an analog circuit.

Does anyone know if "Electronics - Circuits and Systems" by Owen
Bishop is good in this regard, or is there something better?

Thanks in advance

ARRL and RSGB handbooks and other publications.

"The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill.

"Analog Circuit Design - Art, Science, and Personalities"
Edited by Jim Willians
Published by Butterworth Heinemann
A collection of essays and stories by 22 famous engineers including Jim
Williams, Bob Pease, Barrie Gilbert, Gary Gillette e.t.c.
 
M

Mike Monett

Jan 1, 1970
0
S Claus said:
I have been looking for a book that would explain the basic
principles involved in designing electronic circuits (i.e. what a
person should know, how the person should think and so on).
There are many books that seem to explain how analog or digital
components function and as far as the digital ones are concerned,
how to even group them together to create purely digital circuits.
But I have been looking for something that explains the process of
placing analog components together to create an analog circuit.
Does anyone know if "Electronics - Circuits and Systems" by Owen
Bishop is good in this regard, or is there something better?
Thanks in advance

Besides the many good suggestions from others, the very best way to
learn electronic design is with SPICE. The days of designing with
pencil and vellum are over. And the best spice is free. Get LTspice
and join the Yahoo forum at

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LTspice/

Get all the help files you can find and learn the terminology. Go
through the FILES folder in the forum and try all the examples. Some
may not make much sense in the beginning, but eventually things will
start to gel and come together. When you have learned enough about
spice to enter schematics yourself, do the examples in

http://www.ecircuitcenter.com/index.htm

This will get you up to speed faster than anything else I know.

With spice, you don't have to worry about destroying components due
to a miswire or other mistake. You can make changes and analyze them
much faster than with hardware.

You don't have problems with grounding, crosstalk, bypassing,
ringing, scope probe loading, probe resonance and ringing,
intermittent connections, component variations, bad components, poor
connections, power supply ripple and noise, offsets due to thermal
drift, interference from SCR dimmers and fluorescent lights,
uncalibrated or bad test equipment, and a host of other problems
when trying to implement a circuit in hardware. And the circuit will
work exactly the same way every time, so you don't have to waste
time trying to figure out what changed since the last time you
turned it on.

Learn how a circuit is supposed to work first, then you can diagnose
and solve the other issues much easier.

Spice is so crucial to electronics that I ask prospective engineers
and technicians to bring along their favorite LTspice files for the
interview. If they don't have any, I can't afford to waste time
having them learn it on the job.

Without spice, you will find many people who are highly skilled at
bs in electronics. With spice, there is no faking it. You very
quickly find if they know their stuff or not.

So put most of your effort into learning spice. It will pay handsome
returns later.

Best Wishes

Mike Monett
pstca.com
 
Quote:

QUOTE

quote:

Spice is so crucial to electronics that I ask prospective
engineers
and technicians to bring along their favorite LTspice files for the
interview. If they don't have any, I can't afford to waste time
having them learn it on the job.



Since most of the things I do don't "model" well, I'm curious what
your product line is, ie what product do you make that you can get
away with that and make money?

Pencil and Paper still gets used here for first order approximations,
and will until I can no longer buy pens and paper.

I'll second the recommendation of Analog Circuit Design - Art,
Science, and Personalities, especially the chapter by Richard S.
Burwin on rapid design of filters and control loops.

Steve
 
J

JeffM

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jan said:
Whooaaa!
ftp://panteltje.com/pub/designing_with_pencil_and_paper_1.jpg
Too many changes???

ftp://panteltje.com/pub/designing_with_pencil_and_paper_2.jpg

I was actually thinking where to get an eraser for my pencil
without buying a new pencil.
ftp://panteltje.com/pub/the_pencil.jpg

LOL

....and anyone who falls by alt.binaries.schematics.electronic
at any given point in time
is likely to see something done by Larkin on quadrille paper.
(High-latency Port 80 access via
www.usenet-replayer.com/groups/alt.binaries.schematics.electronic.html
..)
 
J

Jon Kirwan

Jan 1, 1970
0
For those recommending Horowitz and Hill's Art of Electronics (2nd
edition still, I suppose), then I think it is VERY important for
someone reading it to also have the student manual, as well, by Hayes
and Horowitz. It includes many "worked examples" which not only
provide specific calculations but also the sequence (placing which
things go first and which go second, in designing.) For example, they
include for chapter 2 worked examples on a common emitter amplifier
and a differential amplifier (BJT.) Stuff you won't find in the
textbook. For someone trying to learn on their own, invaluable.

Jon
 
J

Jon Kirwan

Jan 1, 1970
0
<snip>
.. the very best way to learn electronic design is with SPICE.
<snip>

If you know what you are doing and looking for, it saves some
calculations and/or bench time. It's pretty nice when you want to
verify what you already feel you understand to a fair degree but where
you want some key facets calculated for you that might take some
calculator time and where you might flub up at some step in the
complex chain. The Spice program will consistently do the same thing
for you, without accidentally moving a decimal point or picking up the
wrong substep worked earlier when moving forward later on.

It's like a good computer language compiler, in that way -- which
consistently produces equivalent code and flawlessly does the required
bookkeeping along the way. But if you don't know why the code was
written the way it was, the compiler isn't going to help you
understand it much better.

Theory is how we give meaning. Without theory, results are noise. So
running the output without having some theory in mind about the input
will only yield "so much noise." So knowing __why__ is important, I
think, when using Spice.

On the other hand, if you do understand _some_ things but are just a
little bit short of understanding enough of them -- then Spice can
yield just enough 'extra noise' in the results to push you towards the
rest of the understanding you may be missing. But what is important
then is that you already have much of it in mind and are close, but
just not yet grasping the fuller picture. Then some various runs in
Spice may force an "Ah, hah!" moment to gel some other theoretical
idea you'd read but hadn't yet put into context. But this doesn't
excuse avoiding studying theory as a prelude to using Spice.

To put what Spice is really, really good at into sharp relief, imagine
starting with learning the basic concepts -- voltage, current, and
resistance -- and Ohm's law. One quickly finds some easy facility
calculating values for DC voltage dividers and various simple
combinations. Then one is faced, someday, with a wye or delta or
wheatstone bridge or something still more complex with various voltage
sources and current sources and not easily yielding to early
knowledge. Facing up to that, one may learn to use Norton and
Thevenin equivalents with some facility and to gain some mastery of
branch current and/or mesh analysis and/or nodal analysis and the use
of matrix methods of simultaneous solutions. And even be able to work
out the right numbers every time. But it remains a bit of a pain,
too, and one wishes for a "solver" so as to avoid repeating the
details over and over, every time someone faces one of these. It's
not that you don't know the theory and it's not that you can't sit
down with paper and pencil and get useful results. It's just that the
details are many and bookkeeping a pain and it's really helpful to
just let some computer program do that part for you so that you can
focus on the larger design issues and not get mired in calculations
that take you away from more important considerations elsewhere. You
get more done in less time. But you still could do it, if you had to.

Spice is really good for that. But I don't see it replacing books on
theory.

Bob Masta nailed the basic idea, I think. One needs to learn how to
recognize blocks, how to design them, and how to adapt them. And even
then, Jan Panteltje's comment, "I only am [still only] familiar with a
subset," is squarely on the mark, too. One will never know every way
someone's knowledge and imagination has already been or might yet be
combined. One can only hope to know some. Experience seems to move
smarter folks from brazen confidence towards modest diffidence, so
that when asked how some designs might be done one will answer that
although they may know a few ways, they are sure many more exist which
were not only as yet unknown but almost unimaginable.

So maybe I'd rephrase your comment to, "a good way to focus more on
learning theory behind electronic design is to use SPICE to free you
of mundane calculations you already know something about while giving
you a few key answers to well-framed, knowledgeable questions."

That's my hobbyist view, anyway.

Jon

P.S.
Also, one thing Spice will NOT do is model reality. Just someone's
simplified model of it. So one still needs a lot of practical
knowledge and experience.
 
N

Nico Coesel

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jan Panteltje said:
There is no book that can replace hands on experience in trying to
design and build electronic circuits.
You could get close with a spice simulator, but only so much.

So:
0) learn basics about electrons.

0a) get some measurement equipment
1) try to build some circuits, start from other people's designs that work.
2) learn basic math to get some idea of magnitudes etc.

In fact, referring to point '0', we know very little about what an electron
really is, not even its size.

Referring to point '0a' it is helpfull to see what electrons do in a
circuit :)
 
N

Nico Coesel

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jon Kirwan said:
If you know what you are doing and looking for, it saves some
calculations and/or bench time. It's pretty nice when you want to
verify what you already feel you understand to a fair degree but where
you want some key facets calculated for you that might take some

So maybe I'd rephrase your comment to, "a good way to focus more on
learning theory behind electronic design is to use SPICE to free you
of mundane calculations you already know something about while giving
you a few key answers to well-framed, knowledgeable questions."

That's my hobbyist view, anyway.

Jon

P.S.
Also, one thing Spice will NOT do is model reality. Just someone's
simplified model of it. So one still needs a lot of practical
knowledge and experience.

IMHO using Spice is a bit of an art in itself. All the components in
Spice are ideal but real components aren't. The question is always: is
the simulation close enough to reality? Sometimes I even reverse the
process to get a simulation that is close to the measured values and
start working for there (Spice is great for investigating effects from
component tolerances).

A very good way of learning how to use spice it building a simple one
stage transistor amplifier while doing the calculations by hand, by
Spice and make measurements in the actual circuit. Then move on to a
more complicated amplifier with feedback and do the same (including
the frequency response!).
 
D

David L. Jones

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have been looking for a book that would explain the basic principles
involved in designing electronic circuits (i.e. what a person should
know, how the person should think and so on).

There are many books that seem to explain how analog or digital
components function and as far as the digital ones are concerned, how
to even group them together to create purely digital circuits. But I
have been looking for something that explains the process of placing
analog components together to create an analog circuit.

Does anyone know if "Electronics - Circuits and Systems" by Owen
Bishop is good in this regard, or is there something better?

Thanks in advance

As others had said, it's all based on practical experience. You can
know all the theory in the world, yet still be a terrible designer.

And you *really* learn electronics when the things you design and/or
build *don't* work and you have to troubleshoot them.
So here's hoping your next project doesn't work and it's a real !@#$%
to troubleshoot!

Dave.
 
K

Ken S. Tucker

Jan 1, 1970
0
Quote:

QUOTE

quote:

Spice is so crucial to electronics that I ask prospective
engineers
and technicians to bring along their favorite LTspice files for the
interview. If they don't have any, I can't afford to waste time
having them learn it on the job.

That's interesting, I've never used Spice, and haven't
had any problems. As someone else mentioned, one
needs to get the Block Diagram specified, and from
there, each block is a familiar doable.
Why would you NEED Spice?
Regards
Ken
 
That's interesting, I've never used Spice, and haven't
had any problems. As someone else mentioned, one
needs to get the Block Diagram specified, and from
there, each block is a familiar doable.
Why would you NEED Spice?
Regards
Ken

Sounds like your resume would go straight into his trashcan :)
 
K

krw

Jan 1, 1970
0
To-Email- said:
[snip]
Also, one thing Spice will NOT do is model reality. Just someone's
simplified model of it.

Ummmmh? IMNSHO, transistor models, particularly MOS devices in an
ASIC, are quite well modeled!

They'd better be or *nothing* works. Since you rely on cross-chip
tracking the models have to be quite good.
Yep. Simulators don't "design".


Nonsense! Drop by sometime and I'll show you my etchings, errrh, uh,
libraries ;-)

Take a look at the crap that board designers tend to get stuck
with. :-(
If absolute tolerances have any major effect on your circuit's
performance you're NO designer ;-)

Depends on the definition of "absolute tolerances" is. One of the
"absolute tollerances" you depend on is tracking. ;-) Board
designers don't have such luxuries. I needed a current "source"
for what I'm doing now. The double-darlington we've been using is
dead, so had to find a substitute. Fortunately I didn't need much
current (a couple of mA) so didn't really need the darlington. I
settled for a part with two (adjacent) dice from the same wafer
Or hire a pro, such as me ;-)

Hardly any learning there. ;-)
 
K

Ken S. Tucker

Jan 1, 1970
0
Sounds like your resume would go straight into his trashcan :)

Worse than that, the best designers I know would
snicker at the beaucracy.
Component level sims are good if you need to R&D a
new circuit, but who wants to do that? Anyway the sim
still needs judgement.
The big picture needs to account for the information
movement which can be sourced from a driver source,
fiber optic, phone line, duplex satelite and on and on.
(I'm pro sim BTW)

What's the most complicated system you guys have
had to design - troubleshoot?

Generally the ones that give me problems are ones
with multiple feedback loops.
Regards
Ken
 
K

krw

Jan 1, 1970
0
To-Email- said:
Same here, except that almost half of my engineering career was done
without benefit of a simulator.

You aren't *that* old. I was using a simulator for ASICs (before
the term was coined) in the '70s.
My yield then was every bit as good as it is now.

Measured by the transistor?
Simulators have simply bought me the ability to design devices that
run faster than any breadboard would have allowed. AND a much higher
transistor count... most of my early stuff rarely exceeded 300-400
transistors.

....just a little bit of productivity. ;-)
 
K

krw

Jan 1, 1970
0
To-Email- said:
To-Email- said:
[snip]
Also, one thing Spice will NOT do is model reality. Just someone's
simplified model of it.

Ummmmh? IMNSHO, transistor models, particularly MOS devices in an
ASIC, are quite well modeled!

They'd better be or *nothing* works. Since you rely on cross-chip
tracking the models have to be quite good.

"Cross chip tracking"? Ain't no such animal. Only local (accurate"
matching. Special efforts are necessary to send references around the
chip.

Sure there is. Tracking may be a function of distance and
orientation, but there certainly is tracking across a chip. There
is tracking across wafer, as well, though obviously not as strong.
Models can (and do) incorporate any or all such tracking. It's
pretty hard to do manually though.
I was talking of device libraries. Board designers generally don't do
circuit design.

Tell Larkin that. ;-)
"Absolute tolerance" means just that... resistor absolute value
tolerances may be as high as 30%

Or perhaps 2-5% for board designers. Tracking can still be fun.
"Tracking", in terms of temperature, yes. More important is "ratio"
matching, which can be made to 1% (or less with some special effort).

Ratio matching is part of tracking. There are still tolerance
terms.
Or you can be clever, and make a 10-bit ADC, from 3% resistors ;-)

....as long as you have .1% tracking somewhere.
Or more cleverness in your design skills ?:)

Perhaps, though money matters to the owner. I try to keep in mind
that I'm spending his money.
All my parts are "free".

In my previous life the cost per transistor was even lower than
yours. When there are a few million on a chip... ;-) In this
life one has to justify (if only to one's self) the cost of each
package.
Occasionally part of my job includes teaching the client... not that
much sticks... it takes _years_ to develop your own bag of tricks.

Sure. I've never been afraid of teaching. However, teaching <>
learning. Besides, every time I taught someone how to do my job I
got a better one.\
 
K

krw

Jan 1, 1970
0
To-Email- said:
But you worked for "mother" in Burlington ?:)

Actually, Poughkeepsie, then. I didn't move to BTV until '93, when
the bipolar mainframes crashed.
I didn't have access to a VAX until around 1980, running Berkeley
Spice (IIRC) 2g6, fortunately written in Fortran, allowing me to patch
the bad representation of the B-E capacitance.


No. Measured by conformance to spec.

Perhaps I should have added the ';-)', but thought I'd done enough.
 
B

Bob Engelhardt

Jan 1, 1970
0
John said:
Now *this* is design automation:

ftp://jjlarkin.lmi.net/Auto.jpg
....

Oh ... a 'lectric eraser! My dad was a civil engineer, before
computers. Drafting table, ink on vellum, etc & a 'lectric eraser.
What I don't see in the pic is the brush - anybody who's serious about
erasing has a brush. Yours must be out of sight.

<G>,
Bob
 
J

JosephKK

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have been looking for a book that would explain the basic principles
involved in designing electronic circuits (i.e. what a person should
know, how the person should think and so on).

There are many books that seem to explain how analog or digital
components function and as far as the digital ones are concerned, how
to even group them together to create purely digital circuits. But I
have been looking for something that explains the process of placing
analog components together to create an analog circuit.

Does anyone know if "Electronics - Circuits and Systems" by Owen
Bishop is good in this regard, or is there something better?

Thanks in advance

Electronic principles by Albert Malvino is usually well regarded.
 
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