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Practical Electronics for Inventors
Pub Year:
Read: 2017-11-15
Last Update: 2017-11-15

Five Sentence Abstract:

The book is divided into three parts - theory, basic components, and circuits/modules. While it won't give you the tools to be an electrical engineer, it is more than relevant enough to give you all the basic understanding to build projects with arbitrary complexity - provided you can use this information as the foundation when exploring more complex applications. After the basic components are covered, there are several easy to understand sections on op amps, filters, oscillators, and other non-primitive but foundational aspects of electronics. Some of the more advanced topics that are covered include voltage regulators and power supplies. The book culminates with a look at the, from the inventors standpoint, obsolescent logic gates and their modern successor the micro controller and its digital world before rounding out with motors/servos and audio electronics, often depicted as being controlled by a micro controller.


More than a solid introduction. The book is divided into basically three sections. The first covers electricity and the physics and mathematics behind things like capacitance and induction. The next section builds on this theory by introducing the primitive components first and building on them further to introduce things like sensors and filters culminating with micro controllers. The last section deals with digital electronics and the micro controller.

The theory section, while not as detailed as a university electrical engineering course, is more than enough for an enthusiast to gain foundational knowledge of the concepts they will be utilizing without necessarily understanding the ins and outs of things like Kirchhoff's Laws.

Each of the primitive components is given a treatment before moving onto semiconductors, including a brief description of the doping process and n- p- silicon.

These foundations are then expanded to cover, from a working standpoint instead of the previous sections theoretical view, basic sensors, operational amplifiers, filters, oscillators, timers, voltage regulators, and power supplies.

With these building blocks the book continues by introducing digital electronics with a cursory treatment of logic gates, which for the casual builder are all but obsolete. Their successor, the micro controller, is covered next.

The final few chapters look at motors, servo, and audio electronics.

Lastly the modular electronics chapter discusses how you should generally, at least as a hobbyist and during the prototyping phase take advantage of modules and integrated circuits in much the same way that you would use micro controllers rather than build logic circuits from scratch. For example, unless you are building an H-bridge as a learning exercise, you are probably better off buying a module or integrated circuit H-bridge.

Exceptional Excerpts:


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to Electronics
Chapter 2: Theory
Chapter 3: Basic Electronic Circuit Components
Chapter 4: Semiconductors
Chapter 5: Optoelectronics
Chapter 6: Sensors
Chapter 7: Hands-on Electronics
Chapter 8: Operational Amplifiers
Chapter 9: Filters
Chapter 10: Oscillators and Timers
Chapter 11: Voltage Regulators and Power Supplies
Chapter 12: Digital Electronics
Chapter 13: Microcontrollers
Chapter 14: Motors
Chapter 15: Audio
Chapter 16: Modular Electronics

CHAPTER 1: Introduction to Electronics

CHAPTER 2: Theory

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At the home, the three wires from the pole/green box transformer are connected through a wattmeter and then enter a main service panel that is grounded to a long copper rod driven into the ground or to the steel in a home’s foundation. The Aphase and B-phase wires that enter the main panel are connected through a main disconnect breaker, while the neutral wire is connected to a terminal referred to as the neutral bar or neutral bus. A ground bar also may be present within the main service panel. The ground bar is connected to the grounding rod or to the foundation’s steel supports. Within the main service panel, the neutral bar and the ground bar are connected together (they act as one). However, within subpanels (service panels that get their power from the main service panel but which are located some distance from the main service panel), the neutral and ground bars are not joined together. Instead, the subpanel’s ground bar receives a ground wire from the main services panel. Often the metal conduit that is used to transport the wires from the main service panel to the subpanel is used as the ground wire. However, for certain critical applications (e.g., computer and life-support systems), the ground wire probably will be included within the conduit. Also, if a subpanel is not located in the same building as the main panel, a new ground rod typically is used to ground the subpanel. Note that different regions within the United States may use different wiring protocols. Therefore, do not assume that what I am telling you is standard practice where you live. Contact your local electrical inspector. Within the main service panel, there are typically two bus bars into which circuit breaker modules are inserted. One of these bus bars is connected to the A-phase wire; the other bus bar is connected to the B-phase wire. To power a group of 120-V loads (e.g., upstairs lights and 120-V outlets), you throw the main breaker to the off position and then insert a single-pole breaker into one of the bus bars. (You can choose either the A-phase bus bar or the B-phase bus bar. The choice of which bus bar you use becomes important only when it comes to balancing the overall load more on that in a moment.) Next, you take a 120-V three-wire cable and connect the cable’s black (hot) wire to the breaker, connect the cable’s white (neutral) wire to the neutral bar, and connect the cable’s ground wire (green or bare) to the ground bar. You then run the cable to where the 120-V loads are located, connect the hot and neutral wires across the load, and fasten the ground wire to the case of the load (typically a ground screw is supplied on an outlet mounting or light figure for this purpose). To power other 120-V loads that use their own breakers, you basically do the same thing you did in the last setup. However, to maximize the capacity of the main panel (or subpanel) to supply as much current as possible without overloading the main circuit breaker in the process, it is important to balance the total load current connected to the A-phase breakers with the total load current connected to the B-phase breakers. This is referred to as “balancing the load.” Now, if you want to supply power to 240-V appliances (ovens, washers, etc.), you insert a double-pole breaker between the A-phase and B-phase bus bars in the main (or subpanel). Next, you take a 240-V three-wire cable and attach one of its hot wires to the A-phase terminal of the breaker and attach its other hot wire to the B phase terminal of the breaker. The ground wire (green or bare) is connected to the ground bar. You then run the cable to where the 240-V loads are located and attachthe wires to the corresponding terminals of the load (typically within a 240-V outlet). Also, 120-V/240-V appliances are wired in a similar manner, except you use a four-wire cable that contains an additional neutral (white) wire that is joined at the neutral bar within the main panel (or subpanel).

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CHAPTER 3: Basic Electronic Circuit Components

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CHAPTER 4: Semiconductors

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CHAPTER 5: Optoelectronics

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CHAPTER 6: Sensors

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CHAPTER 7: Hands-on Electronics

CHAPTER 8: Operational Amplifiers

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Rule 4: Whenever an op amp senses a voltage difference between its inverting and noninverting inputs, it responds by feeding back as much current/voltage through the feedback network as is necessary to keep this difference equal to zero (V_+ − V_− = 0). This rule only applies for negative feedback.

CHAPTER 9: Filters

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CHAPTER 10: Oscillators and Timers

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CHAPTER 11: Voltage Regulators and Power Supplies

CHAPTER 12: Digital Electronics

CHAPTER 13: Microcontrollers

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CHAPTER 14: Motors

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CHAPTER 15: Audio

CHAPTER 16: Modular Electronics

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