Connect with us

Book recommendations

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by James, Jan 14, 2007.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. James

    James Guest

    I'm a beginner with a basic/rudimentary knowledge of electronics. I'm keen
    to learn about circuits, digital electronics and building my own circuits.
    Any book recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

  2. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    Books?? It's 2007 and still no flying cars but there's gotta be
    learning software..

    Now this would be cool if it exists (probably does):
    "Learning electronics with SPICE"
    A basic spice program with 100's of files to be examined in order.
    Each file explains and illustrates basic component operation and also
    shows the math for those components.
    Great if it's set up to be interactive.
    Students predict using presented math and confirm using spice.
    (Of course non-ideal properties will have to be included at some
    D from BC
  3. The Talking Electronics books are excellent:

    For more in-depth and easy to digest digital theory I'd recommend
    Digital Systems: Principles & Applications by Tocci:

    Dave :)
  4. Without knowing you better, it is hard to say. But I'll take a shot.

    One of the recommendations you already have is The Art of Electronics,
    by Horowitz and Hill. The book is pretty good (and I definitely
    recommend getting the 2nd edition -- 1989.) For someone new and
    teaching themselves, it starts out at the right place but moves at a
    steady pace that may be rather too quick, eventually. If you _also_
    get the Student manual for it, published separately, then it goes from
    pretty good to darned excellent as a good self-teaching set. At
    times, I've found much needed design methods that helped me understand
    the book material better only there in the student manual. So I also
    recommend adding that, if you plan to get the big book, too.

    For other general electronics stuff, you could look to older teaching
    materials, periodically updated, which will cover many of the details
    quite well. For example, there is the Naval Electrical Engineering
    Training Series which is available completely for free (or was, on
    9/4/2006) at:

    Some of the material will have some dated phrases in it, but it does
    cover a lot of the basics for electronics.

    For digital electronics, I'd recommend looking for earlier books on
    the subject (once ICs were available), as well. It is in those
    materials that you will often find __more__ explanation, because the
    field was newer and the audience more likely to need a slower pace.
    One example is Don Lancaster's two volume set, Micro Cookbook. The
    parts will be __very old__ by today's standards, but Don's skill at
    mixing drawings and cartoons with text is good and I found it quite
    easy to follow for the entire way through them, back when I first
    picked them up decades ago. Another fun one is Bebop Bytes Back, An
    Unconventional Guide to Computers, if you might be interested in how a
    CPU or microcontroller works inside. At the same time, it does teach
    some of the basics of digital electronics.

    But digital electronics also requires you to learn about various
    digital technologies, such as RTL, DTL, TTL, CMOS, etc. Some of these
    include further refinements or cross-overs, such as LS TTL (low power
    schottky) and AHCT (advanced high-speed cmos with ttl inputs.) RTL
    was an early digital technology but it is still used (with some easy
    analog design rules) in conjunction with today's digital electronics
    in discrete form outside a micro, for example. I don't have a
    recommendation for a book that covers all this well, but would be
    interested to see one recommended to you.

    In addition to all the rest, there are some seminal application notes
    available from various IC manufacturers -- I'm thinking here of some
    on operational amplifiers, in particular -- that are very much worth
    getting. I think some of the others here may have these links at
    their fingertips.

    Search the web for explanations as you learn terms related to them,
    too. Sometimes, you will get some great pages to help. (You also
    have available a very good and free Spice simulator program from

  5. Then you ask in sci.electronics.basics

  6. I thought that at first blush, too. But then I realized that perhaps
    some of the better folks to answer this may not frequent that group.

  7. Horowitz and Hill's "The Art of Electronics."

    Clive Maxfield's "Bebop to the Boolean Boogie" (strange title, I
    know, but it makes for a good read).

    The ARRL's "Radio Amateur's Handbook"

    I will add that ARRL has a number of other books out, including one
    on digital radio design.

    Happy hunting.
  8. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    They're excellent for building kits, and the guy *tries* to explain the
    theory of operation at times, but he's doing it without any fancy math and,
    I think, doesn't succeed as well as Horowitz & Hill do... I also think he's
    occasionally wildly off-base. :) That being said, the books are cheap, and
    worth having copies of since the projects are a lot more "practical" for a
    beginner than H&H's are. H&H isn't going to show you how to build a bunch
    of wireless bugs whereas TE will! ...albeit the end-result is that you have
    something of a "cookbook" wireless bug design, rather than something that
    you could re-design from scratch if need be.
  9. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    The worst thing that can happen by posting a basic book question in is that a senior engineer may blow the dust of
    those old books and you'll get titles that include 3 chapters on
    tubes.. :)
    Just kidding... Some of the posted books are favorites.

    Times are changing and training software should be all the rage...
    Imagine combining Adobe + MathCAD + SPICE +Media Player+Half Life game
    engine = one kickass training package :)

    D from BC
  10. Brian Ellis

    Brian Ellis Guest

    I've found "Practical Electronics For Inventors", second edition by Paul
    Scherz a very good book. It covers theory very well, different types of
    circuits (both analog and digital), plus a chapter on "hands-on
    electronics". It has a very reasonable price, as well.

    Brian Ellis
  11. I haven't had a chance to go back and figure out how the value of the
    grid leak resistor can be properly set, so that nag is still in the
    back of my mind to work out. ;) I remember seeing a lot of ~200k
    resistors there, though.
    Hehe. yes.
    Also, there is VHDL and verilog and FPGAs today and cheap board houses
    to use in all this. Sure saves on wire-wrapping tools, proto boards
    jumpering, and labor when you want to combine some modest level of

    I wish this stuff had been around earlier for me.

  12. Guest

    Save your money on books and
    Check out MIT's OpenCourseWare
  13. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    On Sun, 14 Jan 2007 20:05:36 GMT, Jonathan Kirwan

    Maybe the future of electronics training will be like this:
    Take a 4 year university program and convert that into an environment
    similar to modern video games.
    Pack it all in on a few DVD's...
    If one has questions..then one goes online (like with online gaming)
    and pays by credit card to consult with online instructors.
    My recommendation to the OP is to kill 2 birds with one stone.
    Learn electronics and at the same time develop RTS (rapid training
    software) ...make millions$$$ :)

    Currently ...the best thing about university is seeing those cute
    campus girls roaming around.. :)
    D from BC
  14. At technical detail, for sure, but H&H can be a big and scary book for
    a beginning hobbyist!
    It really depends on how old the OP is, I usually don't recommend H&H
    to young beginners.
    Nothing wrong with that for a beginner. Not so much the "bug" books
    though (unless the OP is into that), but the digital course, and the
    Electronics Notebook series are good, if a bit hap-hazard.
    If you try and "teach" proper design to a beginner first up with a dry
    textbook style it can loose them. They are better off with something
    fun and "personal" to keep them interested, stuff from the likes of TE,
    Clive Maxwell (, and Forrest Mimms for example
    are a better start IMHO.

    Dave :)
  15. PeteS

    PeteS Guest

    And yet there is nothing quite like a book one may turn the leaves of to
    return to a particular issue.

    Say what you will, there is not now, and probably never will be, a
    replacement for a real book. That does not deny the positives of online
    courses; merely puts them in perspective.


  16. Link please?
    That graphic doesn't help much.

    Dave :)
  17. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    Hi David,

    Fair enough; I'd save H&H until at least the high school level.
    This line of reasoning suggests getting a subscription to, e.g., Nuts &
    Volts magazine as well, which is well worth it. (I think it's the last U.S.
    publication aimed at electronic hobbyists!)

  18. I been hearing about that one for years, but can't say I've ever taken
    a look at it...

    Dave :)
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day