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Ever find errors in TAB books?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Matt J. McCullar, Aug 3, 2004.

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  1. TAB has published books for the aviation market and electronics hobby market
    for many years. The electronics books are geared toward beginners and
    intermediate users, for the most part. They've offered dozens of titles
    over the years, offering a great variety of hobby projects. Some are rock
    simple, others a bit more complicated.

    One thing I've noticed about TAB books: while the text is almost always
    quite good, I've never liked the extremely crude drawings they use in the
    accompanying artwork. In artwork as complicated as an electronic schematic
    diagram, it is very easy for an artist not knowledgeable about electronics
    to inadvertently leave out a connection dot or two, or connect components
    together that shouldn't be.

    I'm now in my middle 30s and have tinkered with electronics since my early
    teens. Looking back through my notes and copies of various books I've used
    over the years, I can now see where I made some mistakes -- or was led down
    the wrong path by incorrect information! I have enough experience today to
    see a great many incorrect schematic diagrams in a lot of TAB's electronics
    hobby books. I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this.

    My guess is, TAB scrimped on the schematics to hold costs down. But I
    wonder how many people got burnt out on a potentially rewarding hobby
    because they could not get a particular circuit to work, no matter how hard
    they tried... not knowing that the schematic they were following was
    sabotaged from the get-go! And this is not a magazine where you can read
    the "Oops!" column next month, this is a book. You seldom see these updated
    and corrected.

    In particular, I remember how aggravated I was trying to get a program to
    run on a Z-80 microprocessor circuit I built. I eventually was able to
    figure how that the software program they listed (op-codes and hex
    equivalents) was not only incorrect, but horribly wrong! In a program with
    only a dozen lines, I counted three errors! I eventually managed to rewrite
    the whole thing myself and get it to work. But I could easily have given
    up. I wonder how many other hobbiests actually did.

    Matt J. McCullar, KJ5BA
    Arlington, TX
     
  2. Activ8

    Activ8 Guest

    I've got one on motor controls and a really good one called
    __Electronic Databook__. The former... I'd just take the theory and
    design my own circuits or analyze what's given. The latter... it's
    chock foll of tables (?) and nomograms plus other stuff. I vaguely
    remember some questionable stuff but never took the time (or had the
    need) to double check. But you've got me on alert here.
    Many diagrams in the latter book have cheesy looking artwork.
    Not yet, but as good as Don Lancaster's __The Active Filter
    Cookbook__ is, I found one set of design equations that didn't work
    in real life. I got po'd (p'd o ?) and left work to go home and run
    a simulation on the circuit and damned if that BP design wasn't a LP
    or HP (forget which). I was back at work in and hour with a design
    that worked right the first time. In the mean time the project
    manager called to see if I was coming back - I'd stormed out all
    pissed off after telling the CEO I had to go home where I could
    accomplish some real work with real tools. Before I'd tried Don's
    circuit, I'd tried some snake oil the tech mgr gave me from a
    Signetics engr. The project manager has yet to graduate from this
    group (not that he even knows it exists) and is too ignorant to know
    how ignorant he really is and learn the art in the first place. A
    more proper title for him would be "concept man."
    Probably outsourced it to some 3rd world shithole.
    Well... as sad as that possibility sounds, maybe they later took up
    woodworking and started a successful biz doing that and gained many
    happy customers :)
    Don't let that subscription expire.
    Yeah. I have two books on programing for winders and never once
    found code that worked. 'course, I only used code for stuff I didn't
    already know, but I had to combine code from both books *and* sort
    though the MSDN library to fully understand the API functions that I
    needed to use. Disgusting. Linux example code *always* worked for
    me.
    ^^^^^^^
    I spliced a fair amount of your CATV system when TCI upgraded maybe
    8 yrs ago. Lived in Azle and then FTW. Azle sucks except for the gal
    at the store where I got breakfast. She only charged for coffee when
    I drank cappuccino :)
     
  3. Gordon Youd

    Gordon Youd Guest

    AH! those wonderful Z80 days.......................
    1k memory, machine code programming.................

    Regards, Gordon.
     
  4. I've noticed it a _whole_ lot. I have a bunch of TAB books out in the
    garage for that exact reason. I picked them up for real cheap at thrift
    stores or garage sales, etc. I started to check each book out and found
    that there was so many errors that I wouldn't consider it a worthy
    addition to my library and I certainly wouldn't wish it on even my worst
    enemy, so I tossed it in the garage. These books have gross errors and
    omissions,
    I sympathise with you. I wish there was some kind of rating system for
    books.
     
  5. There is... it's called book reviews. In many scientific fields, there are
    major journals and magazines that publish critical reviews of books. There
    are also the readers' book reviews on Amazon.com.

    TAB probably flies under the radar of both of these, unfortunately.

    Anyone want to start an online collection of reviews of electronics books
    past and present?
     
  6. Anyone want to start an online collection of reviews of electronics books
    That's not a bad idea! I'll have to think about that...
    I still have quite a few technical books, though by no means every tech book
    I used to.
     
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