Connect with us

Questions in regard to Art of Electronics

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Haakon Riiser, Oct 3, 2004.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. I recently started teaching myself electronics in my spare time
    with the help of "The Art of Electronics" and its student manual.
    I have worked my way through the first chapters, but I have some
    questions; since I have no teacher to ask, I hope it's okay that
    post my questions here. :)

    First of all, I bought a lot of test equipment that I hope will
    suffice for most of the lab exercises.

    Tektronix TDS 2012 digital scope (2 channels, 100 MHz, 1 GS/s)

    EP-613 DC power supply (0-30V/2.5A variable output, and two fixed
    5V/12V outputs)

    GFG-8215A function generator (0.3Hz-3MHz, sine/triangle/square/ramp/
    TTL/CMOS output, -20dB att.)

    Caltek CM2701 digital multimeter

    I assumed that this would suffice, since AoE is an introductory
    text and therefore probably wouldn't require very expensive
    equipment. But already in lab 2-4 the text assumes that the
    function generator has a "sweep" feature that I just discovered is
    missing on my 8215A. How important is this feature? Will this
    become a problem in later exercises?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Good choices on the gear.

    Sweep isn't crucial. You can always turn a knob by hand and plot a
    frequency response or something. I can't remember the last time I used
    sweep on a fungen.

    Fun stuff could be done with a sound card as a frequency response
    analyzer. I think there's software around.

  3. Fungen sounds like some bad fungus you get from using a func-gen... ;)
  4. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Func-gen sounds like a really funky generator.

    I'm designing a thing now (I think it's for testing something on a
    B-52) that my customer calls a "fugen." As long as he pays for it he
    gets to name it, I suppose.

  5. [John Larkin]
    That's good to hear. I probably should have posted the equipment
    list for comments before I went out and bought everything, but
    apparently, it turned out okay in spite of that. :)
    Ah, I didn't think of that; thanks for the tip! I think I can
    manage without the software, since I can program the sound card
    myself. Of course, the sound card does not have the frequency
    range of the function generator, but that's okay -- I'm mostly
    in this for fun and educational purposes. And speaking of the
    frequency range: I used to think that the 192 kHz sample rate
    offered in modern sound cards was ridiculous, but now I can
    finally see how that could be useful. :)
  6. CFoley1064

    CFoley1064 Guest

    Subject: Questions in regard to Art of Electronics
    You have chosen wisely -- I wish I'd just bit the bullet and purchased the
    equivalents to these when I was starting out -- it would have made the journey
    a lot easier.

    Another post said you might want to look at just tweaking the frequency
    manually. That's a good idea -- I haven't used a sweep function since I don't
    know when. But, the data sheet for your function generator says it's got an
    external voltage-controlled frequency input, which might do the trick if you're
    desperate for a sweep. The VCF has 100:1 sweep range for 0 to 10V input, which
    is probably far more than what you need. You might want to cobble together a
    sawtooth generator and add it to a 5V reference so that the amplitude and
    frequency of the sawtooth meets your needs (you'll probably want 5VDC with an
    0.1V p.p. sawtooth). Input this to the VFC input, tweak to taste, and you'll
    have your sweep. You can do this with a 9V battery or your fixed 12V supply,
    and an LM358 dual op amp and a handful of components.

    Good luck
  7. R.Spinks

    R.Spinks Guest

    About how much did the equipment set you back?
  8. [R.Spinks]
    A _lot_, but I managed to justify it to myself by considering the
    countless hours of fun it will give me and, eventually, valuable
    knowledge that I can put on my resume. Compare this to all the
    other junk we spend money on, and then it doesn't look so bad. :)

    Anyway, here you got it, all in USD (prices exclude the 24 %
    Norwegian sales tax):

    Scope 1875
    Power supply 160
    Function generator 280
    Multimeter 35

    In addition to the above list, I also bought a soldering station¹,
    a breadboard², bananjacks, wire, extra probes for the multimeter
    (one pair with sharpened tips and another pair with grip hooks),
    a roll of wire to connect things on the breadboard, a set of
    resistors (10 ohm - 1M), and a set of ceramic capacitors (1.5 pF
    - 2200 pF). I didn't mention this in the original post, since
    the soldering equipment for the most part isn't required (the
    breadboard is solderless), I know I am happy with the breadboard,
    and I figured the rest wasn't very exiting. But I do have one
    question regarding the capacitors; in the RC circuit in exercise
    2-1, the text specifically mentions that the cap should be mylar,
    but I used ceramic caps and I think I got good results with that.
    So, for a trivial circuit like this, why bother specifying
    mylar caps? (The table on p. 22 states that mylar has better
    accuracy and leakage, but I would expect the margins to be pretty
    good here.)

    ¹ Solomon SR-976; I paid about $75 for this.

    ² RH-74; $54
    It's the larger one in <>
  9. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    On Sat, 2 Oct 2004 23:29:40 +0000 (UTC), Haakon Riiser
    If you can live with audio range, try my DaqGen freeware
    at <>. It does all kinds of function generation
    using a standard Windows sound card. Besides sweeps, you
    can do AM, FM, Burst, PWM, and phase modulation. You can
    choose from standard waveforms or various types of noise, or
    you can supply arbitrary waveforms or even play regular WAV
    files... with full modulation. There are 4 output streams per
    DAC channel, and they may be used independently or a
    stream can be used as the modulation source for another
    stream. (For example, you can have an Arb wave providing
    the AM modulation for a Gaussian noise source.)

    Extensive Help system is built in.

    Best of all, it's completely free!

    Bob Masta

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
  10. Haakon Riiser wrote:

    Mylar is pretty much the same, world round, (with exception of
    internal inductance and resistance, which depends on how the wire
    leads are attached to the metal) but ceramic caps come in a wide
    variety of types , some with very different properties.

    Low value ceramic caps, like you list are probably low-K (NPO COG,
    X7R) types that have pretty linear capacitance versus voltage, low
    dielectric absorption and low microphonics, but larger values are more
    likely to be high-k types (Y5V, Z5U) that have terrible properties in
    all respects except for size.
  11. Marlboro

    Marlboro Guest

    Thoses are excellent equipts. Remind me starting out my carrer with
    only one analog multimetter, which was a gift from my bro.
  12. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Yikes! $1875 + 24% = $2325! A TDS2012 is $1595 here, plus 7.5% state
    sales tax, which you can finesse by buying it out-of-state. As a
    company purchase, we can expense it and get back almost 50% as a tax
    deduction, so it really costs us about $900.

    Why don't governments tax the useless crap, and give people a break on
    productive/educational stuff?

  13. Clarence

    Clarence Guest

    You expect intelligent behavior from government? What an optimist!
  14. Maybe because those people selling useless crap like cigarettes make a
    lot lot lot more money and therefore can afford to influence the
    decisions? :pPpPpp

    L.Angel: I'm looking for web design work.
    If you need basic to med complexity webpages at affordable rates, email me :)
    Standard HTML, SHTML, MySQL + PHP or ASP, Javascript.
    If you really want, FrontPage & DreamWeaver too.
    But keep in mind you pay extra bandwidth for their bloated code
  15. [John Larkin]
    :) Actually, the only reason I paid the "modest" sum of $1875
    was that I purchased the scope from Farnell instead of ELFA, and
    Farnell will usually only deal with other companies. If I had got
    the scope at ELFA, I'd have to pay $2310 + 24% = $2864 (= ouch!)

    By the way -- does anyone here regularly buy equipment at a place
    that sells the Solomon SR-976 soldering station? I recently
    discovered that my only local vendor, ELFA, do not sell the 0.3mm
    tip (part number 976T-SB). I asked them about it, and they said
    that people who got the cheap Solomon soldering stations were
    not interested in fine tips -- people who are use the insanely
    expensive Weller products. I found some web shops that sell this
    tip, such as

    but unfortunately, they will not do international orders this
    small. So, I was wondering if there are anyone here who could
    pick up a couple of these tips and send them to me. Of course,
    I would pay in advance for all expenses and gladly throw in a
    little extra for the trouble. If anyone is interested, please
    send me an email.
    At least they don't tax books here in Norway, and the tax on food
    was recently halved. (Unfortunately, it didn't make much of a
    difference for us customers, since the supermarkets soon decided
    to raise the prices accordingly. :) I wish tax exemptions such
    as these would cover all productive/educational products, but it
    will probably never happen because it would be difficult, and a
    lot of work, to classify everything.
  16. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Food here is not taxed, unless it is "ready to eat", like a hot
    sandwich. I just bought a Hershey chocolate bar with almonds (about
    the best standard American chocolate, barely acceptable at that) and
    it wasn't taxed. The distinctions can be tricky, but most stuff in a
    supermarket is not taxed. Sales tax here is 7.5%. Books are taxed, but
    newspapers aren't. Beer is, fruit juice isn't.

    If you locate a US supplier that has those tips in stock, and give us
    their contact information and stock number or a link or whatever, I'll
    buy a few and send them to you. Despam my email address to send the

  17. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    It's a sop to the underclasses, who consider it to be nothing more
    sinister than making "the rich" pay their "fair share." :)

  18. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    It's because there's so much more useless crap sold, and the ones
    who buy it aren't in a position to bankroll lobbyists.

  19. me

    me Guest

    Maybe because those people selling useless crap like cigarettes make
    For all the time cigarettes were being sold the government was getting more
    than half the profits. But they are are the ones saying that they are
    looking out for us by suing the cash cow for money...
  20. peterken

    peterken Guest

    Then you guys should see it here in europe
    On petrol state takes a profit of about 400%, not to mention cigarettes etc
    Standard taxes here are say 21%

    For all the time cigarettes were being sold the government was getting more
    than half the profits. But they are are the ones saying that they are
    looking out for us by suing the cash cow for money...
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