Electronics Explained: 2nd Edition Fundamentals for Engineers, Technicians, and Makers

By: , Posted on: July 25, 2017

electronics explained

Electronics Explained, 2nd edition is for those of you who want to learn about electronics and computers but frankly are put off by all the gory details. If you have a short attention span, a nonexistent background in science, math, and technology, and are looking for near-instant gratification of electronics knowledge, this book is for you. Electronics is a complex subject, especially if you want to be an electronics engineer. However, if you are merely curious or just need a working knowledge of electronics for your job, this book will give you a basic education on the fundamentals without boring you to death or loading you down with the excruciating details that other books lay on you. What I have attempted to do is write a book that tells you the most important concepts and fundamentals but leaves out the minutiae that only an engineer will need or appreciate. This book contains exactly what you need to know today in the 21st century.

There are lots of basic electronics books around, and you may already have read some. This one is really different. First, it does not go into detailed circuit analysis. Why? Simply, all electronic equipment today is made up of integrated circuits or chips, and we cannot see the circuits, access them, or even repair them. If you are an electronic engineer designing integrated circuits, yes, you do need to understand their operation. If you just want to learn how electronic equipment works, then you can skip this detail. This book treats circuits as simple functional building blocks whose purpose and application are easily understood.

Second, this book presents what I call the new electronics. Most basic electronic books dwell on the older components and circuits and ignore how electronics really is today. These books do a good job teaching you the history of electronics but little else. What you will see in this book is a fresh new way to look at and understand electronics, especially in the context of the familiar applications you use every day made with the most advanced integrated circuits. If you complete this book and still want more, one of the more traditional basic electronics books would be your next step. See the appendix for my recommendations.

The first three chapters introduce you to the electrical principles that form the basis of electronics. You will learn the core concept of electronics, which boils down to how to generate current flow and then control it to do something useful. Magnetic fields are also covered, since magnetism is just as important in electronics as current flow. But do not worry, even if you never took a physics course you can easily get through this material.

Next, you learn about the basic components of electronics such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, diodes, transistors, and especially integrated circuits. Then you will discover all the different types of electronic circuits used to make up any electronic device. The functional block diagram approach is used here so that you will not have to do the nitty-gritty circuit analysis that has you chasing electrons through components and solving simultaneous equations.

An important part of this book is the coverage of computers, and specifically of embedded controllers, that is, those tiny single-chip microcomputers or microcontrollers that are built virtually into every electronic device. Digital signal processors are also covered since they also appear in most modern electronic equipment. You cannot name an electronic product today that does not have one of these embedded computers in it. You really need to know what these are and how they work, as they are the very heart of electronic devices today. Programming and interfacing are included with C and BASIC language examples.

The rest of the book consists of descriptions of how all the major electronic products and systems work. The entire range of modern electronics is covered, including major things like cell phones (LTE and 5G), video (cable, HDTV, 4K, DVD, VR, OTT, etc.), audio (stereo, CDs, MP3, streaming, etc.), satellites (GPS, TV, radio, etc.), radio (broadcast, marine-aircraft-shortwave, ham, CB, family radio, etc.), and everything else you can think of. And it is all explained using basic building blocks rather than detailed circuits.

Finally, if you want involvement as you read the book, get involved with the projects that I list in the project sidebars in each chapter. These can lead to a deeper understanding of the concepts. Furthermore, these projects could encourage you to become a true electronic hobbyist—or is that a geek or nerd?

When you finish this book you will not be an electronic engineer nor will you be able to design or analyze circuits. But you will know about all the different kinds of circuits, how they work, and how they all fit together to create electronic equipment. The benefits to you are the ability to apply, use, select, operate, and to some extent troubleshoot most of the common electronics products with confidence, while appreciating their complexity and the value they deliver. Hope you like it.

This revised and enhanced edition of Electronics Explained is still written for those of you who want to learn about electronics in the shortest amount of time. The original goals of the book as outlined in the Preface below are the same, but now the book has been expanded and updated to match the latest developments in electronics. This revised version also hopes to make you more of a hands-on electronic experimenter, hobbyist, DIYer, or maker. The highlights of the new edition are as follows:

  • All chapters are revised to include any new developments, technologies, and products. Some of the new topics covered include 4K high-definition video, virtual reality, the latest wireless standards, the Internet of things, and the latest 4G and 5G cellular technologies.
  • Increased number of hands-on projects with electronic components and test equipment. Virtual instruments are introduced and a wide range of analog and digital projects and experiments are provided.
  • A new chapter on soldering, a core skill of any electronic person. Building a kit is a recommended project.
  • A new chapter on programming and interfacing embedded controllers. It is difficult to be an electronics enthusiast today without knowledge of microcontrollers and how to program them. Modules like the Arduino are described and examples of programming using BASIC and C languages are included.

You can read Chapter 1 – Learning About Electronics for Your Own Good: A Little Bit of Perspective Before You Get to the Details for a limited time on ScienceDirect.

You can access the book on ScienceDirect. If you prefer a print or e-copy, visit the Elsevier Store. Apply discount code STC317 and receive up to 30% off the list price and free global shipping.

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