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Learning the Art of Electronics (A Hands-On Lab Course) 1st Edition
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- Item Weight : 4.7 pounds
- Paperback : 1150 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0521177235
- ISBN-13 : 978-0521177238
- Publisher : Cambridge University Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2016)
- Dimensions : 8 x 1.6 x 10 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #156,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Each chapter is broken up into four parts: an introduction (N), lab (L), supplementary section (S), and worked example section (W). So the first thing you need to learn is how to get around the book. It sounds silly, but it adds to the frustration of already trying to learn a difficult subject. When you compound the other flaws then having a confusing layout that is difficult to navigate doesn’t help.
The author’s writing style is very odd for a book seemingly aimed at beginners. I have spent more time trying to decipher what the author is asking me to do instead of working on anything hands-on. The book assumes you have skills and knowledge that it does not teach you. The book is funny because the author frames it to being an almost rebellious way to learn electronics with "rules of thumb and reliable 'tricks'' allowing you to "leave the calculator-bound novice engineer in the dust" but then the text is so confusing that you end up not understanding the original concept nor the rules of thumb. The book talks about subjects I even studied before and it goes over my head.
The instructions for the labs are difficult to understand. There isn't a breakdown of which parts and tools you need at the beginning of each chapter, so it is confusing. The chapters jump right in and start referring to parts they assume you already have. I think there is a list available on another website that shows the parts needed, but I don’t get why there isn’t a short summary right at the beginning of each lab like in most other LAB books. The book is packed with information, but I still don’t believe the excuse that there wasn’t enough room to include a short list. The instructions, drawings, and goals of the labs should be clear: This is what you will learn, this is what you need this is what you need to do, review. This book doesn’t seem like it was meant to stand alone.
As other reviewers said, the book is also full of typos and obvious errors beginning with the first chapter, so you must refer to another secondary document to make sure you aren't memorizing/learning the wrong information.
I think this book is more for someone taking a course with a professor there to guide them through it than something a beginner will be able to pick up and be able to complete without the help of other reference books or tutors. I thought it could function as a stand-alone book, but I was mistaken. I'm not sure who is giving these 5-star reviews, but I'm guessing that they are engineers who are already familiar with the material. It probably makes great sense to someone who already mastered the topics covered in the book, but it is practically of no use even to someone who is eager to learn the subject and has some experience building and testing circuits.
I've probably had to take 5-6 electronics classes in which I've received all A's, and this book made me feel like I didn't know a thing about electronics. If you are just starting out and trying to learn by yourself, I would recommend you start with another book. If you have access to a professor or tutor or you can take part in a class that walks you through the labs, I'm sure this book is fantastic.
- Some very specific equipment is essential for completing the labs (multi functional prototype board, for example, will set you back for around 500 US dollars) and those requirements are not mentioned anywhere
- Labs are not explained well. Admittedly, I am a newbie. I do require author to list the goals of the lab clearly, explain the means
on how the goals will be reached. None of it present here and I believe this is not excusable for any manual on Engineering, let alone hands-on one!
- Parts that you will require to complete the labs are not listed anywhere as well (yes, book on laboratory exercises does not bother to have a
list of parts you will need to purchase for each lab). People over the internet have compiled several lists (some go up to about another 500 US dollars), author also have some lists on his website. None are mentioning which labs will require which parts from that vast lists. Imagine the fun you will have with the huge box of bits and pieces and trying to match those to each lab!
Summing up all above, I would not recommend you to buy this book. Learn from somewhere else. Get a good textbook and a solid lab manual (Boylestad, for example, for striking difference) and don't give up.
Top reviews from other countries
This weighty tome, comparable to The Art of Electronics itself, could have been considerably better if it had been a hands-on lab course aimed at the reader. It is instead a book about a particular course which requires physical attendance. This becomes apparent early on when the ‘reader’ is asked to identify two ‘black box’ components put together by the lab technician! The labs themselves occasionally fail to provide sufficient instructions or diagrams (circuits) which is not an issue for students attending the course but can be problematic for a reader. A good example is Lab 5L, confused by the addition of superfluous material but at the same time omitting essential detail. It also introduces an additional piece of equipment, a breadboard function generator, which is not specified anywhere. It is possible to set up this experiment but only if you make some significant assumptions. The preface notes that the course “requires no prior knowledge of electronics” – clearly not the case in this Lab. Other labs unfortunately have text inconsistent with diagrams e.g. 6L.10.
It would have been useful to have had more oscilloscope screenshots of expected outcomes (too many times the reader is asked if a result is what was expected) – again I assume not an issue for those attending the course.
For a 3rd edition published in 2017 I was surprised by the number of typographical and/or grammatical errors (some of which can be found via an internet search) but was shocked to find a mathematical error. Also, why include jargon words in supplementary notes before covering it in the main text e.g. Schmitt trigger?
The most confusing lab was #16. This part of the book introduces the two routes to building a computer but at the same time sets out some of the details for producing a counter. It also requires the use of two specialised pieces of equipment (a keypad and a display) neither of which is available in the UK. So, I took time out to build and program my own versions of both. Having separated the issues in my head around which path to follow from the lab itself – building the counter, I managed to complete everything. The book poses the question, “Does the counter count?” on page 628. Of course not since some of the missing information includes setting up the FPGA and programming it! My version of the XC9572XL is a different package to that ‘described’ in the book (VQ44 instead of PC44) so has an entirely different pinout. Nonetheless a relatively straightforward process if you are conversant with the Xilinx ISE suite (getting this to work on Windows 10 is another story).
Although I have a BSc in Applied Mathematics and a MSc, I am relatively new to electronics, so this book overall proved to be useful and generally well written. It does however require a much better index if it is to be used as a reference work – many times I could not find something I knew I had already read, having to resort to flicking through pages. There is a reasonably high cost associated with some of the components and equipment required for the Labs. You will need an oscilloscope, a function/waveform generator or two, a good power supply as well as some specific components.
It is 1149 pages masterwork of introductory electronics at this level of studies on good but bit thin paper. The text is a nice size for those with specs.
* H.N.D degree, post-degree graduation, Masters?
In my experience, this superb book is mostly towards H.N.D 1 - 2 and first /second-year degree level.
* What's the best bits?
This book is amazing. It builds from Ohms law, (yes really). Then component-level circuits such as in discrete circuit forms with building filters for example and their effects in series and parallel resonances. Then eventually used a system based approach to electronics, starting with transistors, and building simplified opamps into a painless transition into real self-contained Opamps. The effects of capacitive components with circuits is really closely examined and its a real head turner and designed to give you extra marks. MAJOR sections are explored into how to build circuits that are stable in both analogue and digital converter circuits. Again its brilliantly put across. It works with as many self-contained chips and makes systems from these. These are self-contained and clearly explained. This section with opamps have no limit as to what level of study is best, it will be H.N.D and above and I mean degree level upwards. Flip flops are explained as to why they are so important to computing devices. A huge chunk of the latter post half of the book is for microcontrollers and it's a masterwork as its balance what is useful and what not required until later. If your H.N.D project or above has a differing microcontroller than this one featured in this book you would still learn from the generic information.
This book is a special, closely examined and clearly explained the structure of fundamental electronic circuits and is worth the money and time spent reading it. It covers H.N.D and degree electronics in such details it's bound to give you great boosts in marks for your assignments. its a solid foundation for your degree level studies too and will help in degree level. Its a really well explained and observed book on circuits of analogue and digital designs and will do you well to learn from. It's taken me three weeks and a couple of hours per day to get through it. it's the real deal!