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Practical Electronics for Inventors 2/E 2nd Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071452816
ISBN-10: 0071452818
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover


This intuitive, applications-driven guide to electronics doesn't overload you with technical detail. Instead, it tells you -- and shows you -- what basic and advanced electronics parts and components do, and how they work. Practical Electronics for Inventors offers over 750 hand-drawn images that provide clear, detailed instructions that can help turn theoretical ideas into realities.

Covering the entire field of electronics, from basics through analog and digital, AC and DC, integrated circuits (ICs), semiconductors, stepper motors and servos, ICD displays, and various input/output devices, this guide even includes a full chapter on the latest microcontrollers. If you want to succeed in turning your ideas into workable electronic gadgets and inventions, this is THE book.

This revised, improved, and completely updated second edition reflects suggestions offered by the loyal hobbyists, students, and inventors who made the first edition a bestseller.

Reader-suggested improvements in this guide include:

  • Thoroughly expanded and improved theory chapter
  • New sections covering test equipment, optoelectronics, microcontroller circuits, and more
  • Answered problems throughout the book

Practical Electronics for Inventors takes you through reading schematics, building and testing prototypes, purchasing electronic components, and safe work practices. You'll find all this in a guide that's destined to get your creative -- and inventive -- juices flowing.

New projects, sample problems, and much more!

Starting with a light review of electronics history, physics, and math, the book provides an easy-to-understand overview of all major electronic elements, including:

  • Basic passive components
  • Resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers
  • Discrete passive circuits
  • Current-limiting networks, voltage dividers, filter circuits, attenuators
  • Discrete active devices
  • Diodes, transistors, thrysistors
  • Microcontrollers
  • Rectifiers, amplifiers, modulators, mixers, voltage regulators

About the Author

Paul Scherz is a physicist/mechanical engineer who received his B.S. in physics from the University of Wisconsin. His area of interest in physics focuses on elementary particle interactions. Paul is an inventor/hobbyist in electronics, an area he grew to appreciate through his experience at the University's Department of Nuclear Engineering Physics and the Department of Plasma Physics.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 952 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics; 2 edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071452818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071452816
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.3 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric Johanson on July 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book's intended audience is the serious engineer (probably with an engineering degree in a field other than electronics) looking to get into electronics. The book's title hints at this, and the book delivers on this level. This book is too advanced for the neophyte dabbler without any math background, who will quickly get lost in the math and the lack of "cookbook" examples. Make no mistake, there are plenty of example circuits, but they're provided to illustrate concepts-- they're not intended to be a recipe for constructing a real circuit (that's for the engineer to do!)

MATH: To appreciate this book, you must have a decent math background. This includes a solid working knowledge of advanced algebra and trigonometry, along with a 10000 foot view of calculus. A full working knowledge of actually solving differential equations is NOT required, but it's extremely helpful to know what derivatives and integrals look like and what they generally mean. However, the author never requires that you actually know how to solve any differential equations. Also, this book uses complex number theory, but the author provides all the details of complex number theory in the book, so there is no need to know it before reading.

After all those caveats, this is an excellent comprehensive introductory book on virtually all fundamental phenomenon and components of electronics. This includes the physics of the various electrical phenomenon, the real-life components that make up electronic circuits, and the basic "building-block" circuits that real-life circuits are built from. See the table of contents in Amazon's "look-inside" feature for an idea of the scope of topics.
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Format: Paperback
Just got the second edition. Most of the errors are still there. Glaring math errors. Schematic errors. Simple Example: 100 Watts/12 Volts is NOT 0.8 Amps. It's 8.4 Amps. Nor is 1.5 Volts * .1 Amps = .1 Watts. Both of these errors appear on page 15. These are minor examples. There are many others that aren't so minor and will send you down the wrong path. The errors are frequent and irritating. Basically, this is a resource only useful to readers willing to double check every concept before applying any of it. Hardly "practical".
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Format: Paperback
Ok, so I see people praising this book and hating it. Those kind of reviews bug me because I can never make up my mind on a book. Fortunately, I bought this book already and didn't read these reviews.

Here's my take. I'm 8 years out of college and working for a big electronics company. I like this book. I need something to help me tinker with electronics and at the same time provide theory. I like the balance that this book strikes. I want to be able to look up old semiconductor company IC logos and at the same time read about RLC ckts resonating. That practical knowledge is hard to come by. There are plenty of good theory books, but I'm tired of amassing a library of many specialized, academic-style books. This book is not a text book, so the "inventor" part of the title should be paid attention to. If you want practice questions for theory understanding, buy a Schaum's Outline. This is the book to grab if you want to suddenly look up a basic logic gate that you forgot or you want to learn/review FM radio.

This book and Art of Electronics will get you into electronics with practical understanding. Get those and some of Forrest Mim's books for simple projects and you'll be good to go.

Good luck.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first edition was great, but was plagued with errors and typos. The second edition has many of these corrected, but unfortunately many remain. I've started collecting them in amazon's wiki, at the bottom of the product page, and I hope you will contribute too as you find errors.

The second edition also has a greatly expanded theory section. It's improved in many ways--for example the explanation of what inductors do and how they work is now correct. But it is much longer, and you might not want to read all about magnetic fields and non-ideal capacitive effects in inductors if you really just want to know what inductors do in a circuit.

Overall, you get a huge amount of information for a low price, and it includes a lot of detailed practical information that it's hard to find in textbooks.
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Format: Paperback
About 10% of the figures seem to contain errors. Some trivial (like units) and others more unacceptable (Op-amp oscillator in figure 9.2 has + and - inputs the wrong way round). This is not the 1st edition, so many errors of a sometimes critical nature is simply shoddy work.

Conceptually it is a truly excellent resource of >900 pages. No strangely named circuits or jargon are left untouched. V. broad coverage of topics. Finally, some explanations of how circuits work. I'm astonished by the casual way in which circuits are usually presented without any explanation of their inner workings. Here we get a very plain and understandable explanation; I am not a young child but I appreciate the text's great simplicity in this regard.

If it were error free and contained the wealth of circuits that Forrest Mims provides, it would be 5 stars. Dollar per page, it's a fantastic bargain. You can secretly download it via torrent for free, but in this case the real thing is worth having.
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