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Author Topic: Recommended electronics books for the new hobbyist  (Read 1599 times)
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Ontario, Canada
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Arduino, what a good excuse to really dig into electronics!
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Hi,

I just started with Arduino and I am using that as an excuse to learn electronics as a hobby in a fun way, something I always wanted to do.

A friend suggested Boylesdad's electronic devices  and circuit theory. I want a good textbook that explains electronics and the physics concepts behind it and the components. I am interested not only in using components but also understanding the concepts behind them. I am a techie type, studied in engineering and computer science.

- can anyone suggest other books that teach electronics with a solid foundation ? (university level books are ok too)
- Other books that teach about circuit design for the hobbyist?

Talk to you soon all!
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In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, however in practice there are many...
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there are many links in this thread - http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=181068.0 -
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Practical Electronics for Inventors
Paul Scherz
922 pages
$40
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Lacey, Washington, USA
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Anything with Malvino as one of the authors. "Electronic Principles" is a good one, they are priced as college textbooks but cheaper if you can find them used. Also, the older 1998 edition is a lot less expensive and the principles have not changed.

I'm not a big fan of the latest crop of electronics books for makers, or inventors, or arduino. They don't go into the theory at all. When I was first learning electronics (we never stop) I wanted to know -how- they work. Why do resistors generate noise? What are the different kinds of noise in an Op Amp? What is the Miller Effect and how does it affect frequency response and parasitic oscillations? How does a MOSFET work, and why can it allow current to flow both ways when a BJT (bipolar junction transistor, ie, NPN or PNP) only allow current in one direction?

The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill is a good book, but you'll need a basics textbook first such as the above mentioned book.
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Practical Electronics for Inventors
Paul Scherz
922 pages
$40

This.  Another good one is Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics, 5th Edition.  I recommend them both.  Probably Practical Electronics for Inventors is the more comprehensive.  

A good book if you are totally new to Arduino is Programming Arduino by Simon Monk.  It's tiny but it tells you exactly what you need to know to make stuff work with Arduino and in a linear fashion.  You can work your way through it in a couple of days and hit the highlights of what Arduino can do.

http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Arduino-Getting-Started-Sketches/dp/0071784225/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376900693&sr=1-1&keywords=programming+arduino+monk
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Get this book from Geremy
http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Arduino-Techniques-Engineering-Wizardry/dp/1118549368
It's great for new users and enthusiasts of electronics
it cover all you need to know about programming, Arduino and electronics 
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Not a book, but a pretty good intro: http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/
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I'll also put in my vote for "Electronic Principles" by Paul Malvino.  Mine is the 1984 version, but It's on the shelf at my workbench and used frequently.  Other good titles by the same author:

"Digital Principles and Applications" (go for the newest edition - digital changes rapidly)
"Experiments for Electronic Principles"

I like the "All About Circuits" site too. http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/  They have a pretty good forum over there as well.
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I'm not a big fan of the latest crop of electronics books for makers, or inventors, or arduino. They don't go into the theory at all. When I was first learning electronics (we never stop) I wanted to know -how- they work.

You hit the nail on the head, that is exactly how I feel so far. I am not only interested in knowning how to use a component, but how it works and the theory behind it. It will take me longer to learn, but I think it is more satisfying (for me anyways).

I will take a look at all the suggestions and buy 1 or 2.
Basically I am looking for a college or university level text, afterwards I will play around the net or get some books about circuits and their practical designs.
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Fundamentals of Power Semiconductor Devices
B. J. Baliga
1047 pages
$167
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I'm not a fan of the mixed books. A lot of books on programming the Arduino, most very slim volumes, spend the first 1/3 of the book showing you a resistor, LEDs, transistors, etc. but with only the shallowest of information. Then they barely cover beginning programming before the book ends.

I like Simon Monk's book, "Programming Arduino: Getting Started with Sketches" precisely because after introducing you to different types of Arduinos, he goes right into programming and gets a lot more in depth than any of the other books I've read.
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I'm not a big fan of the latest crop of electronics books for makers, or inventors, or arduino. They don't go into the theory at all. When I was first learning electronics (we never stop) I wanted to know -how- they work.

You hit the nail on the head, that is exactly how I feel so far. I am not only interested in knowning how to use a component, but how it works and the theory behind it. It will take me longer to learn, but I think it is more satisfying (for me anyways).

I will take a look at all the suggestions and buy 1 or 2.
Basically I am looking for a college or university level text, afterwards I will play around the net or get some books about circuits and their practical designs.

You know what, for a lot of people I disagree.  If you throw theory at them first there is nothing real that they have touched to allow them to make sense of it, they can't understand it, and they walk away.  The way I have approached programming and now electronics is to start doing stuff before I completely understand it so I at least have some accomplishment and frame of reference, then dive into the theory, and then go back into practice.  Hobby electronics isn't like designing military electronics or anything like that.  Very few lives will be lost getting your hands dirty first and then you can make it all neat with a few textbook reads and hopefully a community college class or two.

If the first thing I ever did with computer programming was an algorithms and data structures class or a discrete math course and not Atari BASIC (after Star Raiders, of course), I probably wouldn't be a professional programmer now.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 08:09:44 pm by JoeN » Logged

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You make a good point,

I think I am already headed this way as I am tinkering and learning at the same time, reading the textbooks as I feel like it.
I already bought a few arduinos and getting equiped with tools and basic supplies.

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I'm not a big fan of the latest crop of electronics books for makers, or inventors, or arduino. They don't go into the theory at all. When I was first learning electronics (we never stop) I wanted to know -how- they work.

You hit the nail on the head, that is exactly how I feel so far. I am not only interested in knowning how to use a component, but how it works and the theory behind it. It will take me longer to learn, but I think it is more satisfying (for me anyways).

I will take a look at all the suggestions and buy 1 or 2.
Basically I am looking for a college or university level text, afterwards I will play around the net or get some books about circuits and their practical designs.


MIT open courseware lecture notes perhaps?
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Ontario, Canada
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Very good idea, thanks.

I will search for more, but this one could be nice.
MIT opencourseware seems great. They have quite a few in electronics
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/find-by-topic/

This one for example.. There are more.
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-002-circuits-and-electronics-spring-2007/
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