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Review of Carter, Mancini: Op Amps for Everyone, 3rd Edition

Newnes, 2009, 3rd Edition, 648 pages

Please note that a newer edition of this book is available, but I have not yet reviewed that one.

Before ordering this book, take a look at the free version of Op Amps for Everyone. It was written earlier, contains less chapters and a few more typos than this 3rd edition, but you will be able to see if it is the right book for you. In the following review I will only cover the additional chapters of the 3rd edition, for the other chapters please see the review of the free version.

The first new chapter has the strange name "Beyond Case 4". It shows a few additional single supply op amp circuits that were not covered in the free edition. The chapter "Fully Differential Op Amps" covers a special kind of op amps with a second output of opposite polarity. Knowing about them is interesting for the advanced designer, but if you are a beginner I would advise to skip this chapter and focus on understanding the "normal" op amp first.

Very useful is the chapter "Interfacing an Op Amp to an Analog to Digital Converter". It provides a very long list of questions that should be asked when selecting a suitable pair of op amp and ADC converter. The experienced designer can use these questions as a check list to make sure that he has not forgotten anything important during the selection process. For the new designer it may be hard to understand the significance of some of the questions (if would have been even better if Carter had provided one or two design examples) but at least he will know where he needs to learn more.

The intention of the chapter "Using Op Amps for RF Design" is to help designers who are familiar with RF systems, but have not used op amps before to make the transition. It shortly mentions the advantages and disadvantages of using op amps for RF designs and then discusses several problems and new definitions that are specific to op amps. It should be quite useful for experienced RF designers, but if you do not know about RF yet you should just skip this chapter.

The chapter "Fast, Practical Filter Design for Beginners" provides a cookbook approach to designing standard filters with op amps. The next new chapter, "High Speed Filter Design", is something for the specialist: It provides a very detailed comparison of several filter topologies, including Monte Carlo simulations and measurement results.

The chapter "Common Application Mistakes" is probably the most useful of the new chapters. Carter discusses some of the most frequent problems that he has encountered as an application engineer and their remedies. They include op amps that are operated at less than unity, op amps that are incorrectly used as comparators, the improper termination of unused op amp sections, DC components of AC signals that can drive the op amp into saturation, special problems with current feedback amplifiers and fully differential amplifiers. And finally what Carter calls the number 1 mistake: Wrong decoupling capacitors.

There is also a new appendix called "Terminating Differential Amplifiers". The old (and quite useful) appendix "Single Supply Op Amp Selection Guide" is missing from the 3rd edition, but you can find it in the free edition - please see the link near the top of this page.

You should also take a look at some recommendations for other books on Op Amps.

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