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Review of Franco: Design with Operational Amplifiers and Analog Integrated Circuits

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

This popular textbook is a nice mix of theory and practical advice. You should already have some knowledge about electronics, Op Amps and mathematics, at the level of an advanced EE undergrad student. The first chapter covers the fundamentals of Op Amps, but if you have never heard about Op Amps before it is probably a bit too short for a first introduction. To understand the discussion about stability and dynamic Op Amp limitations you should be familiar with frequency domain analysis techniques. If you want an easier introduction to Op Amps, you should have a look at the popular Op Amps For Everyone by Mancini.

In addition to the fundamental Op Amp equations and circuits, the text covers the static and dynamic parameters of real Op Amps. It explains in detail why these non-ideal parameters exist, the various techniques that the Op Amp manufacturers can use to minimize them, and the consequences that they have for the circuit designer. Noise and stability are also discussed. The text not only covers Op Amps and the circuits in which they are used, but also instrumentation amplifiers, comparators, signal generators (not only circuits that can be built using Op Amps but also those that use dedicated integrated ICs), voltage references, A-D and D-A converters and PLLs. Two chapters of the book discuss the design of active filters.

One minor thing I did not like, is that the book mentions the old 741 so often (to be fair, it has this in common with many other textbooks, but it is still regrettable). It mentions the parameters of some nice Op Amps like the LT1028 when it discusses low noise Op Amps and other special topics, and shows the circuit diagrams of some of them. But when it comes to a discussion of general Op Amps and their parameters, the author often chooses the 741 and its (rather inferior) data as an example. And the only Op Amp for which the data sheet is shown is the 741. This does not make the book less useful, but every time you see the 741 mentioned as an example, you should remember that Op Amps with much better parameters are available, even for a low price.

Examples with solutions are integrated in the main text so that you can immediately test whether you understood everything correctly. Also very good are the many problems at the end of each chapter, but unfortunately there are no solutions for them. The text shows some listings of PSpice text files so that you can run some simulations to confirm what you have just learned.

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

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