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Review of Green: ANALOG SEEKrets

Download ANALOG SEEKrets by Leslie Green (588 pages, 2007, 9.2 MB) - gratuitously hosted by the EEVblog

In this book you will find lots of great advice that will help you to design analog circuits - if you already have a theoretical background in electronics, it is not for the beginner. Downloading this book for free is absolutely legal and even encouraged by the author - although he would appreciate a financial contribution if you like the book. For details please go to the books homepage and scroll down to the "AUTHOR'S PDF VERSION" heading.

This is a great book on analog electronics design, and you get it for free! However, it will not be useful for everybody. The author says that the book is "for senior under-graduates or junior design engineers who want to broaden their horizons on their way to becoming ‘expert’ in the field of electronics design". In addition to this, I think that also the (advanced) amateur designer can profit from this book. As a prerequisite you should have the theoretical background that is necessary to design analog circuits, you can find some resources here.

One can roughly divide the chapters of the book into two categories: Those that deal with individual components, and those that give practical advice on analog electronics design in general.

To the first category belong the chapters 4 (resistor), 5 (potentiometer), 6 (capacitor), 7 (inductor), 8 (diode), 9 (transistor), 10 (opamp), 11 (ADC and DAC), and 12 (relay). The number of pages that the author dedicated to each component probably differs from what you have seen in other books. For example, it is rare to have separate chapters for resistors and potentiometers (with a total of 25 pages). And a humble component like the relay has 12 pages devoted to it. On the other hand, the "Imperfections", i.e. characteristics of real world Op Amps - the central building block of a typical analog circuit - are just summarized on two pages! This may seem strange at first, but I think that Green is fully justified in doing so: There are zillions of texts that explain the characteristics of Op Amps to you (please take a look at my Op Amp page for some examples). But from typical textbooks you may only remember the general function of a relay (and, hopefully, that you need at least a flyback diode for protection). So the extra space that the author devotes to these components is fully justified.

The chapters that give more general advice are the chapters 2 (called "an advanced class", a mixed bag containing advice concerning reliability, what it means to be a professional engineer and a very valuable "Pre-Supervisor Checklist" on page 9), 3 (tolerancing), 13 (rating and de-rating), 14 (circuit principles), 15 (measurement equipment), 16 (measurement techniques), 17 (design principles), 18 (temperature control), 19 (lab/workshop practice) and finally 20 (electronics and the law). Please do not let this boring title fool you. Even if legal regulations are not a concern to you because you are working on a device that will never "escape" from your laboratory, you will find here (among other stuff) some very important information about EMC, including an interesting example of how Green fixed a particular nasty problem.

Perhaps it is a good idea to take a look at these "general" chapters first, if you have no practical experience in a professional environment yet. The chapters on components will expand your knowledge about them, but much of the information will probably not come as a complete surprise. On the other hand, the other chapters contain lots of information about the work of a professional design engineer. This information cannot be derived from the theory found in textbooks, so these chapters might have the greatest value for you. Examples include Design Maintenance (p.86) and Second Sourcing (p.327) - you might not even have heard the terms until now.

One (minor) quirk is that in some places the book is structured in a strange way (at least this is what it seems to me). Here are the places where I found some topics where I would not have expected them - I just mention this so you will not miss them:

The above mentioned section on Design Maintenance (section 6.11, p.86) is in the chapter about capacitors, even though it obviously applies to other components as well.

On p.187 starts a section on PCB Layout Rules, in the chapter on ADC and DAC converters

On p.192, at end of the chapter on ADC and DAC converters, the "Roll Mode" of DSOs is explained.

On p.356 starts section 17.11 about filters, I would rather have expected a separate chapter for this.

At the end of the book are an Encyclopedic Glossary (starting at p.426) and an Appendix (p.522). The appendix is a completely unstructured collection of various short topics. My advice is to start reading the book with the 20 "regular" chapters and then (after you have convinced yourself that Green has an tremendous amount of great advice for you) to browse through the appendix and see if there are some nuggets of wisdom that are interesting for you too.

You might also be interested in some recommendations for other books on practical analog electronics.

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