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Recommendations for Basic Linear Circuit Analysis Books

On this page you can find some resources for the analysis of basic linear circuits. As a mathematical prerequisit, elementary algebra will be sufficient for the analysis of (simple) DC circuits. But if you want to analyse AC circuits, you will need a basic knowledge of complex numbers, so you might want to take a look at one or more of this Introductions to Complex Numbers.

The free e-book Lessons In Electric Circuits (allaboutcircuits) is not meant as a pure theoretical text. But the first two volumes ( DC and AC ) contain (among other topics) a very good introduction to the basic analysis of circuits, even if you have very little prior knowledge. If you are in a hurry to learn the theory of analysing cicruits, you might skip the other chapters like (in the DC volume) Electrical Safety, DC Metering Circuits, Electrical Instrumentation Signals, Batteries and Power Systems and Physics of Conductors and Isulators. In the AC volume you might skip the chapters on AC Metering Circuits, AC Motors and Transmission Lines. For obvious reasons, you should come back to the Electrical Safety chapter and study it very carefully before you start to actually build any electrical circuits. Topics in the DC volume include KVL and KCL, Branch and Mesh Current and Node Voltage method, Millmans, Thevenins and Nortons Theorem, Delta Wye conversions. The time domain treatment of simple circuits with L and C does not use calculus, it only presents a qualitative description of these circuits. The treatment in the frequency domain (in the AC volume) is much better, it contains a very good and intuitive explanation of phase. Complex numbers are also covered. For several circuits a frequency plot (generated by Spice) is shown, but what is missing is an in depth treatment of Bode plots. You should test your knowledge by answering the questions in the Socratic Electronics Project, scroll down to the chapters DC Electric circuits, AC Electric Circuits and Network Analysis Techniques.

The Basic Electronics Tutorials by Storr take you forward a little faster than Lessons in Electric Circuits. For the analysis of basic linear circuits, please take a look at the tutorials on DC Theory, on RC Networks, and on AC Theory.

If you prefer a traditional textbook with it's close integration of problems into the main text, you should have a look at Introductory Circuit Analysis by Boylestad, it contains some topics that are a bit more advanced than in Kuphaldt's books.

Sunghoon Jang from New York City College of Technology has created two course modules that are based on the instructors material from Boylestads "Introductory Circuit Analysis". ET162 Circuit Analysis is about DC circuits, ET242 Circuit Analysis II is about AC circuits.

If you already know about circuit analysis and want a short refresher, have a look a the Flash presentation Electronic Circuit Theory by the good Professor Owlbert. Only DC circuits are discussed, time dependent elements like L and C are not covered. It is an original and enjoyable presentation, but if you want to learn about the topic from the beginning you should better look at the works of Kuphaldt or Boylestad I mentioned above.

The books and sites I mentioned so far do not assume prior knowledge of mathematics (except for Algebra). But if you already know about differential equations (for a refresher, see the Math for Physics and Engineering page), you could also have a look at resources that are a bit more advanced, like the Introduction to Electronics, Signals and Measurement by Chaniotakis and Cory.

Very good and comprehensive (more than 900 pages!) are the free lecture notes Electronics and Circuits by McLean, University of Technology, Sydney. They contain detailed explanations and lots of exercises with answers.

The book Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits by Agarwal and Lang contains (among other things) also a very good treatment of linear circuit analysis. You can get a good idea about the topics that are covered by looking at the free MIT online course (OCW) Circuits and Electronics which was prepared by the authors of the book. Especially the videos are very interesting.

Once you have understood how to analyse the simple linear configurations, you are in a good position to continue with the Analysis and Design of Electronic Circuits. This will be much more interesting, because it will lay the foundations for designing your own real world circuits.

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