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Review of Terrell: Op Amps Design, Application, and Troubleshooting

According to the author, this text is appropriate for use in resident electronic schools. Only basic algebra is used, the calculations are done step by step, not leaving out any intermediate step, and showing the calculations using the numerical values. This shoud be very helpful for everyone who has not much practice with algebra. At the end of each chapter there are review questions (no answers are given). However, these are are only qualitative questions (e.g. what will happen if you increase the value of the feedback resistor). It is however assumed that the reader is familiar with the basic concepts of electronics. The first chapter contains a short review of KVl, KCL, Thevenin's and Norton's theorem (take a look at basic linear circuit analysis for longer treatments of this subject).

The text not only covers Op Amps and their applications, but also comparators, oscillators, active filters, power supply circuits, signal processing circuits, ADCs and DACs. In addition to the ideal Op Amp, the text also provides good explanations or the important parameters of real OP Amps.

Most chapters are structured according to the following pattern: For each circuit that is discussed, there is first a section called Operation, in which the circuit is described. Then a section called Numerical Analysis that shows how the important parameters like output voltage or frequency can be computed for a given circuit. And finally a section called Practical Design Techniques, which is the best section. Here the author shows you how you can actually design a circuit of this kind. He starts with the performance requirements, and shows you how to select and calculate the components of the circuit, so that the circuit can fulfill the requirements. Of course this is a simplified view of the real design process. In the real world, the hardest part is to choose the most appropriate type of circuit for a given specification (or even to invent a new circuit if none of the existing ones satisfies all of your needs). Once you have decided about the type of circuit, selecting and calculating the components is the more simple step. Nevertheless, it is an important step, and if you work through all the examples in the text then you are well prepared for this part of the design process.

Like so many other texts, this book often uses the old 741 Op Amp as an example, because, as the author correctly writes, this Op Amp is still used in major electronics schools. Sadly, this completes the vicious circle: Authors continue to use the 741 as an example because it is still used in schools, and professors who have to select an Op Amp for their labs choose the 741 because it is used in the textbooks. Just remember that many Op Amps with much better specs are available today.

Most of the chapters contain a section on troubleshooting at the end. This sections are very short, but contain some useful and practical advice.

You may also be interested in some recommendations for other books on Op Amps or other troubleshooting resources.

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