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Education The Internet Science

New Interactive Basic Electronics Textbook Launched Online (circuitlab.com) 37

Long-time Slashdot reader compumike writes: The group that first brought schematics and circuit simulation to the browser has now released the first few chapters of Ultimate Electronics: Practical Circuit Design and Analysis, an interactive online textbook for people learning electronics. The materials released today cover about half of a first semester undergraduate electronics course.
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New Interactive Basic Electronics Textbook Launched Online

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:38AM (#54824139)

    I'm a rank beginner and I'm interested in this subject but I browsed through a couple of chapters and they seem pretty dense and beyond what I would consider a basic undergraduate course, at least for a first-timer. I appreciate the effort though.

    • by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:51AM (#54824181)

      Quite. Any electronics course that starts with Chapter 1: Algebraic Approximations, the first section of which is entitled Large Asymptotic Approximation, strikes me as being more theoretical than practical and certainly not for beginners.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That really is where basic circuit analysis starts. Perhaps you should follow the links to the online prerequisite courses.

      • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @06:45AM (#54824303)

        No, that is exactly where it must start. I'm sorry but designing anything more useful than an LED chaser or blinking WS2812 lights requires mathematics.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@NOSPAM.world3.net> on Monday July 17, 2017 @09:18AM (#54824911) Homepage Journal

          Designing complex circuits does require maths, but not on the level this thing starts out with.

          Of much more practical use would be to learn about all the basic component types. Maths wise all you really need is V=IR and you can design a huge number of useful circuits, from power supplies to complex digital systems. Throw in a little theory about op-amp operation, which is really basic maths, and you can do a whole lot of analogue stuff too.

          This is a beginners course. Lot of people learn by doing, in fact it's much more common than people who learn by reading alone. That's why most books start with practical examples and measuring stuff.

        • The Art of electronics manages not to start with this, and it has a non-trivial amount of math in it.
      • by Plus1Entropy ( 4481723 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @10:04AM (#54825199)

        I'm an Electrical Engineer and I don't have a clue what Large Asymptotic Approximation is. After reading the chapter here [circuitlab.com] I can say that yes these techniques are used, but generally on fairly complex or advanced circuits, usually containing active elements.

        Such approximations are necessary when a full closed-form solution is prohibitively complicated and the error in the approximation is sufficiently small. So yeah, definitely not an introductory technique.

    • by quetwo ( 1203948 )

      Grab the book "Make: Electronics (Learning by Discovery)". This is by far, the best book I've found for beginners. I used it for classes I teach at the HS level as well at our maker space. It demonstrates a lot of concepts pictorially, and also explains the science behind it.

      • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

        For the kids who are sleeping in class, you can put them in a corner with an oscilloscope and a copy of The Forrest Mims books. "Getting Started in Electronics".

  • Is there something similar for programming?
      • Thanks, I'll check that out. I was thinking along the lines of a site where you could have a live-updated split screen where the results of entered program text commands would be displayed graphically by highlighting both the CLI and the GUI. Say, for example, the Unix cat or cut commands - illustrating exactly what they do via live animation.

        Maybe such a thing already exists and I'm using the wrong keywords to find it and maybe I'm not explaining clearly what I mean (which could be ironic - trying to e
  • Kudos! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2017 @07:21AM (#54824407)

    [Disclaimer] I just skimmed it, I really should be doing something else.

    That said, it looks well-organized and done with attention to detail. Kudos for tackling the hard stuff right on -- and to the beginners out there: don't fear to take that first step. It will pay off.

    Totally kudos for being *really* usable without javascript. See, I'm the usual anti-javascript whiner around here[1]. Now I understand that the embedded simulations won't work for a javascript-challenged browser, that's OK; moreover, for me the formulae look TeXy -- I understand that they look much nicer to javascript-friendlier browsers, courtesy of (guessing here, didn't look) MathJax, but the thing is I'm fluent enough in TeX (you gotta, if you don't "do" javascript, right?) and TeX is a *much* nicer fallback than (gasp!) MathML or whatever.

    It's not often that you can see these days someone going the extra mile to have their pages "degrade" gracefully. *Very* gracefully: the book still looks & feels gorgeous to us ascets.

    Kudos, overall.

    [1] Yes, I'm one of those folks who learnt as a child to not put everything I find on the street into his mouth.

  • When I took first year electronics in community college in the early 1990's, all the formulas were presented with the circuits but the math was never presented in any detail. Second year electronics required taking Electronic Math as a separate course. I didn't finish that course. Mostly because I hadn't taken algebra yet, which wasn't a prerequisite for the class, and the concepts were taught in isolation from any hands-on circuitry. I changed majors anyway since electronics was on the way out and computer
  • You can easily tell that this is not a course in basic electronics: there isn't a single chapter on vacuum tubes. All the basic electronics textbooks I used covered vacuum tubes right after capacitors and inductors.

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