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Lessons in Electric Circuits

AuthorTony R. Kuphaldt Entered2000-12-16 12:00:00 by bcrowell
Editedit data record FreedomCopylefted: anyone can read, modify, and sell (disclaimer)
SubjectT.K - Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering
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http://www.ibiblio.org/kuphaldt
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An excellent practical and intuitive introduction
by Ben Crowell (crowell09 at stopspam.lightandmatter.com (change 09 to current year)) on 2001-01-20 12:54:37, review #105
http://www.lightandmatter.com
content
better than 80%
writing
typical
I originally read and reviewed the version of this book that was on the web as of Dec. 17, 2000, at which point it was about half complete. Since then the author has done some significant work on the book. Although I haven't reread the new version of the book in its entirety, I've tried to modify my review to reflect the improvements I observed.

As a physics teacher, I'm accustomed to teaching electric circuits from the point of view that one starts with Maxwell's equations and then tries to find ways to simplify them so that students can understand what's going on. This high-powered approach is of course not the way that most people learn about electricity -- not even most electrical engineers! This book provides a more concrete and straightforward approach. Physical quantities are often defined by analogy rather than in fundamental physical terms, but the analogies are always appropriate both mathematically and conceptually. The equation P=IE, for example, is introduced via the metaphor of a car engine, in which current corresponds to RPMs and the voltage drop is like torque.

Kuphaldt starts out with a very clear explanation of static electricity and how it relates to current electricity. Reading between the lines, I can see that the author has a great deal of experience with the difficulties students experience forming the basic mental current-voltage model of electrical phenomena. The mathematical level in this part of the book is not demanding. Students are shown the pie-chart representation of Ohm's law, and gently informed that if they are comfortable with algebra, they will be able to dispense with it. The book does use more math later, including exponentials and complex numbers.

The book seems relatively free of typos and grammatical errors, the quality of the layout is significantly improved since I originally reviewed the book, and there is now a printer-friendly version. Although some of the visual and intuitive descriptions are not as rigorous as I'm used to in a physics course, the book seemed accurate in general.

Conflict of interest disclaimer: After I reviewed the book and gave Tony Kuphaldt some comments on it, he added my name to the list of contributors.

Information wants to be free, so make some free information.


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Generic Information
by Ryan Scott on 2005-01-10 14:12:24, review #439
content
substandard
writing
typical
The information contained in this text is mostly generic and is extremely basic. It is not suitable for use even by technicians. Academically and industrially, a text like this would most likely be associated with a course of Industrial Electronics.

However, even books on industrial electronics for non-engineers that are written for technicians have all of the information inluded here and more. The semiconductors chapter, probably the most important, has all but the most basic information; the fundamental diode equation is not even introduced. The content is clearly substandard because any printed book I have ever seen on electronics (under the headings of Electric Circuits or Industrial Electronics, etc.) has much better, higher quality content.

If you are looking for a good, basic book on electronics requiring no knowledge of Calculus, I would recommend the books by Floyd or Industrial Electronis by Maloney. Those texts or something like Circuit Analysis: Theory and Practice by Robbins and Miller are much better, more complete, and contain all the information one needs to be up and running with electronics without Calculus. Further, the equations and more advanced topics are not conveniently hidden from the reader.

I simply do not want one to become frustrated with the lack of practical examples, theory, and troubleshooting this book provides. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a better free resource on the Web. But if you really want to learn these topics to the point that you can apply them, look elsewhere.


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The contents of this web page, except the parts contributed by members of The Assayer, are copyright (c) 2000 by Benjamin Crowell, and are copyleft licensed under the Open Publication License 1.0, without options A or B.