Electronics Calculations Data Handbook by Daniel McBrearty by Daniel McBrearty - Read Online

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Electronics Calculations Data Handbook - Daniel McBrearty

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Part One

Basic Concepts

Introduction to Part One

In this part of the book we take a look at the founding principles of electronics, from voltage, current and Ohms Law to some basic ways to analyse circuits mathematically. If you know all of this then skip it, using it for reference as required. If not then read on.

I have tried to arrange ideas so that you are introduced to them sequentially, but this is a bit impractical in places. So if you are a real newcomer to electronics I’d like to suggest two readings; the first to get an overview of each topic, the second to cross-refer between them and to begin to see how they relate to each other.

1

Fundamentals

To the beginner

Before getting into the technical stuff, we might wish to ask ourselves what electricity is. My first recollection of thinking about it (though I did not know that I was) is of being a child and dismantling a prized radio to find out that no one was inside; just a mind-boggling collection of small coloured objects which evidently were not sweets, though some looked like them. My first direct experience of electricity was more sudden; an electric shock from a bar fire while trying to melt some plastic on it. I knew it was hot, but hadn’t expected that! Later I came across the manual for a record player and amplifier in the house, which was old-fashioned enough to come with a circuit diagram. I was fascinated by it. It meant something to someone, but these hieroglyphics were like no language that I could figure out.

Later I took a technician’s course, and a confusing set of concepts was presented to me as explanation for this unseen and magical force. Electricity, I had now realised, is used in a huge range of ways; recording sound, reproducing pictures, lighting our darkness and a lot else besides. All this was, they told me, due to unseen little balls which whiz around in some materials, creating equally unseen lines which can cause little balls in other places to whiz around as well. And this the mental territory of staid, rational looking people who would probably claim that they don’t believe in magic.

I have to confess that, some years later, I have still not seen the little balls or the lines which they fling about, and I’m not very sure that I really understand them. But I have managed a reasonable career as a technician and an engineer, and I believe that I would have a fair chance of fixing my cassette machine, TV or house wiring should they misfunction. On the whole, I have not thought about the antics of little balls very much (though I suppose that it helps to know that they are there). Electricity looks, in my mind, more like water, wires like pipes, resistors like very thin pipes, capacitors like pairs of half-filled balloons which squash against each other, and inductors like – well something else. (I never said that the analogy was complete or