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Electronics from the Ground Up: Learn by Hacking, Designing, and Inventing

Book Description

Discover the inner-workings of electronics through innovative hands-on experiments

Are you fascinated by the power of even the smallest electronic device? Electronics from the Ground Up guides you through step-by-step experiments that reveal how electronic circuits function so you can advance your skills and design custom circuits. You’ll work with a range of circuits and signals related to optical emitters and receivers, audio, oscillators, and video.

This practical resource explains components, construction techniques, basic test equipment, circuit analysis, and troubleshooting. Photographs, schematics, equations, and graphs are included throughout. By the end of the book, you’ll be able to hack and modify existing circuits to create your own unique designs.

Do-it-yourself experiments cover:

  • Batteries, lamps, and flashlights
  • Light emitters and receivers
  • Diodes, rectifiers, and associated circuits
  • Transistors, FETs, and vacuum tubes
  • Amplifiers and feedback
  • Audio signals and circuits
  • Oscillators
  • AM and FM signals and circuits
  • Video basics, including video signals
  • Video circuits and systems

“Excellent… Nothing can replace hands-on experience and Quan immerses the hobbyist/designer right into the fray up to their elbows.”—EDN Magazine

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents
  5. Preface
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Part One Beginning Electronics
    1. 1 Introduction
      1. Goal of This Book
    2. 2 Components and Schematics
      1. Wires
      2. Wire Tools
      3. Batteries
      4. A “First Hack” on Batteries
      5. The Series Circuit and Battery Holders
      6. A “Second Hack”: Increasing Battery Life on an LED Keychain Light
      7. From Yesteryear: A “Third Hack” by Converting a AA Cell Into a Penlight
      8. Eat Your Spinach and Make a Flashlight!
      9. Brief Overview of Voltage, Current, Resistance, and Power
      10. Resistors
        1. It’s All Greek to Me, But It’s Good
      11. Capacitors
      12. Inductors or Coils
      13. Semiconductors
        1. Diodes and Rectifiers
        2. Amplifying Devices
        3. Bipolar Transistors
        4. Vacuum Tubes
      14. Integrated Circuits as Amplifiers and Logic Gates
      15. Schematic Diagrams
      16. References
    3. 3 Construction Techniques and Simple Test Equipment
      1. Solderless Circuit Construction Techniques
      2. Let’s Do the Twist—Twisting Wires to Build Circuits
      3. Knock on Wood—A Wooden Breadboard
      4. Superstrip Prototype Boards
      5. Soldering Tools
      6. The Art of Pre-Tinning Wires or Connections
      7. Examples of Various Solder Joints
      8. Prototype Circuits via Soldering
      9. Vector or Perforated Boards
      10. Building the LM386 Audio Amplifier on a Vector Board
      11. Simple Test Equipment: Battery Testers and VOMs
      12. Using a Standard Volt-Ohm-Milliamp Meter (VOM) as a Battery Tester
      13. Parts List
      14. References
    4. 4 Light Emitters and Receivers
      1. Incandescent Lamps
      2. An Experiment with a #222 Penlight Bulb
        1. Parts List
      3. Light-Emitting Diodes
        1. Driving LEDs
        2. Light Output Specifications for LEDs
      4. LEDs Compared with Incandescent Lamps
      5. Experiments with LEDs
        1. LED Experiment 1
        2. Parts List
        3. LED Experiment 2
        4. Parts List
      6. Photoreceivers
      7. Photodiode Experiment
        1. Parts List
      8. Experiment for Listening to a Remote Control’s Signals
        1. Parts List
      9. References
    5. 5 Diodes, Rectifiers, and Associated Circuits
      1. Characteristics of Diodes and Rectifiers
        1. Parts List
      2. Converting AC to DC for Power Supplies
      3. DC Restoration Circuits and Voltage Multipliers
      4. Diodes as Switches and Gain-Control Devices
        1. Parts List
      5. Experiment to Measure DC Resistance of Back-to-Back Batteries
        1. Parts List
      6. Diodes as a Gain-Control Circuit
        1. Part List
      7. Radio-Frequency (RF) Mixing with a Diode
      8. Logic Circuits Using Diodes
      9. Variable-Capacitance Diodes
      10. Zener Diodes for Voltage Regulation
        1. Parts List
      11. References
    6. 6 Transistors, FETs, and Vacuum Tubes
      1. Current Sources and Voltage-Controlled Current-Source Devices
      2. Constant Current “Diodes” Using JFETs
      3. Bipolar Transistors as Current Sources
      4. Concept of Measuring Collector Currents and Voltage Gain Due to Changes in Input Signals
      5. Using LEDs as Reference Voltages
      6. Using a Constant Current Source to Provide Low Ripple at the Power Supply’s Output
        1. Parts List
      7. JFETs, MOSFETs, and Vacuum Tubes Used as Current Sources
      8. Brief Summary So Far
      9. Just For Fun: A Low-Power Nightlight Using Transistor Amplifiers and LEDs
        1. Parts List
      10. A Quick Look at Operational Amplifiers (Op Amps)
      11. JFETs and Bipolar Transistor as Voltage-Controlled Resistors
      12. References
  8. Part Two Intermediate-Level Electronics
    1. 7 Amplifiers and Feedback
      1. What Are Negative-Feedback Systems?
      2. Another Look at the Non-Inverting-Gain Operation Amplifier (Op Amp)
      3. Inverting-Gain Configuration
      4. Two Projects: A Photodiode Sensor and an Automatic Level Control Amplifier
        1. Photodiode Sensor
        2. Parts List
        3. Controlling Audio Signal Levels
        4. Parts List
      5. Another Voltage-Controlled Amplifier Circuit
        1. Voltage-Controlled Common Emitter Amplifier
      6. Negative Feedback to Stabilize or Self-Bias Collector Currents
      7. Power Output Stages and Using the VBE Multiplier Circuit
      8. Misadventures in Positive Feedback
      9. Some Considerations When Choosing Op Amps
      10. References
    2. 8 Audio Signals and Circuits
      1. Signal Levels for Microphones, Phono Cartridges, Line Inputs, and Loudspeakers
      2. Balanced or Differential-Mode Audio Signals Used in Broadcast or Recording Studios
      3. Microphone Preamplifier Circuits
      4. Increasing GBWP and Achieving Low Noise with Added Transistors
      5. Moving-Magnet or Magnetic High-Output Phono-Cartridge Preamps
      6. Frequency Response and Phase for Recording and Playing Records
      7. Three RIAA Equalization Phono Preamplifier Projects
        1. First RIAA Phono Preamp
        2. Parts List
        3. Second RIAA Phono Preamp
        4. Parts List
        5. Third Phono Preamplifier: Less Is More?
        6. Parts List
        7. Having Fun with Low-Voltage Tube Amplifiers
      8. Power Supplies for the Preamplifier Circuits
      9. Standard Distortion Tests for Audio Equipment
      10. References
    3. 9 Oscillators
      1. A Brief Overview of Oscillation Systems
      2. Time to Sit Back and Relax for a Relaxation Oscillator (AKA Moving the Goal Posts)
      3. Phase-Shift Oscillators
      4. Wein Bridge Oscillator with Automatic Gain Control to Provide Non-Clipped Sine Waves
      5. A Universal Wein Oscillator Circuit
      6. Relaxation Oscillators
      7. Just for Fun, Build a 555 Timer with a Dual Comparator, FET, and a Flip-Flop
      8. To Wrap Up Relaxation Oscillators, Just Use a 74HC14 or 74AC14 Chip
      9. Radio-Frequency (RF) Oscillators
      10. References
  9. Part Three Advanced Electronics
    1. 10 Amplitude Modulation Signals and Circuits
      1. AM Signals—What Are They? “Hey, Can You Please Turn Down the Volume … Now Can You Turn It Back Up?”
      2. Other Types of AM Signals
      3. Suppressed Carrier AM Signals
      4. Knowing Your I’s and Q’s
      5. Basic Radio Circuits
      6. Tuned Radio-Frequency Radio Projects
      7. First Project: A TRF Radio
        1. Parts List
        2. Solid-State Regenerative Radio
        3. Comparing Regenerative and TRF Radios
        4. Mixing and Beating Signals (aka Heterodyning or Superheterodyne)
        5. Two-Gang Variable Capacitors
        6. Oscillator Coils
        7. IF Transformers
      8. Second Project: A Superhet Using the MK484/TA7642 Chip
        1. Parts List
      9. An Observation on Common-Emitter Amplifiers
      10. References
    2. 11 Frequency Modulation Signals and Circuits
      1. What Are FM Signals?
      2. Experiment No. 1: FM Oscillators Using Voltage-Controlled Capacitance Diodes
        1. Pre-Emphasis and De-Emphasis Transmitting and Receiving Equalization Curves
        2. Observing the Pre-Emphasis and De-Emphasis Effect
        3. FM and a Pre-Emphasis Network
        4. FM Radios
      3. An FM Tuner Project with Ceramic Filter and Resonator
        1. Parts List
      4. A Second FM Radio Project Via Silicon Labs
        1. Parts List
        2. Understanding “Other” FM Detectors from a Top View
      5. References
    3. 12 Video Basics, Including Video Signals
      1. Examining Still Pictures First for Contrast, Brightness, Resolution, and Sharpness
      2. Resolution or Fine Detail of a TV Picture
      3. Aspect Ratio
      4. Enter the Kell Factor
      5. Determining the Number of Scanning Lines Based on Aspect Ratio, Kell Factor, Frame Rate, and Bandwidth
      6. Sharpness and Frequency Response
      7. Batman’s Ears to the Rescue for Image Enhancement
      8. Some Color TV Basics
      9. References
    4. 13 Video Circuits and Systems
      1. How Easy Is It to Make a Brightness and Contrast Video Circuit?
      2. A Sharpness Circuit: Can It Be Simple?
      3. A Video Processor to Adjust for Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness
        1. Parts List
      4. References
    5. 14 High School Mathematics with Electronics
      1. Equation of a Line
      2. Offset Voltages Described by the Y Intercept b
      3. Systems of Linear Equations Used in FM Stereo
      4. Linear Equations for Color Encoding
      5. Polynomials
      6. Negative-Feedback Systems with a (Linear) First-Order-Term Polynomial
      7. Polynomials Used in Determining Distortion Effects of Negative Feedback in Amplifiers
      8. Summary
      9. References
    6. 15 Some Basic Circuit Analysis Techniques
      1. Limitations of Kirchoff’s Laws for Analyzing Circuits Via Loop and Node Equations
      2. Loop Equations
        1. Enter the Zero-Voltage Source
        2. Defining the Direction of the Current and Voltage Drops
        3. Deriving the Voltage Divider Formula Using Positive-Charged Currents
        4. Node Equations to Determine Parallel Resistances
      3. Thevenin Equivalent Circuits
        1. A Practical Example of Analyzing Via the Thevenin Equivalent Circuit
      4. Some AC Circuit Analysis
      5. Simple Transient or Pulse Response to RC Low- and High-Pass Filters
      6. References
    7. 16 A Review and Analysis of What We Have Built So Far
      1. Wein Oscillator RC Feedback Network
      2. A Phono Preamp Revisited
      3. A Look at an Emitter-Follower Circuit
      4. Using the Emitter Output Resistance to Determine Characteristics of a Common-Emitter Amplifier
      5. Analyzing an Inverting-Gain Video Amplifier
      6. Improvements or Variations of Previous Projects
      7. Just for Fun … A Wein Oscillator Using a 60-Watt Light Bulb
      8. A Brief Study on Harmonic Distortion Analysis
      9. Using Differential Gain as a Method to Determine Harmonic Distortion
      10. References
    8. 17 Hacking, Inventing, and Designing
      1. Hacking
      2. Inventions and Patents
      3. Ceramic Filter Oscillator for Wider Frequency Deviation
      4. A Non-Varactor Electronic Variable Capacitor
      5. Class AB Output Stage with Quiescent Bias Using a Servo Control
      6. Other Examples of Designing
        1. Modulating the Power-Supply Pin of an Oscillator to Provide FM
        2. An LC RF Matching Network
      7. References
    9. 18 Troubleshooting and Final Thoughts
      1. Assembling the Circuit
      2. When the Circuit Is Completed and Ready for a Test … Before Powering It On
      3. DC Bias Conditions
      4. Choosing the Correct OP Amps
      5. Logic Gates with Increased Speed and Output Current
      6. Decoupling Capacitors
      7. What to Do If an Amplifier Oscillates
      8. Low-Frequency Oscillation
      9. Decoupling Sources from Injecting Noise into the Power Rails
      10. When an Oscillator Does Not Oscillate
      11. Reducing External Noise
      12. When the Circuit Kind of Works
      13. Using an AM/FM Radio to Sense Whether an Oscillator Is Working
      14. Using Low-Dropout Voltage Regulators
      15. Back to Test Equipment
      16. Summary on Troubleshooting
      17. Final Thoughts on the Book
  10. A Parts Suppliers
    1. Transistors, FETs, Diodes, LEDs, Photodiodes, ICs, Resistors, Capacitors, Crystals, Batteries, Inductors, Transformers, Tools, and Soldering Equipment
    2. Vacuum Tubes
    3. Ceramic Resonators and Filters (455 kHz and 10.7 MHz)
    4. Oscillator Coils, IF Transformers, and Audio Transformers
    5. Antenna Coils
    6. Variable Capacitors
    7. Crystal Earphones
    8. Science Kits, Cool Things, and Everything Else
  11. B Online Learning Resources
  12. C Free Software
  13. Index