Before We Begin: What Is Covered

The goal of this book is to provide a basic understanding of electronics with an emphasis on developing an intuitive understanding of how circuits work, beginning with basic concepts. The tone of the book is conversational. This is not a textbook. This is not to say that it is incomplete. Much of the material that is typically presented in an introductory course in electronics is presented here; it is simply presented in a conversational, and somewhat informal, style.

Material is presented in such a way that the concept being discussed builds on the material that preceded it. There are very few leaps in the presentation that require you memorize the information presented, taking on faith that it will be useful later on in the book. The goal of this book is to have a conversation about electronics from a viewpoint that is less formal than that used in a classroom setting.

There is some math involved in the material presented. This is unavoidable because the study of electronics concerns itself, at most levels, with specific quantities or values. That said, the amount of math is kept to a minimum and limited to basic algebra. Very little emphasis is placed on developing the equations that are used unless it aids in developing an understanding of the concept being discussed.

Focusing on an intuitive understanding of a circuit’s operation provides a much better understanding of electronics for most people. It is true that any circuit can be fully described by a set of interrelated equations. Solving these equations for any input to the circuit will allow you to determine what its outputs are. For some, examining these equations provides an understanding of what is going on inside of the circuit. These individuals are very, very rare. Most people simply see a set of equations. They don’t see the system of equations as a description of the circuit. Using a common idiom, getting lost in the math used to describe a circuit, is like not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Being able to understand what is going on in the various sections of a circuit, and then seeing how those sections relate to each other, is a far better approach to understanding how a circuit works. Once you have an understanding of how the circuit operates as a whole by understanding how the sections of it interact with each other, you can apply the equations that describe the values in the circuit to determine its specific behavior.

This book falls far short of providing an in depth understanding of all aspects of electronics. Electronics is a huge field. It is difficult for one book to adequately cover one aspect of the field completely. Hopefully, this book provides a solid foundation that you can build on. This book, in conjunction with others that cover similar material presented in a different way, should provide the foundation needed in your study of electronics. With a solid foundation in the basic concepts, you are able to move into specific, more specialized areas. Most of electronics is based on applying a surprisingly small number of basic concepts. Having a firm grasp of the basic principles involved is invaluable.