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Book review: Electronics made simple

From the title "Electronics Made Simple" I expected this book to include a lot of circuit diagrams showing basic electronic circuits; this book is however very thin on the practical real circuits. The circuits that are included are in block form, or there to illustrate what a circuit would look like rather than how to make them.

The book is more towards the theoretical side of electronics, although those looking for circuit analysis will also need to look elsewhere as there is less than 3 pages covering ohms law and no mention of Kirchoff's law.

One section that is particularly good is that on How radio works. It explains how radio has evolved in the past which is a good way of explaining the different parts to decoding the radio signals. There are no real circuit examples, but the block diagrams provides a good overview of how radio circuits are made and the way it is written makes this sound interesting.

It's worth noting that the different radio technologies from the past are all still in use today so are still in some way relevant. This doesn't however work quite so well in other areas. For example the theory of how a mechanical gramophone works is pretty irrelevant to a book that is supposed to be describing electronics in the 21st century.

The section on digital electronics provides a good introduction to logic circuits, but falls a bit short of what you would expect. Then goes into a rather detailed explanation about CDs which is a a bit unexpected.

Sinclair has added some comments throughout the book that sound like he's reminiscing the old days. There is mention of building valve radios in the 1940s, a comment against "hi-fi devotees" who like valve amplifiers and expensive speaker wires, and a comment about how much faster morse code is than typing SMS on a phone.

I don't think it's a bad book, but it's hard to think of who the target audience is. It's not suitable for the complete beginner, and it's not practical enough for the hobby electronics enthusiast on it's own. For me I did find some of the discussion on how radio works particularly good and learnt from that, but there is too much distracting or irrelevant content.

Someone that is studying electronics, particularly at BTEC level, should find this useful as they progress, but it only covers a small amount of the field of electronics and you will need to look elsewhere if looking for practical circuits or the more theory based circuit analysis.

Alternative books

Teach yourself electronics - Provides a better introduction for those studying electronics.

Electronics for dummies - For complete beginners.

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