The Art of Electronics / Edition 2

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This is the thoroughly revised and updated Second Edition of the single, authoritative text and reference on electronic circuit design--both analog and digital. It emphasizes the methods actually used by circuit designers--a combination of some basic laws, rules of thumb, and a large bag of tricks. This completely new edition responds to the breakneck pace of change in electronics with a large number of new and revised topics.

With over 140,000 copies sold, this text is the most authoritative reference available on electronic circuit design, both analog and digital. The new edition reflects the breakneck pace of change taking place in electronics today. An indispensable reference for anyone who works with circuits.

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Editorial Reviews

**** The first edition 1980 is cited in BCL3. A remarkably successful book Cambridge reports sales of 125,000 copies of the first edition in eight languages. Emphasizes the methods actually used by circuit designers--a combination of basic laws, rules of thumb and a large bag of tricks. Retains the informality and easy access that characterized the first. Responding to the rapid changes in electronics, they offer many new tables as well as new and revised topics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
From the Publisher
"Who among us has not kept a cherished copy of AoE on our workbench throughout our careers? Engineers, hackers and makers of all stripes, rejoice for the third edition … has been worth the wait! Packed with tons of delicious knowledge to navigate electronics in both work and hobby. An encyclopedia of electronics knowledge, [The Art of Electronics] is a pleasure to read through for tips and tricks and is an unbeatable resource! Take a day out to read a chapter - you will learn things you didn't even know you didn't know. Or, refer to the pinouts, diagrams, and techniques as necessary to guide you through a difficult project. If you think electrical engineering is magical then you must pick up this tome!"
Limor 'Ladyada' Fried, Adafruit Industries

"First of all, after I forklifted [Chapter 5] onto my reading table, I sat down and read it. It is simply spectacular. That may be overly exclamatory language but it is the only appropriate verbiage I can summon. Spectacular, deep and wide. I especially like the comments about interpreting specifications and the deconstruction of the Agilent voltmeters is just, well, wonderful."
Jim Williams, Linear Technology Corp

"Wow. Chapter 5 details every circuit artifact that I've encountered in the past thirty years in a through, pragmatic, and straightforward way. My only 'twinge' is that [it] disclosed and explained (in glorious graphical detail and with real part numbers) many topics that I thought were my personal trade secrets … I love the plots. I know that it must take an enormous effort to collate all of the device characteristics. It's worth the effort. The way … [it] present[s] the data allows the reader to get terrific perspective on a lot of landscape in a single view. Nice work."
John Willison, founder, Stanford Research Systems

"Horowitz and Hill's third edition beautifully upgrades their earlier work, with substantial updates to detail, and without compromise to style, content, or technical quality. Like the second edition I've used for years, it is laser-focused on the working engineer. Delivered in folksy Horowitz and Hill style, it is rich with the kind of nitty-gritty information that's invaluable to circuit designers and manufacturers, much of which is absent (or difficult to find) elsewhere. This new book is a superb update, one which I'm sure will be treasured by those close to the art of analog circuitry."
Walt Jung, author, IC Op-Amp Cookbook

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521370950
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1989
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1152
  • Sales rank: 289,228
  • Product dimensions: 7.01 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Horowitz is Professor of Physics at Harvard University, where he teaches physics and electronics. He originated Harvard's Laboratory Electronics course, now in its fifteenth year. His research interests include observational astrophysics, x-ray and particle microscopy, optical interferometry, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He is the author of some sixty scientific articles and reports, has consulted widely for industry and government, and is the designer of numerous electronic and photographic instruments.

Winfield Hill is Research Scientist and Director of Electronic Engineering at the Rowland Institute for Science (founded by Edwin Land), where he studies the physiology and phenomenology of human color vision. He was formerly at Harvard University, where he designed over one hundred electronic and scientific instruments; he then founded Sea Data Corporation, where as chief engineer he designed some fifty oceanographic instruments. He has collaborated in numerous deep ocean experiments, and has authored a dozen scientific and technical articles.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 7: Precision Circuits and Low-Noise Techniques

In the preceding chapters we have dealt with many aspects of analog circuit design, including the circuit properties of passive devices, transistors, FETs, and op-amps, the subject of feedback, and numerous applications of these devices and circuit methods. In all our discussions, however, we have not yet addressed the question of the best that can be done, for example, in minimizing amplifier errors (nonlinearities, drifts, etc.) and in amplifying weak signals with minimum degradation by amplifier "noise." In many applications these are the most important issues, and they form an important part of the art of electronics. In this chapter, therefore, we will look at methods of precision circuit design and the issue of noise in amplifiers. With the exception of the introduction to noise in Section 7.11, this chapter can be skipped over in a first reading. This material is not essential for an understanding of later chapters.

Precision Op-Amp Design Techniques

In the field of measurement and control there is often a need for circuits of high precision. Control circuits should be accurate, stable with time and temperature, and predictable. The usefulness of measuring instruments likewise depends on their accuracy and stability. In almost all electronic subspecialties we always have the desire to do things more accurately -- you might call it the joy of perfection. Even if you don't always actually need the highest precision, you can still delight in the joy of fully understanding what's going on.

7.01: Precision versus dynamic range

It is easy to get confused between the concepts ofprecision and dynamic range, especially since some of the same techniques are used to achieve both. Perhaps the difference can best be clarified by some examples: A 5-digit multimeter has high precision; voltage measurements are accurate to 0.01% or better. Such a device also has wide dynamic range; it can measure millivolts and volts on the same scale. A precision decade amplifier (one with selectable gains of 1, 10, and 100, say) and a precision voltage reference may have plenty of precision, but not necessarily much dynamic range. An example of a device with wide dynamic range but only moderate accuracy might be a 6-decade logarithmic amplifier (log amp) built with carefully trimmed op-amps but with components of only 5% accuracy; even with accurate components a log amp might have limited accuracy because of lack of log conformity (at the extremes of current) of the transistor junction used for the conversion. Another example of a wide-dynamic-range instrument (greater than 10,000:1 range of input currents) with only moderate accuracy (1%) is the coulomb meter described in Section 9.26. It was originally designed to keep track of the total charge put through an electrochemical cell, a quantity that needs to be known only to approximately 5% but that may be the cumulative result of a current that varies over a wide range. It is a general characteristic of wide-dynamic-range design that input offsets must be carefully trimmed in order to maintain good proportionality for signal levels near zero; this is also necessary in precision design, but, in addition, precise components, stable references, and careful attention to every possible source of error must be used to keep the sum total of all errors within the so-called error budget.

7.02: Error budget

A few words on error budgets. There is a tendency for the beginner to fall into the trap of thinking that a few strategically placed precision components will result in a device with precision performance. On rare occasions this will be true. But even a circuit peppered with 0.01% resistors and expensive op-amps won't perform to expectations if somewhere in the circuit there is an input offset current multiplied by a source resistance that gives a voltage error of 10mV, say. With almost any circuit there will be errors arising all over the place, and it is essential to tally them up, if for no other reason than to locate problem areas where better devices or a circuit change might be needed. Such an error budget results in rational design, in many cases revealing where an inexpensive component will suffice, and eventually permitting a careful estimate of performance.

7.03: Example circuit: precision amplifier with automatic null offset

In order to motivate the discussion of precision circuits, we have designed an extremely precise decade amplifier with automatic offset. This gadget lets you "freeze" the value of the input signal, amplifying any subsequent changes from that level by gains of exactly 10, 100, or 1000. This might come in particularly handy in an experiment in which you wish to measure a small change in some quantity (e.g., light transmission or radiofrequency absorption) as some condition of the experiment is varied. It is ordinarily difficult to get accurate measurements of small changes in a large dc signal, owing to drifts and instabilities in the amplifier. In such a situation a circuit of extreme precision and stability is required. We will describe the design choices and errors of this particular circuit in the framework of precision design in general, thus rendering painless what could otherwise become a tedious exercise. A note at the outset: Digital techniques offer an attractive alternative to the purely analog circuitry used here. Look forward to exciting revelations in chapters to come!

Circuit descriptionThe basic circuit is a follower (U1) driving an inverting amplifier of selectable gain (U2), the latter offsettable by a signal applied to its noninverting input. Q1 and Q2 are FETs, used in this application as simple analog switches; Q3 - Q5 generate suitable levels, from a logic-level input, to activate the switches. Q1 through Q5 and their associated circuitry could all be replaced by a relay, or even a switch, if desired, For now, just think of it as a simple SPST switch.

When the logic input is HIGH ("autozero"), the switch is closed, and U3 charges the analog "memory" capacitor (C1) as necessary to maintain zero output. No attempt is made to follow rapidly changing signals, since in the sort of application for which this was designed the signals are essentially dc, and some averaging is a desirable feature. When the switch is opened, the voltage on the capacitor remains stable, resulting in an output signal proportional to the wanderings of the input thereafter.

There are a few additional features that should be described before going on to explain in detail the principles of precision design as applied here: (a) U4 participates in a first-order leakage-current compensation scheme, whereby the tendency of C1 to discharge slowly through its own leakage (100,000M, minimum, corresponding to a time constant of 2 weeks!) is compensated by a small charging current through R15 proportional to the voltage across C1. (b) Instead of a single FET switch, two are used in series in a "guarded leakage-cancellation" arrangement. The small leakage current through Q2, when switched OFF, flows to ground through R23, keeping all terminals of Q1 within millivolts of ground. Without any appreciable voltage drops, Q1 hasn't any appreciable leakage! (See Section 4.15 and Fig. 4.50 for similar circuit tricks.) (c) The offsetting voltage generated at the output of U3 is attenuated by R11 - R14, according to the gain setting. This is done to avoid problems with dynamic range and accuracy in U3, since drifts or errors in the offset holding circuitry are not amplified by U2 (more on this later).

7.04: A precision-design error budget

For each category of circuit error and design strategy we will devote a few paragraphs to a general discussion, followed by illustrations from the preceding circuit. Circuit errors can be divided into the categories of (a) errors in the external network components, (b) op-amp (or amplifier) errors associated with the input circuitry, and (c) op-amp errors associated with the output circuitry. Examples of the three are resistor tolerances, input offset voltage, and errors due to finite slew rate, respectively.

Let's start by setting out our error budget. It is based on a desire to keep input errors down to the 10µV level, output drift (from capacitor "droop") below 1mV in 10 minutes, and gain accuracy in the neighborhood of 0.01%. As with any budget, the individual items are arrived at by a process of trade-offs, based on what can be done with available technology. In a sense the budget represents the end result of the design, rather than the starting point. However, it will aid our discussion to have it now.

Error budget (worst-case values)
1. Buffer amplifier (U1)
    Voltage errors referred to input:
Temperature               1.2µV/4°C
Time                           1.0µV/month
Power supply              0.3µV/100mV change
Bias current x RS        2.0µV/1k of RS
Load-current heating   0.3µV @ full scale (10V)

2. Gain amplifier (U2)
    Voltage errors referred to input:
Temperature                     1.2µV/4°C
Time                                 1.0µV/month
Power supply                    0.3µV/100mV change
Bias offset current drift      1.6µV/4°C/lk
Load-current heating         0.3µV @ full scale (RL = 10k)

3. Hold amplifier (U3)
    Voltage errors referred to output:
U3 offset tempco                   60µV/4°C
Power supply                        10µV/100mV change
Capacitor droop                    100µV/min
    (see current error budget)
Charge transfer                      10µV

Current errors applied to C1 (needed for preceding voltage error budget):
Capacitor leakage
    Maximum (uncompensated)         (100pA)
    Typical (compensated)                 l0pA
U3 input current                               0.2pA
U3 & U4 offset voltage across R15   1.0pA
FET switch OFF leakage                 0.5pA
Printed-circuit-board leakage           5.0pA

The various items in the budget will make sense as we discuss the choices faced in this particular design. We will organize by the categories of circuit errors listed earlier: network components, amplifier input errors, and amplifier output errors. ...

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Table of Contents

List of tables
Preface to first edition
Chapter 1: Foundations
Chapter 2: Transistors
Chapter 3: Field-effect transistors
Chapter 4: Feedback and operational amplifiers
Chapter 5: Active filters and oscillators
Chapter 6: Voltage regulators and power circuits
Chapter 7: Precision circuits and low-noise techniques
Chapter 8: Digital electronics
Chapter 9: Digital meets analog
Chapter 10: Microcomputers
Chapter 11: Microprocessors
Chapter 12: Electronic construction techniques
Chapter 13: High-frequency and high-speed techniques
Chapter 14: Low-power design
Chapter 15: Measurements and signal processing
Appendix A: The oscilloscope
Appendix B: Math review
Appendix C: The 5% resistor color code
Appendix D: 1% Precision resistors
Appendix E: How to draw schematic diagrams
Appendix F: Load lines
Appendix G: Transistor saturation
Appendix H: LC Butterworth filters
Appendix I: Electronics magazines and journals
Appendix J: IC prefixes
Appendix K: Data sheets
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting...non geeks/emgineers would enjoy!

    I'm an electronics guru, engineer so any read on the subject intrigues me, but The Art of Electronics was both informative and entertaining.

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    It's Like Going To Harvard

    When I purchased this book I looked at it as though I was attending a course in electronics instructed by Paul Horowitz of Harvard University, and Winfield Hill of The Rowland Institute of Science in Cambridge. Without regret this book has paid off in not only helping me acquire a more solid background in electronics, but also has added to my library of indispensable reference material. Written like a laboratory course, this book gives with great depth, and insight, practical electronics both in theory, and in current rudimentary technology a solid foundation to build your knowledge of electronics. There is an additional student manual available for this book that also reinforces this book witch will probably become one of the classic text on the subject for many generations to come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2006

    Buy it, but use it with care

    H&H's Art of Electronics is an old standby. The old part means that the microprocessor material is dated. If you want an approach that eschews a heavy mathematical treatment and concentrates on applications, this is a great book. But it is also an old book for this field, so it is not the stand-alone panacea for learning and teaching electronics. The Student Manual is a must buy if you want full use of this warhorse. I still use it, having taught out of it and the first edition for more than 2 decades, because my students are not prospective EE's, but science students who want to learn how to deisgn electronic circuits. It is good solid intro to electronics, but one that must be supplemented with more current material and examples.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2005

    Exercise answers

    I haven¿t got too far into the book so I won¿t comment on its value. I would like to point out that this book does have a lot of exercises and no answers to them. I find this extremely annoying to say the least. If the answers to the exercises are in the book somewhere can someone please point it out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2005

    Best book i have ever read!

    This book is just amazing. It covers the basics of electronics. I had no clue about Electronics and now i have the best grade in all my courses for Electronics. I have this book as a reference and i am very please with the information. If it wasn't for this book i would be lost. The Art of Electronics is by far the best books to buy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2003

    You MUST have it.

    Ï´m an Electronics Engineering Student from IPN, Mexico, and I got used reading this book sice my first semester in a casual encounter with the book. There are many things Engineering teachers don´t know and this book provided me of that knowledgement(In Mexico teachers hate the Ebers Moll Model). This book makes you a thing that other books don´t: Intuition. Don´t be wasting your time making complex equations, the designing doesn´t have to be so hard. This book makes you understand complex things by an easy and funny way.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2001

    A baby could learn from this

    I have used mine so much that I had to get it rebound. This is an outstanding book that takes you from the basics of electronics to the meat of engineering. The authors have taken a fun, but sometimes difficult topic to learn and made it seem easy. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in electronics. I also recommend the companion lab book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2001

    God's Electronics Reference...

    I've been designing electronics for 20 years, and I've been using this book for the last 15...IT IS THE BEST EVER WRITTEN!!! It bridges the gap between designing electronics and actually making them work (which are two different things). The information contained herein is NOT TAUGHT in engineering schools. I'm continually hiring EE's that think they can design a circuit, but can't make a circuit work...this book tells them how! A common reaction from their introduction to this book is: 'They never taught us this stuff in school...' Buy won't regret it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2000

    The best book ever written

    This book has everything you'd learn in the first two years of a good EE program, and you'll probably get more out of the book. I know I did. BUY THIS BOOK!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2000

    If you buy only one book

    This is, bar none, the best darned book for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of electronic design. I am a computer engineer who relied on the first edition of this book to get me through electronics design courses which used uniformly dry, academic, and coma-inducing textbooks. This, however, is a breath of fresh air. Its so good I bought the second edition for my wife, who is an embedded software engineer and who needs to understand in detail the operation of the devices her software controls.

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