Book review: Introduction to Electrical Circuit Analysis

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A few weeks ago, I presented my work on automatic code generation from an electronic schema. I have many things to talk about this subject, one of them is this book.

When you start analyzing a circuit, it is important to learn how to analyze a circuit. There are lots of books on electronics, but this one targets beginners in circuit analysis.

Discussion

The book starts with a first chapter defining all the main physical quantities. We have the definition of voltages, currents, as the associated sources and of course power and resistance. We then have lots of small exercises to understand these concepts.

It’s actually one of the great aspects of the book. Lots of examples with the explanations, and then lots of subsequent exercises to assimilate the concepts.

The second chapter tackles the ground laws of circuit analysis, the Kirchhoff laws. Current and voltage laws have different applications, but the author explains all the things to be aware of with these laws. Of course, the quirks are intuitive once you master these laws, but they are central to any circuit analysis.

We follow up then with more concrete tools for network Analysis, namely Nodal analysis in chapter 3, and Mesh Analysis in chapter 4. The first one uses the current Kirchhoff law, whereas the latter one uses the voltage law. Both have limitations in the way they can be used, but they are the iteration over the basis laws that can allow simpler analysis.

Chapter 5 takes kind of detour to talk about equivalence between current and voltage generators. I might have learnt about these generators (Thevenin and Norton) before the Kirchhoff laws, although it’s been so long ago that I can’t really figure out which one was the first one. I’m not sure the chapter is really useful in real life, but these equivalence are always good to know, I suppose.

We move on to the sixth chapter, dedicated to transient analysis. We get the introduction of capacitors and coils, with their dedicated equations, but always with constant currents or voltages. It’s the first step towards harmonic analysis that comes in chapter 7. In this chapter, we start having the concept of complex numbers that will help handling linear time filters. We don’t handle discretization of the equations (and this int he whole book, so it’s not a book about DSP, but really about analog circuits).

There are more components that are relevant in circuit analysis, like transformers or transistors. They are considered almost as perfect (transistors are not using Ebers-Moll or anything more complex, just the simple affine piecewise approximation). We also of course have diodes and OpAmps.

The last three chapters are just teasers, I would say. First a chapter on measuring real circuits, then some pieces of advice on how to handle more advanced circuits and finally some photos of elements.

Conclusion

Even if the models are very simple, even if it doesn’t tackle equations solving, the book explains the basic tools for analyzing a schema. This is probably one of the good books on introductory circuit analysis.

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