Saturday, 28 January 2012

ANALOG Circuit Design: A Tutorial Guide to Applications and Solutions

ANALOG Circuit Design: A Tutorial Guide to Applications and Solutions

by Paul McGoldrick

ANALOG Circuit Design: A Tutorial Guide to Applications and Solutions
edited by Bob Dobkin and Jim Williams, Published by Newnes
ISBN 13: 978-0-12-385185-7, hardcover, 932 pp, $84.95, August 2011

This text has been published shortly after the death of Jim Williams and it is admirable that the publishers managed to get an extra page inserted in the bindery dedicated thus: "In memory of Jim Williams, a poet who wrote in electronics.” Very fitting.
This book is not a rewrite of the earlier text edited by Williams, also entitled Analog Circuit Design, published in July 1991 (ISBN 13: 978-0-75-069640-1) and subtitled Art, Science and Personalities. That was a series of essays by over twenty analog designers which was fascinating and historical, but not really a useful design textbook. This new book is different. It is a compendium of a large number of previously published Linear Technology application notes that have been selected by Dobkin (CTO and Founder at Linear) and Williams for their long-term usefulness in the industry. And they have selected well for that purpose. The page notations indicate that the book was going to be entitled Analog Circuit and System Design, which might have been more fitting.
What value, I am sure will be asked, is there in publishing these application notes in textbook form when they are all available on line? They are all in one place, for one thing, and they have been put in a sectional order of like relevance. Each section includes, with one exception, multiple application notes that are designated as chapters. Two groups of sections make up Parts 1 and 2: “Power Management” and “Data Conversion, Signal Conditioning and High Frequency/RF.” The latter has three sections with similar titles while the former has section titles of, “Power Management Tutorials,” Switching Regulator Design,” Linear Regulator Design,” High Voltage and High Current Applications,” “Powering Lasers and Illumination Devices,” and “Automotive and Industrial Power Design.”
Some application notes (chapters) are obviously of more value than others in a generic sense, but when you are looking at a particular problem in a design every one has merit of some kind or another. It is particularly gratifying to see Application Note 47, “High Speed Amplifier Techniques” in print for the first time in its entirety; it is, arguably, one of the best application aids that has ever been produced in our industry. The negative is that it is showing its twenty year age in many respects because of the development of faster monolithic amplifiers, and there are a lot of additional problems and diagnoses that are equally relevant today to the designer.
The same is at least partially true in a number of other cases, but the overall relevance of the notes is unquestionable and we are not about to pick them apart one-by-one in this review.
What is unfortunate is that the reproduction quality of some of the photographs seems to have suffered somewhat in the book compared to the online PDFs, perhaps most so in the referenced “High Speed Amplifier Techniques.” And it is a little sad that Linear/Elsevier did not employ a professional editor to correct all the non-approved abbreviations and unit spacings that have become the norm in the company’s written output.
Nevertheless, this is a handsome book that I will happily find space for on my shelf. It is extremely good value for money and is, thank heavens, a prime example of why it will be some time before e-books have a real place in the publication of technology texts. There should be a place for this latest ANALOG Circuit Design in the hands of every novice, journeyman, and experienced analog designer.

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