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Basic Electronics and Electronic Circuits: Learn Electronics and Free Online Circuit Simulator

Basic Electronics and Electronic Circuits: Learn Electronics and Free Online Circuit Simulator PDF

Author: Stephen Bucaro



Publish Date: January 15, 2022


Pages: 112

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

You might think the science of electronics began in 1877 with Thomas Edison and his team when they invented the phonograph and 1,092 other electronic inventions in his laboratory in Menlo Park New Jersey. Or, in 1752 when Benjamin Franklin attached a wire to a kite and flew it during a thunder storm, proving that lightning was electricity. But in 1936 an ancient Roman battery was found that archaeologists dated from about 100 B.C. It was theorized that the battery was used for medical purposes.

In recent decades advances in electronics have come at a dizzying pace. Electric cars first appeared in the 1920s. Toyota’s Prius hybrid came out in October 1997, and Tesla Motors popular all-electric sports car came out in 2008. In 1985, the first robot human surgery was performed. In 1977, magnetic resonance imaging, which does not use harmful x-rays, began producing detailed images of the organs inside the body. In the 1970s, Motorola introduced the first widely available handheld mobile phone.

On August 6, 1991, the internet became publicly available. Today there are 4.66 billion internet users worldwide, generating 8 trillion dollars in global economic activity. Whether you want to learn electronics in order to understand and succeed in today’s technological world, or to prepare for a lucrative career in electronics technology (average electronics technician annual salary is $48,688, electronics engineer annual salary is $80,540), this book will get you started on that path.

Building and experimenting with electronic circuits is fun, but what if I told you there is a free online application where you can easily draw a schematic of, and simulate your circuit? In this book, I show you how to use an extremely simple circuit simulator that runs on any browser. It perfectly suits beginners who want to understand the electronics and electronic circuits.

This book teaches what you need to know to understand electronics technology without getting bogged down in a minutiae of details. You’ll learn about impedance, reactance and phase shift in alternating current circuits at a level that even many experienced electronic technicians don’t understand. You’ll learn about integrated circuit electronics to a level that will prepare you for Basic Digital Logic Design, my higher level book written as a follow up to this one. Start here to begin an exciting adventure.

The Structure of Matter

Matter is the stuff that is all around you and that makes up the universe. Matter itself is made of atoms, and atoms in turn are made protons, neutrons, and electrons. All the amazing things that can be done with electronics are the result of one simple thing – electric charge. Electric charge comes in two forms, positive and negative. A positive charge is the electrostatic field radiated by protons. A negative charge is the electrostatic field radiated by electrons.

The basic construction of an atom consists of a central nucleus containing protons, and usually neutrons (neutrally charged), surrounded by shells created by electrons orbiting the nucleus. The power that comes from electricity is caused by the fact that same charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other. In other words, two protons repel each other, two electrons repel each other, but an electron and a proton attract each other.

The simplest atom is the Hydrogen atom, which consists of one proton in the nucleus, and one electron orbiting the nucleus.

Copper atom

The nucleus of an atom can contain many positively charged protons, along with many neutrally charged neutrons. Shown above is a Copper atom, which consists of 29 protons and 35 neutrons in the nucleus, and 29 electrons orbiting the nucleus. The atom is electrically neutral when all of its electrons are in place.

Note that Copper has two electrons in the innermost shell, eight in the next shell, eighteen in the third shell, and one in the fourth shell. This means that the first three electron shells have stable electron arrangements, but fourth shell has only one electron. One electron in the outer shell is not a stable arrangement, it can easily separate from the atom and go free, which makes copper a good conductor.

You might ask, “if same charges repel each other, how does the nucleus stay together?” The repulse force of the protons in the nucleus of an atom is overcome by a nuclear force called the “strong force”. Interestingly, there is another force acting in the nucleus of an atom called the “weak force” that eventually overcomes the strong force, allowing protons to leave the nucleus. The weak force is responsible for radioactive decay.

The strong force and the weak force in the nucleus of an atom is caused by quarks. A quark is a sub-atomic particle of which protons are constructed. But in our effort to learn basic electronics, we don’t want to delve too deeply into nuclear physics, so let’s just stick with the fact that atoms are constructed of a nucleus containing positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons, and the nucleus is surrounded by shells of orbiting negatively charged electrons. Sometimes the shell of orbiting electrons is referred to as an “electron cloud”.

One important fact is that the nucleus of an atom is relatively heavy. That’s because a proton is about 1800 times more massive than an electron. The reason this is important is because electricity primarily involves the flow of electrons. In terms of electronics, the nucleus of an atom generally doesn’t move much.

The atoms of some elements hold onto their electrons tightly. These elements are called “insulators”. The atoms of other elements, like copper and aluminum, hold onto their electrons loosely, especially the electrons that orbit in the outer shells. It is these electrons that tend to break loose and can be used to create electron flow. Elements that hold onto their electrons loosely are called “conductors”.

There is a third type of material, elements like germanium and silicon, that sometimes conduct and sometimes don’t, and sometimes conduct some but not fully. It depends on how you treat, or “bias” them. These materials are called semiconductors and they are responsible for much of our modern electronics.

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