After many years of engineering in electronics design, I decided it is time to start a website with my views about this art. Analog and mixed-signal design is not black magic or cryptology. This is art, real and powerful and relevant.
The purpose of this website is to provide elegant solutions to analog and mixed-signal design problems that have a strong basis in math. This website is not about Electronics in general. This website is about the art form of designing electronic circuits. My goal is to show hobbyists, engineering students and engineers that analog design is not complicated, so long as one understands the fundamentals and the reasoning behind the many aspects of the design. Hopefully, if they see what a wonderful art electronics design is, more will be encouraged to pursue it.
As in Mathematics, where some solutions to problems are regarded as elegant, in Electronics one can enjoy the same treat, that fuzzy warm feeling of achievement, after a circuit is designed and works as expected.
Math is a central tool, for this website, which I use to prove a circuit or path of reasoning. I disagree with articles, commentaries and books that take pride in the fact that they show a concept with no math involved. In those cases students are invited to learn formulas by heart without any understanding of underlying physics, or where the formulas came from. This deprives students of a powerful reasoning tool.
In the last decades, computer aided circuit design tools created a path of ease in electronics. More and more people today apply a SPICE based program and then, when the prototype is built, wonder why it does not work. In my view, SPICE should be used as a proofing tool after an engineer designed every aspect of his or her circuit.
To prove this alternate method of design, I will use SPICE and math at the same time. I hope that I will start a conversation about electronics design where people can exchange ideas or get some help.
They say that analog and mixed-signal design engineers are in demand these days. This is due to students’ reluctance to tackle analog design because it is too complicated, or because it involves too much Math and Physics. I would like to change that. Analog design is not complicated. Analog design as well as mixed-signal design relies on Physics, from the knowledge one gets in high-school about electricity, to Maxwell’s equations.
Why analog and not digital design? Well, there’s nothing wrong with digital design. After all, everything today is digital, isn’t it? Not quite. The world, as we know it, is analog and the interface between the digital processing circuits and the outside world is handled by analog processing circuits. In a lot of applications, the fine specifications or the secret sauce are handled by the analog circuitry. For example, it is very important on how one chooses an analog to digital converter (“ADC”), and how the signal is shaped before the ADC. Therefore, for all these reasons, this website puts more emphasis on analog circuitry rather than digital design.
Another outcome I am hoping to achieve is that youngsters will see that math is not difficult or abstract or useless. Math is a tool like any other for real life designs, whether they are in Electronics, Physics, or Mechanics. During my years of teaching Electronics at a university and calculus to my daughter, I really enjoyed the “aha” look on my students’ face, when they really got it, when their circuit worked, or when they solved a math problem. Students are always eager to learn. They only need someone to show the path.