8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Let's Compare Options Preptorial
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The first op amp helped win world war II, because the 1940-41 "tube" design of that summer was the heart of artillery accuracy. The next 10 years were about to invert or not invert, and at that time digital math was as yet an infant, and analog computers-- including the rudiments of CAS-- were the workhorse application of op-amps.
For reference, I'm an EE who reviews new circuit designs for patentability at payroy dot com, and believe it or not, in the area of op-amps, I see nearly as many "hobbyist" EE's as "pros!" So when Bruce says this is for EVERYONE, he is NOT kidding! If you deal with novel circuit designs every day, you quickly realize that the world of electronics has now seriously gone embedded. The era of the general chip, even in parallel processing, is being eclipsed by more and more specialized, and thus narrowly yet significantly patentable, designs.
The hottest areas I see are still in defense, medical devices, transportation and communication, but what goes around comes around: 555 timers and oscillators as well as op-amps have now "grown up" and are finding new niches daily in embedded applications-- this text is a MUST HAVE whether you are a hobbyist or EE in a design firm. The only real question is: can I get away with my previous, much cheaper edition?
Happily and sadly, no. I know, you're going to say that, since the 80's, a buffer is a buffer is a... filter, A/D converter, oscillator, waveform generator (including quantum!), integrator/differentiator, rectifier, voltage clamp, gain/offsetter, etc. If you've owned previous editions, you already know that the PRACTICAL value of Carter's approach is in the details and tips, and especially in transition and integration-- to and from drawing board, and to and from prototypes and manufacturing. In EVERY SENTENCE of this densly packed text the author's practical experience shows through-- this is an engineer, designer, inventor, executor cookbook, not a differential equation analysis "proof" volume.
Finally, the web promise also is real and significant in this edition. There are at least two additional complete texts in my estimate in the web resources and links alone, all 2014 current! Too soon to see if they will be kept up to date, but the initial foundation is robust and sound. They're also well integrated with this edition, and do far more justice than the lip service 3 did to that mesh.
As with the other editions, you get both the macro and micro of the design, but 4 gives much more detail in the "fine tuning" differential details that are the real keys to CUSTOMIZING your op-amps for specific embedded applications, which is where the rubber hits the road in your specific, patentable added value, whether you're doing it for mankind, money, legacy or your employer. If you're just getting into op-amps, or are using it for a course, can you get away with a previous, less expensive edition? A qualified yes. If you're actually in circuit design, no. Too much has happened in the worlds of analog, parallel and especially embedded not to miss the updates, which I conservatively estimate at about 20%. That is really high compared to other publishers that put out a facelift new edition every quarter to make you spend money on fluff (especially in software).
The biggest new feature I've found, in integrating text with web, is that Bruce has "caved" to the manufacturers, in a good way, and for the first time, really coordinates spec sheets and options with the real world of components and what they can and can't do vs. cost. I know, you're going to say: "At a penny, who cares?" Not true any longer, I just saw a package of 8 o/as cross my desk with a proposed cost of $800! Granted, it is a special make up for only one type of windmill controller, but still...
Special note to pros: have any of you noticed that a whole bunch of RFPs are backing away from "fabless" (ala Broadcomm/Qualcomm) lately? I think in some interesting senses the Chinese have overstayed their welcome, and I'm really seeing a rebirth in custom shops, right down to pcb fab. And.. it's not only in defense! You see this at all? Comment and let me know. I'm not a racist, but IP is still a joke over there, and "secrets" can only go so far today with open JTAGS the "new rule."
NOTE: This text gives EXTERNAL applications of op amps in numerous circuits and applications, but not the internal construction of hundreds of varieties of amps, that would take a separate volume!
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I have mixed feelings about this book, from a certain perspective, the book starts wonderfully, the first chapters are filled with lots of examples, everything is great up to the filtering section which in my opinion could have added more filters besides Butterworth, but the author's approach to filter design is so simple that the chapter is worth reading it. However, after that chapter things start to go a bit downhill, the next 2 or 3 chapters are very vague and short, I would even say that those chapters are there just to make the book a bit thicker, with no design examples and merely conversational explanations. The opamps for RF chapter was a complete disappointment, it was really vague with no real design or practical examples, at least nothing worth noting.
The last chapters/appendixes (which cover around half the book) are quite good, they offer a "theasaurus" of opamp terminology along with a brief explanation of each term, plus circuit building techniques, decoupling, noise theory, etc., chapter 13 regarding common mistakes was quite good.
The author takes for granted several terms and concepts, most of the time they are not hard and I did understand them because im an EE, however I kept repeating to myself: "this book is NOT for everyone", I was surprised that all that "step by step" approach to explaining circuits and terms from the first chapters suddenly vanished around halfway into the book.
I initially bought this book because I cant stand reading PDF's, so I wanted to get a hardcopy of the free TI's "Opamps for everyone" book by Rob Mancini, and since Bruce Carter is actually one of the authors of that book, I immediately assumed this was the same book, it is not, although they both share common content, yet the free version has more material. This book is around 270pages, the "free" version is 464. The free version is more complete in my opinion, however it is more rigorous and may be considered by some as less practical.
That being said, this book is like a brief description along with some cool tricks, however it lacks a lot information ranging from oscillators, non-linear circuits, etc... In my opinion the book you should be getting is the free one found online.
Considering the price of the book I would say its really not worth it, dont get me wrong, I did learn some tricks thats for sure, but I was unsatisfied with the lack of content and specially the lack of applications that I would expect from a book with such title. Some circuits are presented with no component values, formulae, or examples on how to calculate them, that to me is not a useful circuit, telling me conceptually what a circuit does and yet not telling me how to implement it or showing any component values (i.e. page 71 figure 5.6) is just opamp history, not opamp application.
Finally, if you do get this book, it will certainly provide a quick reference when you need some help designing very simple circuits such as level shifters, 2nd and 3rd order Butterworth filters, or if you want to know some opamp terms. Aside from that, this book is just an interesting read, and in no way a substitute for a real Opamp book like the one written by Dr. Franco "Design with Operational Amplifiers and Analog integrated circuits". If however, you are not interested on reading in depth about opamps and you just want a quick reference for opamp circuits then "Op Amp Applications Handbook" by Jung is a much better choice.
In short: get the free version of this book, or get the books I mentioned depending on your needs.