Powerful conductors

24th March 1995 at 00:00
Electronics for Electricians and Service Engineers, By Trevor Linsley, Edward Arnold Pounds 14.99, 0 340 58572 2. Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Principles, By Noel Morris, Longman Scientific and Technical, Pounds 12. 99. 0 582 098157. Bird's Pocket Reference Guide for Electrical and Electronic Engineers By John O'Bird, Longman Scientific and Technical, Pounds 5.99. 0 582 23795 5. Microelectronic Systems One - A Practical Approach, By W Ditch, Edward Arnold Pounds 12.99, 0 340 58486 6.

Keith Lowen looks at a range of texts for electrical and electronic engineering and recommends their strong presentation and extensive subject coverage.

Choosing a textbook to support a given course at a particular level has never been easy. Set this against a background of rapidly expanding technology and changing course rationales, GNVQ or other, and the difficulties multiply.

To aid suitable selection, authors and publishers should consider signposting their wares by identifying courses and levels, by stating objectives or at least aims, by indicating expected learning outcomes and by building into the text some self assessment material, with answers.

Bird's Pocket Reference Guide for Electrical and Electronic Engineers is a very useful guide, giving comprehensive coverage of electrical and electronic principles, circuit theory, formulas, units, quantities, symbols, rules, definitions and circuit diagram symbols.

Unlike the usual reference texts with their endless lists of formulas, charts and tables, this user-friendly book breaks down its coverage into easy-to-find topic areas. Each topic area is then sympathetically treated with clear circuit diagrams, graphs, definitions and formulas.

Particularly useful is the treatment of theorums such as the Thevenin and Norton Theorums, where a step-by-step procedure is given to application and solution. It makes an ideal reference source for early study to HND and above.

Tailored principally to cover the BTEC microelectronic systems unit at level II and useful for City and Guilds 224 and A level electronic systems, Microelectronic Systems One A Practical Approach covers the common first year objectives of BTEC microelectronic systems, NII. Each chapter begins with its aims and expected learning outcome, enabling both students and tutors to monitor progress. Reinforcement of each chapter is provided by lucid chapter summaries, self-assessment questions with answers and practical exercises.

It is written in plain, user-friendly English, with ample clear circuit diagrams, tables and figures.

All programming examples are based on the popular and most widely used Z80 and 6502 microprocessors. A full chapter is devoted to these with a further two chapters providing alphabetically ordered instruction sets for each.

Integrative assignments and common skills are compulsory parts of BTEC courses. The text offers two ready-made, integrative assignments, each complete with its own common skills claim and recording form.

A 10- page glossary of technical terminology, with succinct explanations for each, completes this well ordered and essential volume.

Electronics for Electricians and Service Engineers is designed principally to cover the requirements of City and Guilds 224 Part 1 Competences in Electronic servicing, the electronic content of the City and Guilds 236 Electrical Installation Competences, the City and Guilds Supplementary Studies in Electronics and the 232 Electrical and Electronics Craft Studies course. It will, however, be of use on other electronics-related courses.

The 10 chapters, two with questions and answers, are well illustrated with plenty of block diagrams, circuit diagrams, photographs, graphs, charts and worked examples. The treatment of topics throughout the book uses the minimum of mathematics and those calculations that do appear are shown in clear worked examples.

Ten useful appendices, covering abbreviations, electrical quantities and units, common-use discrete, active and passive components, pinouts, component markings and logic gates, together with a glossary of well explained technical terms, complete this highly commendable craft-level text.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Principles is written to cover all the requirements of BTEC electrical and electronic principles from initial studies at National Certificate Level through to National Diploma and beyond. This impressive volume is real value for money. Noel Morris has produced a model mix of easily understood explanations, straightforward diagrams, tables and graphs, more than 100 worked examples and many further problems with solutions. The book may be used either for modular studies, since each chapter is a stand-alone unit, or for more conventional coursework.

Because of time constraints and the cost of specialist equipment more colleges are using computer software to extend student's problem-solving abilities, for circuitssystems simulation and to augment hands-on practical exercises. Two chapters are devoted to readily available computer software. SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) and two control packages, CODAS (Control system Design and Simulation) and PCS (Process Control Simulation), of great support to students using the packages and an inducement to colleges to invest in computer simulation.

Keith Lowen is Electronics and Electrical Engineering section leader at The South Downs College.

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