The Art of Electronics Rant

The Art of Electronics (AoE) is perhaps the most popular electronics book of all time, often referred to as “the bible”. But while many people, myself included, have found it illuminating, many others deride it for its apparent disorganization and lack of theory. For this reason, there are often heated debates regarding its usefulness as a beginner’s electronics book.

Certainly AoE isn’t “the book” for everyone interested in electronics; I don’t know of a single text that is. But AoE is the book that finally helped me start understanding electronic circuits, something that many other electronics books before it failed to do. So I think it would be beneficial to address the two most common criticisms of AoE that I’ve seen, and discuss why AoE was a great help to me.

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Taming Noisy Voltage Regulators

The ubiquitous LM78XX voltage regulators are great for general purpose use, but are completely inadequate for low noise applications. I learned this the hard way recently while working on a high gain audio amplifier design; when powered from my bench power supply the circuit worked fine, showing nothing above the noise floor of the ‘scope (about 10mVpp) coming from the audio pre-amplifier section, but when the power supply was run through an LM7810 regulator, noise at the pre-amp output increased to over 120mVpp!

Pre-amplifier noise when powered directly from the bench power supply

Pre-amplifier noise when powered directly from the bench power supply

Pre-amplifier noise when powered through an LM7810

Pre-amplifier noise when powered through an LM7810

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