Approach: Conventional Flow w/a Brief format
Audience: First semester ET/EET students
Emphasis: Circuit Analysis
Competition: Robbins/Miller (Delmar)
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This book is very different from other DC/AC texts in very important ways. While we heartily agree that the world doesn't need another 1000-plus page book on this well-established topic, we do believe that there is an urgent need for a textbook that focuses on the primary concepts and techniques of circuit analysis and efficiently communicates them. Therefore, we have streamlined our coverage of DC and AC circuit analysis and produced a book with half the usual page count. Admittedly, every special case is not covered. But, then, such exhaustive study diverts the students' attention and dilutes the message.
This book reflects our philosophy of always emphasizing why when relating the fundamental concepts. Its aim is to convey the needed core knowledge and to promote students' intellectual growth, riot just cover reams of material. After the students understand the fundamentals, then they can build on that knowledge, perhaps exploring the many special cases on their own, as needed.
Basic Approaches and Important Features
The following key features of this approach to DC and AC circuit analysis in this textbook include:
Who Will Benefit from Using this Text?
The primary anticipated audiences include two- and four-year electrical and electronics engineering technology programs in the first DC/AC circuits courses. The text is a strong candidate for technology programs and nonelectrical/electronics engineering technology programs and for programs where a single circuits course is needed. The text can also be used in an introductory freshman survey course in an engineering program, especially a noncalculus-based course.
Organization and Coverage
The organization of the material in this textbook and the logic behind it is as follows. The first chapter is a discussion of the nature of electricity, why electricity is needed, and where electricity is used, etc. The chapter sets the tone for the readers: the electrical energy viewpoint is introduced, and this viewpoint forms the basis for our approach in subsequent chapters. Some of the motivation 'includes connecting the course to modern issues, such as safety, electromagnetic compliance, and CE requirements. A section covers scientific notation and unit prefixes. The importance of proper units conversion and an organized method to convert units are then examined. The computational tools used in electronics are discussed to help establish a perspective for students, especially the role of circuit simulation in circuit analysis. From both pedagogical and motivational viewpoints, the authors assert that this crucial chapter should not be "skipped:"
Readers will notice the "ramp-up" approach in these first few chapters. The initial content is not introduced full-force, but rather the depth of the topical matter generally increases as the text proceeds, especially in the first few chapters. For example, the discussion of current flow is less intensive than it would be if it occurred later in the course or curriculum, but the depth is sufficient for students to continue building their conceptual foundation and understanding of electronics. Typical engineering technology students are often adapting to college itself as well as adjusting to the expectations of college course work. Hitting students with everything at once rarely helps this process and may even reduce the students' motivation for the electronics field. A relatively short ramp-up is designed into the initial chapters for this reason.
The concepts and definitions of the fundamental electrical quantities, namely charge, current, voltage, and resistance, are built from the theme of electrical energy and power in Chapter 2. Resistance is established to represent energy conversion. Ohm's law is established as the voltage-current relationship for resistance and is connected to electric power and energy to complete the voltage, current, resistance, energy, and power relationships. Resistors are presented as an important example of resistance. Resistor types are briefly surveyed, and web information research assignments are suggested to expand this coverage. Wire resistance is addressed through the conventional calculations and tables for wires. Meters and other instrumentation coverage are not included; they are covered in the Laboratory Manual instead.
The motivation for different circuit configurations is introduced in Chapter 3a. The circuit concepts and analysis techniques are covered for series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits. Resistor combinations, Kirchhoff's laws, and the voltage and current divider rules are explained and used. Superposition is established as one method to analyze multiple-source circuits using these same techniques. Practical sources and the current source are examined. Although this chapter is somewhat long, the circuit analysis topics are kept together to emphasize the complementary relationships between circuit analysis laws and techniques—an important concept for students to realize.
The emphasis of Chapter 4 is that an alternating current (AC) sinusoidal steady-state signal is a function of time. The topics covered include what an alternating current signal is, how the plots of sinusoids relate to the actual signal, and how the AC sinusoidal steady-state expressions relate to the plots and actual signals. Peak voltage and current, RMS voltage and current, and power in a resistance are used to continue the theme that electric circuits are used for energy transfer. The similarity of analyses between DC and AC resistive circuits is emphasized. Phasor notation is not introduced until Chapter 8.
The next two chapters utilize electric and magnetic fields to explain capacitor and inductor behavior, respectively. The authors have found that the introduction of too many electromagnetic field concepts this early in an engineering technology curriculum serves to confuse typical students. Students typically respond with fruitless memorization and frustration. Hence; the approach utilized here is to introduce just enough electric and magnetic field concepts to accomplish the fundamental goals of understanding how capacitors and inductors respond in DC and AC circuits. The operation of the capacitor is studied with the electric field intensity concept but without the electric flux density concept. The operation of magnets and the inductor is studied with the magnetic flux concept but without the magnetic field intensity concept. The authors are of the opinion that a fuller understanding of electric and magnetic fields should come in a subsequent physics or higher-level electromagnetic fields course, not all at once in a freshman-level electric circuits course.
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