Book recommendation?

Hi all, Can anyone recommend a good book about how to connect different chips from different manufacturers into a single device? E.g., an RFID reader from TI, a microprocessor from Intel, and a wireless transceiver from somebody else. I don't even know what to look for... I've searched for "Electrical Engineering" on Amazon, but those books only tell you how to make each individual part, not how to connect them together. Basically I want to connect the chips without frying them (or myself) to a crisp, and get them to talk to each other. I have a degree in computer science, so I'd be comfortable with something above the "Let's meet Mr. Electron" level.

Thanks, John

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On a sunny day (Wed, 8 Apr 2009 10:14:50 -0700 (PDT)) it happened wrote in :

You are a troll? How about "Let's meet mr Chip"? On a more serious aside, look up 'fan out', watch volatge levels, protocols, and in the very high frequency area PCB layout and impedances

- transmission lines. To read the datasheets is essential, Ohms law, and some other stuff helps too. Know about charge that needs to be moved, and where to order the pizza, and you are almost there.

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Jan Panteltje

It's more or less up to the individual data sheets. Check what protocol the peripherals use: parallel, async serial, SPI, I2C? What nominal family does the interface use: 5V TTL, 3.3V CMOS, 1.8V, LVDS? Many times the data sheets will also have a "typical applications" section that has example interconnections and layouts.

Manufacturers generally try to ensure that their parts will play nicely with industry standards. There are also level-converter chips that can be used to glue incompatible families together, when necessary.

Rich Webb     Norfolk, VA
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Rich Webb

That's sort of like wanting a book that tells how to do kidney transplants. Seriously, there's no short explanation for how to do complex stuff.

Read the datasheets; read any application notes; get the docs on demo boards.


Reply to
John Larkin

Kidney transplants? Really? I'd think that's fairly textbook stuff

-- I can imagine a lot of things that vary between people, but functionally you're just hooking up hoses to a new meat-filter.

I'd say it's more like... Dr. Frankenstein. Putting together disparate stuff and making it work. Although I don't recommend lightning as a debugging process.


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Tim Williams

A book? That's like asking for a book which tells someone who has never studied computing how to write a replacement for MS-Office. For making a complex electronic device, you could easily need knowledge from half of the courses making up an Elec.Eng. degree.

Even the most experienced EE would need to read the data sheets for the chips in question (and the data sheet for a CPU could be anywhere from a hundred pages for a simple 8-bit CPU to ten thousand pages for x86).

And you would need a fair amount of knowledge before you can understand the data sheet. If a chip uses e.g. I2C or SPI for communication, the datasheet will assume that you are already familiar with that protocol.

It will also assume that you understand basic electronic theory: voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, slew rate, EMI, thermal issues, etc.

Ultimately, it's all learnable, but a Comp.Sci. background won't necessarily help as much as you might expect. Exactly how much depends upon the amount of low-level experience you have. Knowledge of assembler, digital logic, and communications will help, while knowledge of Java, SQL, AI and the like won't be of much use.

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On a sunny day (Wed, 8 Apr 2009 13:47:40 -0700 (PDT)) it happened Tim Williams wrote in :

I think the problem is in tissue typing, finding a compatible donor.

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Jan Panteltje

Unfortunately, a degree in computer science won\'t turn you into a
circuit designer which, it seems, you want to be.
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Reply to
John Fields

For practical circuits, buy a copy of the ARRL handbook. Subscribe to Circuit Cellar and Elektor. Find "DIY" web sites that show how folks built stuff. All of these resources should show the circuit, and the first three will give you detailed circuit descriptions.

If you find that you can't stand reading the stuff, you're not cut out for it. If you find that you can't put it down when you should be writing yet another Java-to-database interface, you need to change careers.

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Tim Wescott

All of the above posts are valid.

You'll still have to learn at the component level, but the basic starter text for a mere technician these days, is " Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill, and expect to have to read all 1200 or so pages. Get the 2nd edition and don't cringe at the 85$ price. Even H&H will leave you searching for more data. Then search for books by a fellow named Boylestad having the title "Electronic Devices and Circuit Theory". You'll need that for the moderate to heavy math parts when something goes wrong with the no theory, Ill just guess and pray idea. Then probably Robert A Pease's "Troubleshooting Analog Circuits"

For the software you'll have to do Arduino or PIC and GCC.

Then you'll need a good oscilloscope (CRT model for beginners) and some other test equipment.

Or just hire a skilled technician, there are a lot of us unemployed right now.It takes typically two years or more and at least half a grand of equipment to get proficient at the basics.


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I think the only hope for what you want to do is to find boards with the functions you want that have the same interface standard, then drive it with a single board computer.

For example, I've bought boards from

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Even with a MSEE, I know it's a hell of a lot easier to buy someone's board than to roll my own. Just making the PCB is a huge amount of work. I only roll my own for things that aren't available commercially, or the commercial price is insane.

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Heh. Ain't that the truth!

Not much of a help with digital circuits, though.


Yep again.

  . | ,. w ,   "Some people are alive only because
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Bob Larter

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