All About Circuits is a brilliant web site for teachers, students and those with a general interest in electronics. It is jam packed with everything you’d want to know from a book costing many tens, if not hundreds, or pounds.
I’ve looked at several electronics ‘bibles’ recently with a view to purchasing one to base my future electronics courses on and I’d come up with two alternatives.
First up was the Introduction to Electric Circuits from Oxford University Press Canada weighing in at just short of £100 with its mate, the Lab Manual, adding a further £30-ish for every student undertaking the course.
The second option was the venerable and renowned tomb from Horowitz, The Art of Electronics, costing a more palatable £65. However, it’s stablemate, A Hands-on Lab Course, adds a further £40 to the bill equalising out the two options cost-wise.
However, I then discovered the All About Circuits web site. It features everything that these books did, but in a more accessible medium – and it’s completely FREE OF CHARGE!
Under the ‘Education’ menu you get access to six text books; Volume 1 – Direct Current, Volume 2 – Alternating Current, Volume 3 – Semiconductors, Volume 4 – Digital, Volume 5 – Reference and Volume 6 – Experiments.
These texts more than cover the theory for the electronics modules in the Level 3 BTEC Engineering course and there’s plenty of example circuits and experiments that can be easily recreated in the classroom. In fact, some of the content also proved useful for the Level 3 BTEC Computer Science module, Controlling Systems.
To back this up there are a series of free video lectures and worksheets that can be used as formative assessment as the course progresses.
This part of the web site alone makes this a great resource, but delve a little deeper and the web site just keep on giving.
Under the ‘More’ menu you’ll find loads of electronic tools such as an Ohms Law calculator, Op-Amp Voltage and Gain calculator, Pi Attenuator Calculator and an EIRP calculator for the budding RF engineers; there’s over sixty in there. Now I’ve used on-line calculators like this before, but they’ve all come from different places, been hard to find some times and often of dubious quality. Here’s the lot, all in one easy to locate place and of excellent quality backed up with the theory behind the calculation; so students may cheat when answering questions in their assignments, but hopefully they’ll learn whilst they’re cheating – and they’d probably find an on-line calculator anyway, so at least you point them in the direction of a reliable product.
Furthermore, the Code Library contains lots of projects for students to undertake to gain experience with electronics and learn new concepts.
This resource goes even further providing magazine style articles on electronics concepts and developments, technical articles from informed authors who’s profiles you can read to ascertain their credibility and articles from the industry itself.
To back it all up there is a discussion forum that members can partake in to share knowledge and enquire further.
The whole project is provided by a company called EETech, an organisation that is attempting to ’empower the smartest voices with the technology to create premium content’ and which claims to have an annual audience for its product of over 19.2 million, with over 4.5 million page views each month.
This is one product that I have found to be so useful that it’s one of my automatically loading pages when my browser opens. I thoroughly recommend it to you, whatever your interest in electronics.