Design Con 2015

Bob Dobkin and Jim Williams 960-page book of app notes

-August 25, 2011

Newnes/Elsevier Science & Technology has just announced the publication of a 960-page book of Jim Williams’ application notes. These notes span decades of Jim’s work and is a fitting remembrance to him after his untimely demise earlier this year.

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The Newnes press release state:

  • Newnes, an imprint of Elsevier Science & Technology Books, has published an eagerly awaited “bible” of analog electronic engineering and design by two industry leaders. Analog Circuit Design by Bob Dobkin & Jim Williams is a comprehensive source book of circuit design solutions that will aid systems designers with elegant and practical design techniques that focus on common circuit design challenges. Analog circuit and system design today is more essential than ever before. With the growth of digital systems, wireless communications, complex industrial and automotive systems, designers are challenged to develop sophisticated analog solutions. The book’s in-depth application examples provide insight into circuit design and application solutions that you can apply in today’s demanding designs.
  • Analog Circuit Design provides circuit system designers with the information they need:
  1. Covers the fundamentals of linear/analog circuit and system design to guide engineers with their design challenges.
  2. Based on the Application Notes of Linear Technology, the foremost designer of high performance analog products, readers will gain practical insights into design techniques and practice.
  3. Broad range of topics, including power management tutorials, switching regulator design, linear regulator design, data conversion, signal conditioning, and high frequency/RF design.
  4. Contributors include the leading lights in analog design, Robert Dobkin, Jim Williams and Carl Nelson, among others.
  • About the Authors
  • Jim Williams, who worked for Linear Technology for nearly three decades, started as an applications engineer in the early years of the company. His contributions were many-fold. He was a legendary analog circuit designer, problem solver, writer and mentor to many engineers over the years. Jim passed away in June 2011 after suffering a stroke. Hailing from Detroit in the shadow of a booming postwar US automotive market, Jim developed an early curiosity and interest in all things electronic. He would talk about working at a TV repair shop during his early years, so he could poke around inside to find out how they worked. His passion for electronics took him to Boston, where his intellect and drive helped him find a technician’s job working on the Apollo program. Although self-taught in electronics, Jim taught and did research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1968 to 1979, concentrating exclusively on analog circuit design. During this time, he began his legendary writing career-finding clear, elegant ways to describe complex and seemingly indescribable design challenges and solutions. Before joining Linear Technology in 1982, Jim worked in National Semiconductor’s Linear Integrated Circuits Group for three years. In nearly 30 years with Linear, Jim had the unique role of staff scientist, with interests spanning product definition, development and support. He was consumed with developing analog circuits, helping set up instruments in the company’s labs, mentoring junior engineers in-house and customers outside, even answering his own phone. Jim maintained a lab at his home and worked there, in a lab at least as well outfitted as the one at work. Jim Williams was named Innovator of the Year by EDN magazine in 1992 and elected to Electronic Design Hall of Fame in 2002. His outside interests spanned sports cars, collecting antique scientific instruments, art, and restoring (and using) old Tektronix oscilloscopes.
  • Bob Dobkin is a founder and Chief Technical Officer of Linear Technology Corporation. Prior to 1999, he was responsible for all new product development at Linear. Before founding Linear Technology in 1981, Mr. Dobkin was Director of Advanced Circuit Development at National Semiconductor for eleven years. He has been intimately involved in the development of high performance linear integrated circuits for over 30 years and has generated many industry standard circuits. Mr. Dobkin holds over 100 patents pertaining to linear ICs and has authored over 50 articles and papers. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I have had several readers tell me they were downloading all of Jim’s app notes. When I told them about this upcoming book, they were delighted to see that Newnes has saved them the trouble. In addition, you will get a touching introduction written by Jim, several notes by Bob Dobkin, Carl Nelson and other analog greats. Best of all the cover is an image of one of Jim’s art sculptures using analog components. I notice he has a part from his beloved Tektronix oscilloscopes right in the middle of the piece.

I should also mention that the Newnes press release mentioned a few other books that they are publishing. One that caught my eye was

Analog Design and Simulation using OrCAD Capture and PSpice

By Dennis Fitzpatrick, ISBN: 978-0-08-097095-0, Nov 2011| Softcover| 392 pages, USD 69.95|  EUR 50.95| GBP 42.95

I asked Newnes for a evaluation copy of the book. So far the best SPICE book I have found was recommended to me by Altium’s Matthew Berggren. Inside Spice, by Ron M. Kielkowski is out of print, but you can still get it used. The earlier edition is a bit cheaper. The great thing about this book is that Ron reminds us that SPICE stands for “simulation program with integrated circuit emphasis”. That means all the default settings are for IC design, not board-level work. Ron shows you a systematic way to change the setting so that you can get your simulation to converge. ‎It beats what I do, putting in 10Gohm and 1mOhm resistors everywhere.

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