Talk:Electronics

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General[edit]

I don't know what to do about this, but 1) the opening definition on this page is circular--electronics is the study of electronic devices and 2)electrical engineering is not a subdivision of electronics; almost the opposite is true.

As to 2): One common way of putting the distinction between electrical and electronic engineering is to say that electrical engineers deal with the problems of large currents and electronics engineers deal with small ones (this is from a Web encyclopedia, and frankly, I'd never heard of it, though it makes a certain sense). Another way of making the distinction is to say that electronics concerns the modification of electrical currents to carry information.

Electrical engineering is concerned with power transmission, conversion from AC to DC, stepping voltage up or down, earthing a power supply, et al. One has to do these things to wire a house, build an electric fan, or design the ignition circuit for an automobile engine. It's nothing to do with electronic devices.

As to 1), I suspect the problem is mostly stylistic. This is not a dictionary, as someone keeps saying. So what's needed at the start is not a definition, per se, but a topic sentence. But a circular definition doesn't work.

I'd re-write, but I'm not sure what the acceptable definition of electronics is.

the above statements about the difference between electrical engineering and electronics is.. less than correct. electrical engineers design/build/study electrical circuits, which are the same things as electronic circuits. the distinctions made above is more of a distinction between power electrical engineering, and every other sort of electrical engineering. i'm going to try and fiddle the definition to reflect what they teach you in "intro to electrical engineering" --User:jkominek
I tried to find out what is being taught in "intro to Electrical engineering" in mine as well as other universities. It came out that major component is related with power, circuit theory, etc. If we look at departmental arrangements then it can be said that "electrical engg" includes power, comm, electronics, control, etc. But from a amateur point of view, electronics may not be concerned with circuit theory... --User:Ashutosh Saxena

The American Heritage Dictionary of English (searched via dictionary.com) defines the adjective electronic as

Of, based on, operated by, or otherwise involving the controlled conduction of electrons or other charge carriers, especially in a vacuum, gas, or semiconducting material.

As you can see, this definition leaves room for interpretation. Note that the distinction does not rest on the difference between high power and low power, or on information versus power transmission. How we put this information in the article is another question. -- Heron

It is insignificant whether the electrons move in a particular medium or even whether they move, but significant that their movement is controlled. Waveguy

Yes, and the means of control is also significant. Controlling the current by switching a mechanical switch on and off, or by using electromechanical devices such as relays and thermostats, is not electronics, but controlling the current by means of another current or voltage without using moving parts is electronics. -- Heron

I differ. It is problematic to try to split hairs that way, especially when you scale down to nanotechnology. At some scale, all such devices are valid electronics; though not necessarily solid state. Where do you draw the line? -- Waveguy

You have a point there. I forgot about nanotechnology. However, you wouldn't say that a relay was an electronic device, would you? There must be a line somewhere, even if it's not where I said it was. There are people who call themselves electrical engineers and others who call themselves electronic engineers, and Wikipedia needs to explain the difference, even if the distinction is blurred.

Also, I'm a bit troubled by your claim that at a small enough scale, "all such devices are valid electronics". I think that's going too far. Think about the electrical processes in electrolysis, or the signalling in nerve cells. Those things happen at atomic or molecular scales, but most people don't call them electronics. I think we are in danger of just throwing examples and counter-examples at each other, but if that's the only way we can reach a consensus, then so be it. On the other hand, we could just give up trying to make the distinction, and say "Here are three lists of electrical/electronic topics. List A contains those that more than 90% of Wikipedians who expressed a preference class as electronics, etc..." -- Heron

don't forget that electronic, electromechanical, and electrochemical devices all appear in many modern electronic circuits even on macro scale. if you try to draw any line, someone will blur it. 209.47.103.56

Someone wrote that "Richard shags his dog" - can that be removed? thanks 85.133.32.148 12:05, 3 October 2006 (UTC) Sam, 3 OCT 2006 13:05 BST


Theres a difference between science and engineering, and it looks to me like you're trying to use scientific definitions to describe engineering disciplines.

As we've seen here its impossible to lay down a simple, rigid and accurate distinction between electronic and electrical, so maybe the best bet is to describe them roughly and accept that there are grey areas and overlap. Tabby 18:13, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

I once heard on a TV documentary, in the 80's, that the definition of electronics is use of a weak electrical signal, to regulate a strong signal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.211.67.214 (talk) 18:40, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Just off the top of my head, here's half a dozen circuit blocks that are counter-examples of that definition: diode bridge, diode clamp, low-pass filter, envelope detector, Zobel network and Wheatstone bridge, to say nothing of the whole field of power electronics. This is why "stuff you heard on TV" is not a reliable source. SpinningSpark 23:03, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Analog Multiplier[edit]

Trying to find a home for an orphan, I added analog multiplier to the Analog Circuits section of the page. I'm not sure it fits there. Anyone who knows, please move it appropriately! Anthropos 19:02, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Old External Link Reverted Back[edit]

There was an external link to a Electronics Project Page, Electronics Infoline, much earlier created by me, around a year ago on 1st November, 2004. [See Here] It remains there for a long period until 11th April, 2006. [See Here] and later the link is removed alongwith other commercial Link Spam and the whole is replaced by Dmoz listing.

I have just edited back the link and request opinion from other editors. There are still some links to good external sites like above. Although is now much common to insert external links to Wikipedia, I suggest to keep external links, which are at least 1 year old. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bulan (talkcontribs) 04:59, 12 May 2006

Difference between AC and DC[edit]

Electricity flows in two ways; either in alternating current or AC and in direct current or DC. The word electricity comes from the fact that current is nothing more than moving electrons along a conductor, like a wire, that have been harnessed for energy. Therefore, the difference between AC and DC has to do with the direction in which the electrons flow. In DC, the electrons flow steadily in a single direction, or "forward." In AC, electrons keep switching directions, sometimes going "forwards" and then going "backwards." The power that comes from our wall outlets is AC, the more common, efficient kind. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.227.154.12 (talkcontribs) 14:35, 28 June 2007

amplifiers[edit]

in amplifier transistors must be in active region — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bharath1234 (talkcontribs) 11:44, 9 August 2009

Definition/lead[edit]

The definition / lead "Electronics is the branch of physics, engineering and technology" is wrong (and logically flawed too "a branch of branches"). The (main) branch of physics that is the science underpinning electronics is "solid-state". It is an engineering topic not science. I checked some other dictionary sites and they also refer to science (rather than physics) so alluding to the idea that electronics is a science in itself (which I also do not agree to) but more correct that this. Due to the other definitions, I'm flagging this here for fixing (rather than fixing myself). Let's fix this and not conflate science, engineering, and technology. Widefox; talk 06:17, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

I have removed "is the branch of physics, engineering and technology" . The lede could do with a complete rewrite. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 06:45, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
It is not correct that the branch of physics is "solid-state". At one time electronics was largely not solid-sate and still today it is not exclusively solid-state. My university physics textbook on the subject was called Physical Electronics which I suggest is the correct name for the branch of physics. By the way, the foreword of that book opens with "Electronics (or electronic engineering since the two names are synonymous)... SpinningSpark 06:55, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
The lead is better now, but still not right "active" is a red herring, due to passive components and insulators being part of the art. Maybe I wasn't clear enough - this is not science, so its moot. (But..while we're being pedantic...I did include "(main)" to cover myself! "solid-state" was the name used in my Physics course title & department research group at Bristol Uni undergrad degree and PhD. I suppose I should check that against the wiki consensus. Textbook names are another topic, we used H&Hill for electronics/labwork.) Widefox; talk 11:03, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

electronics[edit]

what is the proper way to apply the tining techiniques? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 112.198.77.113 (talk) 02:09, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Timeline[edit]

The "History of Electronics" timeline seems quite unwieldy in this article. It's just a list of events with almost no commentary. It should probably be forked to its own list-type article, trimmed to size or both (i.e. leave in the absolute highlights with a section hatnote saying, "Main Article: History of Electronics Timeline"). 0x0077BE (talk) 05:02, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm willing to turn it into a list-type article. While I do agree with you that the table is somewhat "unwieldy", I made it into a collapsible table in the bottom section in an attempt to fix that problem - I think it does the job. Also, i'm somewhat confident that I already got the majority of events needed on the list.

(HiYahhFriend (talk) 18:50, 11 February 2014 (UTC))

History of Electronic Components[edit]

This section states that Thermionic Valves "dominated electronics until the middle of the 1980s". Although the use of tubes dropped off gradually (and at different rates in different applications), radios had largely switched to tubes by the mid-1960's (as noted here) and televisions were almost entirely solid-state by the early 70's -- the two main consumer electronic devices of that time. I propose that this changed to "dominated electronics until the middle of the 1960s". This would be more consistent with the Solid state (electronics) page, which notes that "The expression ('solid sate') became prevalent in the 1950s and the 1960s, during the transition from vacuum tube technology to semiconductor diodes and transistors."

- Chris Tyler (talk) 21:09, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I suppose it depends what we mean by the vague term "dominated". From the perspective of a repair shop technician in the 70s, most people still had valve TV sets so his work would be "dominated" by valves even though new transistor designs were coming on line. Actually, valves were not completely eliminated from new TV designs until much later. There was no transistor at the time that could handle the line drive voltage. Picture tubes went later still, and I still see such TVs in some cheap hotels even today. Valves are still used in high-power transmitters, by the military, some specialist audio, and don't forget the magnetron in everybodies kitchen.
Anyway, the statement is sourced to a book explicitly on the history of valves. Before changing anything, I think we should have a source, preferably a book or scholarly paper, that is at least as reliable and even more authoritative than the current source. Either that, or refrain from talking about domination at all, just give the actual facts. SpinningSpark 23:46, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

To state that vacuum tubes dominated electronics till the 1980’s is absurd. First the reference document does not say dominate it says they played a leading role. Even so the article is edited by people with extensive but exclusive vacuum tube experience. Their statement is correct for the field of microwave and high power transmission. It does not apply to the electronic industry in general. Except for a few specialty areas transistors have dominated the industry since the 1960’s. Television was slow to be transistorized because they had their designs that worked and the CRT required high voltage control that was not especially suited to transistors. Also the limited life of the vacuum tube suited the television industry very well. They did not dominate radio design and certainly not computers since the 1960’s. The repair shop technician is hardly a measure of electronic domination. It took years for the TV repairman to learn how to deal with transistors and printed circuits. In the 1960’s people measured the quality of their radios by the number of transistors it had. Computers abandoned vacuum tubes in the mid 1950’s. I did professional designs for a huge number of electronic circuits since 1958 and designed only one vacuum tube circuit and that was a test with no practical use. Transistors have dominated most of the electronic industry since the 1960’s and the computer industry since the 1950’s. Siting a book on the history of vacuum tubes is hardly a credible source of what might have taken over its domination. The vacuum tube gave us a great fifty years of the electronics revolution. They have held their place in high power applications but not the electronics industry in general. This may be an example of why simply siting a hard copy reference does not necessarily provide reliable information.Thingmaker (talk) 11:08, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm not going to defend this passage to the death, but what I will insist on is a source at least as authoritative as the one already in the article before anything is changed. The problem here is partly that the phrase is vague and to some extent a matter of opinion, and opinions are going to vary. What might be better is something factual, like the production figures of transistors versus valves. My recollection of the 1960s is that there were still plenty of valve radio arounds. Portable radios were inevitably transsistorised, but not always radios in the home. Computer design was a somewhat niche market, mostly of interest only to big business, and did not have the central role in electronics that it has today. Anyway, as I say, we should work from sources, not personal recollections. SpinningSpark 11:50, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

I did some editing on the History of electronic components article. I think you may approve. If not I know you can back it out. I hope you approve! Only trying to help.Thingmaker (talk) 23:57, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Electronics lab[edit]

I am quite certain Ohm’s Law and Kirchhoff’s law are not empirical. They are facts and the foundation of electronic theory. An Electronics lab typically is where designs are built and tested. The designs are developed normally using proven theory. The testing is to verify the specific design not the known and accepted theory of electronics.Thingmaker (talk) 21:03, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Lab, upper case L, is usually the building where new development takes place. It might have many labs, lower case l, as well as offices and support. It would be the workplace of many Electrical Engineers and technicians. Electrical Engineers design electronic devices as well as high power devices.Thingmaker (talk) 14:20, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

The section is awful and deserves to be zapped and done over again. However, I would take issue with Ohm's and Kirchhoff's laws are not empirical. They both were most certainly discovered empirically. True, they were later justified from theory but only if certain assumptions were made. They are certainly not the foundation of electronic theory. We can say they are central to circuit analysis, but they are not the foundation of circuit analysis theory—that would be Maxwell's equations. Ohm's law is particulary difficult to justify in theory requiring modelling of the atomic structure of the conductor. This is commonly done via the Drude model. A model is not a theory, thus Ohm's law is only true in situations in which the Drude (or equivalent) model applies. SpinningSpark 03:43, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

In my 32+ years working as an electrical engineer and designing hundreds of electronic circuits of all kinds and teaching others the design theory, I spent thousands of hours in electronics labs. Never did I or my co-workers ever spend any time there to verify Ohm’s or Kirchhoff’s law. Nearly all our designs were based on these laws and they never failed us. If a design uses a resistor Ohm’s law defines its value. If the circuit has a node of connecting components Kirchhoff’s law defines the sum of their currents. These laws are the basis of any reliable electronic design. Maxwell’s name seldom came up and if it did it was more likely related to magnetics. Some time might be spent in a school lab to demonstrate the laws to a student but most design engineers know to trust them as basic laws of electronic design. The three times I knew of engineers declaring the laws failed it turned out their understanding or instrumentation was the source of the error. These are facts that any skilled electrical circuit design engineer will verify. I am certain I have said enough.

I agree the article should be replaced with something more relevant. If no one objects I might give it a try. You can always undo anything you don’t approve of.Thingmaker (talk) 14:28, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

You seem to have interpreted my statement that these laws are not the foundation of electronic theory as meaning these laws are wrong. Of couse that is not what I meant, and of course they work in circuit design, but first of all there are limitations to where we can apply the idea of "circuit" at all. In fact, there are some very common circuit situations where the laws do not apply, but we both inately know not to apply them there so become blind to the limitations. A diode does not obey Ohm's law. Neither does a capacitor. A single plate of a capacitor does not obey Kirchhoff's current law; current goes in, but none comes out. The fact that we do not commonly invoke the Maxwell equations is beside the point. It does not meant that they are not the more fundamental, it just means that most of the time the simplifying assumptions of the circuit concept can be applied. SpinningSpark 16:09, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

I have nothing more to say about laws. So will someone rewrite the section about Electronic Lab? Will someone else do it or do you want me to try? If me, it will take me a few days since I am working on another section. I would say nothing about empirical laws being tested and probably not much of what we discussed. It would be more of an account of what is done in an Electronic Lab both design and test and why it is done.Thingmaker (talk) 19:33, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm fine with you rewriting it. Pinging user:Goatboy22 as he inserted the material with this edit. SpinningSpark 13:10, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I made a minor change to fix the empirical and laws discussion. I hope this meets with approval. I think more changes might be helpful. Possibly just changing the title to reflect the simulation aspect rather than "lab" in general might do the job. Electronics lab is a very broad topic. Maybe "Electronic simulation" would work.Thingmaker (talk) 13:46, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Improvement time[edit]

"Vacuum tubes (Thermionic valves) were one of the earliest electronic components."

they came an awful long time after pith balls, condensers & other components

"They were almost solely responsible for the electronics revolution of the first half of the Twentieth Century. They took electronics from parlor tricks and gave us radio, television, phonographs, radar, long distance telephony and much more.

Radio & record players pre-date valves in fact.


"They played a leading role in the field of microwave and high power transmission as well as television receivers until the middle of the 1980s.[2] Since that time, solid state devices have all but completely taken over. Vacuum tubes are still used in some specialist applications such as high power RF amplifiers, cathode ray tubes, specialist audio equipment, guitar amplifiers and some microwave devices."

Well, Reference 2, History of electron tubes edited by Sogo Okamura says:

"Electron tubes have played the leading role in electronic equipment up until the middle of the 1980's. Then, solid state devices, such as transistors and integrated circuits, replaced electron tubes in various application, and accelerated the electronic age."

First this reference does not back up what the wiki article says, which is something different. Second, it simply is not true. Anyone that was involved in electronics in the 80s knows what type of devices they were working on, and for the overwhelming majority of us it was transistors & ICs, as it was in the 70s too. Just because someone writes something does not make it so. The only sensible conclusion is that Mr. Okamura wasn't around in the 80s.

In the real world, transistors largely took over from valves in the 1960s. I say largely, as they took longer to disappear from a minority of tasks, every microwave oven still uses a magnetron, which is a thermionic tube, and they do still have niche apps.

No, this is not original research. It takes no research and nothing original for electronic engineers to remember what they and other engineers were working on in the 80s.

If this article is to have any chance of becoming a decent article, this cockeyed claim has to go. I'm deleting the reference, and hope no-one is fool enough to put it back.


The branches of electronics reference is a) a comment left on a website by a visitor b) leaves out several well known ones c) I'd love to know the supposed difference between semiconductor and semiconductor electronics :)

There's also

  • rf
  • robotics
  • power electronics
  • computer engineering
  • medical
  • etc etc


"after all, all aspects of the real physical world are essentially analog, so digital effects are only realized by constraining analog behavior."

So as well as being pregnant or not, one can also be partly pregnant?


"One rarely finds modern circuits that are entirely analog."

really? As I look around me among my modern stuff I see all analogue audio amps, power supplies, battery chargers, multimeters, testgear, radios, RC lighting ballasts, a dimmer, motor speed controls, audio & rf distribution systems, etc etc.


This article is in poor shape at the moment. Its a start, but some unlikely claims are really doing it no favours. Maybe its time for some editors to accept they've done what they can & that there are people that can take this article further at this point in its development. Tabby (talk) 03:29, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Ternary[edit]

"Ternary (with three states) logic has been studied, and some prototype ternary computers were made decades ago. Binary has proven preferable."

The above was reverted with an objection to binary being preferable. How can I put this... for several decades now NO commercial ternary computers have been made. Just about ALL have been binary, and NONE ternary. The entire planet's computer sector has chosen binary over ternary. Clear enough? Tabby (talk) 03:43, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

That's clear enough, but you still cannot say that binary is superior without a source. This site says the opposite. Nor can you imply that all research in ternary stopped decades ago. There are many recent papers on ternary, especially for optical computers 2003200520142014. In fact, the subject seems to have been continuously researched since the 1960s. It is certainly going to be true that there would be big economic difficulties in switching to ternary given the established binary in manufacturing, but it by no means follows that ternary does not have advantages, or that it is not actively studied, or that it will not be used in the future. SpinningSpark 18:44, 29 January 2015 (UTC)


I need to check I'm clear on your position here, because I'm baffled by it. The entire computer industry planet-wide has decided binary is the way to go, not ternary, but you would place more faith in a reference, which is nothing more than one person saying something.

You know what, this is beyond ridiculous. Enjoy putting bs in the article. I'm done. Tabby (talk) 22:37, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

There is no need to take such a combative position. I am not trying to put "bs in the article". And yes, we do set great store on sources here. SpinningSpark 09:07, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I understand Tabby’s frustration here. Citations go both ways. You equally cannot say ternary is better than binary without citing a decent source. The Setun history page linked above is hardly an adequate source. It briefly mentions the design of logic elements using coils and diodes (building computers looked very different in 1958), and makes some claims about speed and efficiency (compared to what?). The article itself cites the Brusentsov bio from the same site. The only discussion about power consumption and reliability I can find in that article is this (my bold):
According to the USSR Council of Ministers directive commercial production of the computer was trusted to the plant of mathematical machinery in Kazan '. Unfortunately the plant administration did not demonstrate any interest for production of big series, since “Setun” was too cheap. Only 15 till 20 machines a year were assembled, and even those for not very long. The arguments that it was very reliable and efficient no matter where it was installed, in Kaliningrad or Dushanbe , Odessa or Yakutsk (extreme North-East), and its lasting “heavy-duty” operation practically didn't need spare parts, did have no influence. A number of orders was received from customers of some European countries but also without response.
A passing comment about one specific machine built in 1958. Not really strong support for the claim. Maybe there is some theoretical (or practical) reason why ternary operations should be more efficient than binary ones - and that would be an excellent addition to the article. But I have to agree with Tabby here. To simply ignore that (to the best of my knowledge) every single commercially available computer uses binary logic, and make shaky claims based on a single machine built almost 60 years ago, is bizarre.
Tabby - I hope you don't give up. But I understand your frustration. I have almost stopped editing technical articles on WP for similar reasons. GyroMagician (talk) 09:35, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Hi Gyromagician, I think you have misunderstood my position. I am not trying to insert a statement that ternary is superior. Nor does the article say that. I neither want to make the claim, nor do I propose using the Russian computer as a ref as if it were current. I reverted Tabby's edit because by saying ternary was only ever used "decades ago" it inserted the implied POV that ternary is no use and should be forgotten about except by historians. This may be true, but it requires a source before it can be said in Wikipedia's voice. In fact, ternary is being actively researched for optical computers as I pointed out above. There is far from a lone voice involved here.
The usual reasoning for using binary, or rather, the argument against using more than two logic levels, is that it will reduce the noise immunity, assuming the maximum usable level is fixed. However, most of the proposals for optical computers are proposing using two orthogonal polarisations. I don't know much about this kind of communication, but I would guess that using two polarisations in a ternary system will yield close to the same noise immunity as a binary system using one polarisation. Thus, the main advantage of binary no longer applies, but the ternary system has close to 60% improvement in bit density. That might well explain the current considerable interest in the system. SpinningSpark 11:43, 30 January 2015 (UTC)