Talk:Electronic engineering

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New article[edit]

I propose to move the section "History of electronic engineering" to a separate article History of electronic engineering. Please discuss. See also: Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2012 March 12. Biscuittin (talk) 10:47, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Are you planning an expanding the material? If not, I would oppose moving. It is not too long to be incorporated in this article, and in any case, a summary should remain here even if an article were created. SpinningSpark 12:51, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
There is a need for a History of electronic engineering article but as pointed out by Spinningspark it should contain a lot more material than what is in the current section. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 18:43, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Can you suggest some topics for inclusion in an expanded article please? Biscuittin (talk) 19:47, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
You should get plenty of ideas from Corbin The Third Element: A Brief History of Electronics. Electronics is central to telecommunications, radio and computing and the histories of these should be covered in depth as it relates to electronics. I have used Huurdeman The worldwide history of telecommunications a great deal as a source for telecommunications. Control systems are also important, things that spring to mind on that score are the Kalman filter and anti-aircraft gun control (important in WWII but not sure when electronic systems came in]]. SpinningSpark 20:38, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. I will have a look at them. Biscuittin (talk) 09:48, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I think this project is going to generate a lot of arguments, in particular about how far back to go. The first of your references claims it goes back to Biblical times (by reference to amber and lodestone) but I think this is dubious. I'd be inclined to start in 1884 with Temistocle Calzecchi-Onesti. Can anyone think of earlier examples? Biscuittin (talk) 10:15, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
In my view, the important distinction between electricals and electronics is the use of semiconductors and the earliest semiconductor I know of is the coherer. Biscuittin (talk) 11:12, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I think William Robert Grove produced a semiconductor using liquid and I will try to find references for this. This will be hard to classify because it is not solid state. Biscuittin (talk) 11:21, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I think it was something like this [1]. Biscuittin (talk) 12:23, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
It apparently wasn't patented till 1928 (US1671970.pdf on Google) but I think it was invented much earlier. Biscuittin (talk) 12:36, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think it is erroneous to equate semiconductors with the history of electronics. The most widely accepted point for the birth of electronics is probably Lee De Forest's invention of the triode. This is an entirely different technology from semiconductors, but at one time was very widely used. While this may be debatable as the start point, and there is certainly scope for an historical article to go back further, it is at least citable. I don't think Corbin quite makes the claims you say he does: the "biblical times" reference to amber is in the pre-electronics chapter, and on semiconductors he says this is the modern understanding of electronics, which is not relevant to historical origins.

What we are missing here is a clear definition of what electronics actually is. Most authors seem to avoid or obscure the question so citation might be a problem. To me, electronics is the active control of signals by means of electron flow. So I would say passive filters don't strictly count, nor does power transmission and distribution. "Signals" though, can include a wide range of fields, television, control systems, the internet etc etc. SpinningSpark 12:42, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree that we are missing a clear definition of what electronics actually is but I disagree with your definition. For me, electronics starts with semiconductors and includes Power electronics. However, I accept that this is just an opinion and we need to hear more opinions and if possible, obtain citations, before we can agree on a definition. Biscuittin (talk) 13:47, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I note your reference to "Electronics is a word that came up during the war" (presumably WWII). Although the word may have been invented in the 1940s, I would argue that electronic devices date back to the 1880s, although they would not have been called "electronic" at the time. Biscuittin (talk) 13:54, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I only meant it as an example of a wooly useless definition. However, having now got the full text of what the general said, it is actually quite germane, even citable:
"At one point you said electronics or communications. In words of one or two syllables, what do you mean by electronics ?
General ANKENBRANDT. Everybody moved over from being communications people — just telephone and radio — and they took our radar in one form or another. I almost described that as electronics gadgets. That is where the term came from. Electronics includes the whole art whereby you use radiating devices and vacuum tubes, which involve radiating devices.
In other words, to send a signal from one point to the other through the air for one purpose or another, where you just communicate, that was known as communications in the past. Now, radar, for instance, is doing the same thing. It sends a radio signal from here to there and then the bounce-back equals some information that is very valuable. That is known as electronics.
The term is being used interchangeably, and I think perhaps the term "electronics" will eventually displace communications in this sort of language. Every little radio shop around the country is now getting around to calling themselves electronics shops.
Television is a form of electronics, although it is really radio, when you come right down to it."
Note that in 1949 semiconductors were not in use in electronics and the general talks entirely in terms of valve technology. Can I also draw you attention to the title of Corbin's book The Third Element which may have passed you by. The third element being referred to is the grid of a triode valve and the whole thrust of Corbin's book is that this invention gave rise to electronics. He says of de Forest's Audion, "This was a momentous discovery and signaled the birth of the industry which we know as electronics." You might not agree with this point of view, but it is the one found most widely in the sources, hence is what should be reflected as the main view in a Wikipedia article.
Agreed, power electronics is problematic for my definition. But I would say power electronics treats the power as a signal that needs to be "processed" into a different form with minimum loss. There is also even more of a problem here with defining electronics as semiconductors. By your definition a thyristor stack would be electronics, but mercury arc rectifiers, carrying out precisely the same function, would not. SpinningSpark 14:29, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I think we are talking at cross purposes here. I am not defining electronics as semiconductors, I am just saying that electronics is a wide field which includes semiconductors, signal processing and power electronics and that the invention of semiconductors pre-dates their application to signal processing and power electronics by many years. Biscuittin (talk) 15:07, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
(ec) If more citations are needed there is the triode revolutionized radio, and started an electronics boom that hasn't stopped since." Also this book gives a more balanced, less black and white view. I would also point out that the phrase solid-state electronics has no meaning if one does not accept that it is to contrast with an earlier form of electronics, namely vaccuum tube/gas discharge tube technology. SpinningSpark 15:10, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree that electronics includes vacuum tube/gas discharge tube technology as well as semiconductors. The list I gave above was not intended to be exhaustive. Biscuittin (talk) 15:20, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
My apologies if we are talking at cross-purposes, but I think I can be forgiven for thinking you wanted to define electronics as semicondustors after you said "In my view, the important distinction between electricals and electronics is the use of semiconductors". I still think you would be going off at a tangent to concentrate on early examples of semiconductors, even if they could be shown to predate any valve technology. The key attribute here is control and the equivalent solid-state device to the triode is the transistor. That is why the transistor is such a milestone in the history of electronics and the diode and the rectifier are not. I certainly would not object to an article containing earlier inventions and discoveries which set the background, but the main thrust of the article should be on the key milestones (triode, transistor, integrated circuit, VLSI) and the events, people and inventions that led up to them. SpinningSpark 15:27, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I have created the article History of electronic engineering and I have included a dictionary definition of electronics. Please feel free to improve the article as you wish. Biscuittin (talk) 21:16, 14 March 2012 (UTC)


There is a clear consensus against including information about Muntzing in this article, except a link in the "See also" section. Armbrust The Homonculus 05:51, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

  • Muntzing is a process of simplifying an electronic circuit by eliminating parts to its minimal functional quantity. I added a brief mention of it to this article but it has been reverted twice now because someone thinks it's dangerous and "real" design engineers wouldn't do it. Should it be included? - Balph Eubank 20:56, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Why can't it be mentioned? - Balph Eubank 17:24, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

As I said in my edit summary when I reverted you this is an engineering article; Muntzing is not an engineering practice and Muntz was not an engineer (he was a salesman). No design engineer would dream of removing components "blind" without considering the consequences. This does not belong in this article, and it certainly does not belong in the lede. If you really feel strongly, start an WP:RfC and we'll see what other editors think.
Many components can be removed without making an apparent difference to function, but might lead to failure later. For instance, a component provided for temperature compensation would cause the unit to fail once taken outside. It can be a dangerous thing to do - the component may be part of a safety system which is only active in an emergency. Do you think, for instance, that it would be a good idea to remove and bypass the fuses and RCBs from the electric power circuits in your home? Doing so wouldn't stop anything working. SpinningSpark 18:16, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
None of this has anything to do with whether or not Muntzing should be mentioned in the article. This is an encylopedia, not an instructional guide on correct engineering principles. - Balph Eubank 20:50, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and Muntzing is notable, it should be included in Wikipedia. Since Muntzing is not a common practice in electronic engineering, but rather an alternative to it, there's no obvious reason to include it in the electronic engineering article. I think a short mention (e.g. under See also) might be OK, but not in the lede, and generally not in any way that suggests that Muntzing is an element of electronic engineering. — HHHIPPO 13:08, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment Not being an electronic engineer, nor having heard of Muntzing, I find the discussion rather nonplusses me, certainly as far as some of the attitudes are concerned. Purists among the professionals of the field might well insist in the article remaining unsullied by discussion of such debased practice, but much as it is necessary to discuss pongs, messes and embarrassments in medical connections, engineers too must occasionally recognise the seamier side of life. Purism is all very well, but it does not automatically earn its way in an encyclopaedia.
This said however, it is not clear to me why it is necessary to deal with the topic where it has been proposed. The article as it stands strikes me as far too spare, misleadingly so in fact. It seems to me for example to require a section something more along the lines of design disciplines or design techniques or something similar. Muntzing, which has its own article, seems to me basically a design topic or if you prefer, issue. Where it was mentioned in the Electronic engineering article as I saw it, the topic was Electronics, not electronic design, which is a different subject. Muntzing is already mentioned and linked in the "see also" section, and if there were an electronic design section, I would expect to see a link to the Muntzing article. However, there isn't, so I am inclined to suggest that there is no point to mentioning the topic in this article, or even linking to it apart from the existing link, until there is such a section. So, my ha'porth is to suggest that the term and its discussion be omitted from this article until such time as the article covers design concepts, if ever. Whether the discussion of design concepts belongs in an article on the engineering discipline in itself, is a totally different question; but one thing is certain as I read it and that is that if the field of design concepts does not fit into the article, then design subdisciplines do not fit either and whether one regards Muntzing as a good-faith design subdiscipline or not, it most certainly does not fit in the article until other undebatably legitimate subdisciplines are present and provide a suitable context. If there happens to exist another article on the subject of electronic design, then that is where Muntzing most logically would belong, not in the field of electronic engineering as such.
In summary, it is not so much a matter of what is proper and suitably dignified, but a matter of context and logic. Keep it out of this article until this article has the appropriate structure to accommodate it.JonRichfield (talk) 10:36, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
I pretty much agree with that. I did not oppose the addition because I want to keep the article pure, it is more a question of WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE. This is one maverick outside the discipline who has been pretty much ignored by everyone inside it. If it is shown that there is significant coverage in scholarly journals (even if only negative) then I might change my mind, but I don't believe there is. SpinningSpark 14:12, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Muntz was a marketer and smart guy; but "muntzing" isn't really electronic engineering, it's more of a ideological practice. Our article on it is actually unfair.. painting him as a guy who went round butchering electronics until it just still worked. Truth is he used the snips as a motivational technique for his engineers, to make sure the circuits were tight and reasonable. It's by no means a recognised engineering technique! I'd suggest Muntzing needs adequate attention before it gets discussed anywhere else. --Errant (chat!) 09:25, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Undergraduate Syllabus[edit]

Does anyone have access to the sources for this section? I'm particularly interested as to whether they directly support this list of topics as "typical" (or similar) for undergraduate studies. The section seems... unusual for an article of this type (for example; we should probably make it a list of significant fields). --Errant (chat!) 12:14, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

It's more than likely OR, but the sources all seem to be books available in gbooks limited preview (although the isbn search in google failed for this this one for some reason). It's just a matter of wading through them for anyone who cares that much. SpinningSpark 14:43, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Suggested correction[edit]

In this beta version search bar cannot show properly, when I search anything. (talk) 12:32, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

OR section?[edit]

@Kvng: why have you marked the Education and training section as possible OR? It looks pretty bland and uncontroversial to me. It is the sort of thing required in just about any branch of engineering. SpinningSpark 14:25, 22 September 2016 (UTC) @Kvng: SpinningSpark 14:25, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

I thought it was a more interesting complaint than {{unreferenced}}. It is bland, not particularly useful and somewhat redundant. ~Kvng (talk) 22:31, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
None of that makes it original research. SpinningSpark 22:43, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
The template does say "possibly"; given that the section has no references this is no unlikely. It's a reasonable tag highlighting a section needed work. --Errant (chat!) 07:06, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
No references is a different issue. No one can deal with possible OR if there is no clear statement of what the OR might be. If you just want the section gone, then make the case for doing that instead of irrelevant tagging that might achieve that purpose in a roundabout way. SpinningSpark 14:10, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
You're welcome to improve the section, change the tag, or even delete the tag if you think the section is fine. I was just trying to give myself and other editors a clue where to start when attempting to improve this article. ETA: {{Repetition}} might have been a better tag. ~Kvng (talk) 11:15, 27 September 2016 (UTC)