Now that we have been introduced to some basic electronic concepts in Chapter 1, we will get to the business of making circuits to perform specific tasks. Many of these tasks involve setting and comparing voltage levels, and signal amplification. These applications will be used to introduce some additional electronic devices including semiconductor diodes and transistors as well as inductors, capacitors, and transformers. The current trend of moving to smaller electronics packages and surface mount electronics applies equally well to capacitors, diodes, and transistors, as it does to resistors. Surface mount components and their use will be discussed in a later chapter.
The major device configurations that will be introduced are bridges, rectifiers, amplifiers, and digital-to-analog converts. While each is useful for its own application, they are also useful as a means to learn about how diodes, transistors, and resistors can be used in circuits to perform specific tasks. In this chapter we will extend the idea of voltage dividers to making bridges for use in sensitive measurements, current dividers, diodes, some simple amplifiers, and power drivers, and introduce the idea of digital versus analog signals and how to convert signals from digital to analog.
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