Best books for Electronics Engineering

In this blog post, i am going to mention some of the best books, i have come across for learning the basic core subjects in Electronics. So, without wasting any more time, here is the list. A disclaimer first though.


1. If you are looking to just pass the exams, then this post is not for you. Read your useless notes and local author books. The below books are for knowledge seekers, not for dumb future managers. The below post is not for you. It’s for those, who want to learn for the sake of learning, for those who find it fun and like to know how things work.

2.I have not read all the books completely from start to end, but, i have tried to read most of it. During my college days, i simply could not manage to prepare for exams properly, while, also learning through those books. I have started though, to read the books, one by one and have kept myself an aim of reading each of them completely.

If you live in India and can’t find those books at your local bookshop, use flipkart for getting them.

1. Mathematics

How can anyone hope to learn anything in the scientific and engineering field without Mathematics? Yet, there are fools who say what’s the point of learning it, when one is not probably ever going to use anything more than simple Algebra. Well, if you are learning engineering for the sake of earning money, then you are in the wrong place.

Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Erwin Kreyszig

This has got to be one of the best books for Engineering Mathematics. Covers proofs, good practical sums and gives a solid understanding.

2. Digital Design

Digital Design by John Wakerley

Digital Design by Morris Mano

Both are pretty good books. The one by John Wakerley also covers HDL languages.

3. Electrical Network Analysis

Engineering Circuit Analysis by William Hayt and Jack Kemmerly

4. Control Systems

Modern Control Engineering by Katsuhiko Ogata

Automatic Control Systems by Benjamin Kuo

5. Electronic Circuit Analysis and Design

Electronic Circuit Analysis and Design by Donald Neamen

Integrated Electronics by Jacob Millman and Christos Halkias

The Art Of Electronics by Paul Horowitz

The first one is damn good. The second one is a bit dated, but, covers the concepts quiet well. For example, it does not cover MOSFET’s thoroughly, while covering JFET’s, but, covers and teaches low and high frequency analysis of transistors like a breeze. The third one does not contain much maths, but, teaches practical design concepts pretty clearly. After reading CE amplifier and emitter follower design from it, you will feel it was so simple all the while. In college and classes, they just give you steps, without explaining any of the concepts behind it. Use the third in conjunction with the first or second.

If you really love analog, go for Analysis and Design of Analog Integrated Circuits by Paul Grey, Paul Hurst, Stephen Lewis and Robert Meyer.

I am going to express my rants again. I wish, i had never referred the local author J S Katre’s book. His books are a piece of shit. During my first two years of engineering, i felt disappointed and lost. Got carried away by the senior’s and peer talks of reference and foreign author books being difficult to read. It’s the exact opposite. The books are so good and they explain things properly. I had this mental block in my head and found Neamen’s book pretty tough to read, when i first read it. Never touched it again, till, after the end of fourth semester. I had failed in Digital Design during third semester, not having studied anything. As an experiment, i bought Digital Design by John Wakerley and read it. I did it just for the heck of it. I realized, that it was simple and easy to read from those books. So simple and precisely clear. The topic on logic families was handled so effortlessly in that. After the end of fourth semester, in vacations, i took up the book by Donald Neamen. At once, i realized my mistake. So, if you are reading this, and like to learn, refer good books. Don’t listen to your seniors and peers, who will tell you otherwise. They are losers. Go get good books.

6. Communications

Modern Analog and Digital Communication by B. P. Lathi

This has got to be one of the best books i have ever read. He explains concepts through mathematics as well as simple intuitive explanations. For the first time, this book made me realize, why having a good grasp of a language is essential. The English is plain and simple, yet, precise and clear. His full name is Bhagvandas Pannalal Lathi. Did his Bachelors from a Pune University and Master’s from Oxford. I never expected such a good book from an Indian author. His book is an example of how all beginner to intermediate level texts should be written. The book covers Analog and Digital Communication thoroughly well. Also, this book makes it quiet clear of why Signals and Systems should be covered first, before teaching analog communication concepts and why Probability and Random Processes should be taught before teaching Digital Communication. Fucking Mumbai University teaches Analog communication first, before Signals and Systems and does not teach Probability and Random Processes before Digital Communication. Fucking idiots!!.

7. Signals and Systems

Signal Processing and Linear Systems by B. P. Lathi

Signals and Systems by Alan V. Oppenheim

The first one is again one of the best books ever. The way anything should be taught and explained. How many people can tell the difference between Analog, Continuous, Digital and Discrete signals. Each one is different!. Second one is good too and uses a proper mathematical treatment. You can also refer Discrete Time Signal Processing by Alan V. Oppenheim and Digital Signal Processing by John Proakis for going further.

8. Electromagnetics

Engineering Electromagnetics by William Hayt

Electromagnetic Waves and Radiating Systems by Edward Jordan and Keith Balmain

Elements of Electromagnetics by Mattew Sadiku

The first and the third are good beginner to intermediate level texts. The first is especially good. The second is a fairly advanced text, but, contains a wealth of knowledge. I hope to finish and thoroughly understand this book some day.

9. Microwaves

Microwave Engineering by David Pozar

Very good book on the subject. I had the one by Samuel Liao, but, that sucks. The one by local author Wali (one used fairly widely in Mumbai) is a cheap copy without any coverage of concepts.

10. Power Electronics

Power Electronics by Ned Mohan, Undeland and Robbins

Fundamentals Of Power Electronics by Robert Erickson and Dragan Maksimovic

The first one is good for clearing all basics and the second one is quiet good, if you want to know about switching converters. The book Power Electronics by Khanchandani, is a piece of crap. Never understood a thing from it.

11. VLSI Design

Digital Integrated Circuits A Design Perspective by Jan Rabaey

This one is a very good book for VLSI. There is another book by Kang which is also a must have. The one by the local author Irfan, which is widely used around in Mumbai, is a one to one copy of Kang. The Tata McGraw Hill company should sue him for plagiarizing such a good work by Kang.

12. Filter Design

Sorry, haven’t come across a good book myself for this subject. Have been looking through various suggestions on the net. Will post when i get around to reading one.

These are some of the best books for electronics, i have come across. The list is by no means exhaustive and there may be a lot of other good books for the subjects.


Learning the importance of PCB Design – My experience

I don’t know about the education system of other countries, but, in India, it’s funny how most engineering colleges never bother to teach concepts and application of the concepts to practical real world problems. Though it very well may be the same in other countries as well, from what i have been reading about the state of education, even in countries like the US.

During my engineering college days, one of the most difficult subject for me to understand was Electromagnetics. I never thought that, one day, it would be the subject that would interest me the most and i would come across it’s application in such a way, as i am soon going to tell you about.

I was working on a system which used a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet connection for communication with the external world and for exchanging data. I designed the system, it was not a tough one, but, it had this one high speed interface. My understanding prior to first encountering failure on this project, was that on a Printed Circuit Board, a connection between Point A and Point B, is just a simple copper track laid out on the board. I made the schematics and send them to our local third party vendor. The vendor was just a regular run of the mill local guy, who didn’t have any idea about such things, well neither did any of my seniors had any idea nor I. That vendor just tried to do the routing using the auto routing facility available in most PCB Design software these days like the PADS tool by Mentor Graphics. If that didn’t work out properly, he would do the routing himself, trying to fit the tracks on the PCB properly.

So, the first sample prototypes came. I started testing them and as it turned out, the Ethernet interface didn’t work. I started doing research on the net, as to what could be the problem. And alas!! I find out about PCB design and it’s importance. All the PCB’s in the world with high speed interfaces, would have been impossible without PCB design. And as it turns out, it happens to be an application of the principles of Electromagnetics. Now, enough of my background experience, let me tell you why it’s important.

At low speeds the tracks on a PCB act just as normal electrical point to point connections. At high speeds, high frequency effects come into play. Remember lumped parameters and distributed parameters?. At low frequencies, the wavelength of the signal being propagated from one point to other is greater than the length of the track. At high frequencies, the wavelength of the signal is less than the length of the track. The lumped parameter model is considered for the former, while, the distributed parameter model is considered for the latter. Basically, parasitic inductance and capacitance come into play, impedance matching becomes important, length of tracks become important and these effects are just to name a few.

Consider, you are sending a high frequency signal from Point A to Point B. Now, at high frequencies, these tracks start acting as transmission lines. So, if  impedance of the track viz. the transmission line is not matched to the load (the point of reception), a part of the signal is transmitted and part of it is reflected. Basic transmission line theory, if Zl != Zo, you get a reflection co-efficient, where Zl is the load impedance and Zo is the characteristic impedance of the transmission line. The reflected signal interferes with the transmitted signal, and depending on the impedance mismatch, the signal can degrade significantly. In the case of Ethernet, a differential impedance of 50 ohms has to be maintained. Also, in case of a differential pair, the’+’ and ‘-‘ tracks should be of equal length. To maintain this impedance, the width of the track and the distance of the track from the ground layer has to be set properly. The (W/H) ratio is important, where W is the width of the track and H is the height of the track viz, the layer the track is running on to the ground plane layer, assuming you have a seperate ground layer available.

So, impedance matching is important and one of the parameters to take care of in PCB design. Other important factors to take care of include crosstalk, reducing any spurious EMI emissions, proper clock distribution, proper via placement and sizing, taking care of current return paths and layer stacking.

The above was just a very short explanation of why PCB design is important and an account of my own experience. I will try to cover the topics mentioned above in my future blog posts. In the mean while, if you are like me, who likes to explore things, by reading books and online content doesn’t and never will suffice, below, is a list of books you can refer to for delving deeper into the subject.

If you are good in Electromagnetics or have a decent understanding of it, skip the first two levels.

Level I. Basic Electromagnetics

1. Engineering Electromagnetics by William Hayt (Good for beginners)

2. Electromagnetics Waves and Radiating Systems by Edward C. Jordan and Keith G. Balmain (Much advanced compared to the first, but, contains a wealth of information. Hats off to you, if you can digest everything in this book)

Level II. Microwaves

Microwave Engineering by David Pozar

Level III. PCB Design

1. High Speed Digital Design – A Handbook Of Black Magic by Howard Johnson and Martin Graham

2. Advanced Signal Integrity for High Speed Digital Designs by Stephen Hall and Howard Heck

The first one is for beginners and doesn’t require high level math or calculus. A must read for all embedded engineers. The second one is detailed and dives into PCB design from a mathematical and detailed theorotical point of view and requires knowledge of vectors and calculus.

An advanced book is available for the first one, but, no low price edition available in India. Another book by Eric Bogatin is also available, but, again no low price edition available in India. I mentioned the second book, because, i managed to get hold of a PDF for it. Now, i don’t want to support piracy, but, since i couldn’t lay my hands on any Signal Integrity book for under 5K, i had no other choice. That book is very good and a must read though. All specialised books happen to be so expensive or difficult to find in India. If any of the authors or book publishers come across this post, a sincere request to you, please make a low price edition available. Paying 5 grand for a book is a bit too much, though, i can afford it!