Lessons In Electric Circuits -- Volume V (Reference) - Appendix 1


Appendix 1


How to contribute to this book

As a copylefted work, this book is open to revision and expansion by any interested parties. The only "catch" is that credit must be given where credit is due. This is a copyrighted work: it is not in the public domain!

If you wish to cite portions of this book in a work of your own, you must follow the same guidelines as for any other copyrighted work. Here is a sample from the Design Science License:

The Work is copyright the Author.  All rights to the Work are reservedby the Author, except as specifically described below. This License   describes the terms and conditions under which the Author permits you to copy, distribute and modify copies of the Work.                    

In addition, you may refer to the Work, talk about it, and (as      dictated by "fair use") quote from it, just as you would any         copyrighted material under copyright law.                           

Your right to operate, perform, read or otherwise interpret and/or  execute the Work is unrestricted; however, you do so at your own risk,because the Work comes WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY -- see Section 7 ("NO    WARRANTY") below.                                               

If you wish to modify this book in any way, you must document the nature of those modifications in the "Credits" section along with your name, and ideally, information concerning how you may be contacted. Again, the Design Science License:

Permission is granted to modify or sample from a copy of the Work,    producing a derivative work, and to distribute the derivative work    under the terms described in the section for distribution above,      provided that the following terms are met:                            

   (a) The new, derivative work is published under the terms of this         License.                                                       

   (b) The derivative work is given a new name, so that its name or          title can not be confused with the Work, or with a version of         the Work, in any way.                                          

   © Appropriate authorship credit is given: for the differences           between the Work and the new derivative work, authorship is           attributed to you, while the material sampled or used from            the Work remains attributed to the original Author; appropriate       notice must be included with the new work indicating the nature       and the dates of any modifications of the Work made by you.    

Given the complexities and security issues surrounding the maintenance of files comprising this book, it is recommended that you submit any revisions or expansions to the original author (Tony R. Kuphaldt). You are, of course, welcome to modify this book directly by editing your own personal copy, but we would all stand to benefit from your contributions if your ideas were incorporated into the online "master copy" where all the world can see it.


All entries arranged in alphabetical order of surname. Major contributions are listed by individual name with some detail on the nature of the contribution(s), date, contact info, etc. Minor contributions (typo corrections, etc.) are listed by name only for reasons of brevity. Please understand that when I classify a contribution as "minor," it is in no way inferior to the effort or value of a "major" contribution, just smaller in the sense of less text changed. Any and all contributions are gratefully accepted. I am indebted to all those who have given freely of their own knowledge, time, and resources to make this a better book!

Dennis Crunkilton

  • Date(s) of contribution(s):October 2005 to present
  • Nature of contribution:Ch 1, added permitivity, capacitor and inductor formulas, wire table; 10/2005.
  • Nature of contribution:Ch 1, expanded dielectric table, 10232.eps, copied data from Volume 1, Chapter 13; 10/2005.
  • Nature of contribution: Mini table of contents, all chapters except appedicies; html, latex, ps, pdf; See Devel/tutorial.htm; 01/2006.
  • Contact at: dcrunkilton(at)att(dot)net

Alejandro Gamero Divasto

  • Date(s) of contribution(s): January 2002
  • Nature of contribution: Suggestions related to troubleshooting: caveat regarding swapping two similar components as a troubleshooting tool; avoiding pressure placed on the troubleshooter; perils of "team" troubleshooting; wisdom of recording system history; operator error as a cause of failure; and the perils of finger-pointing.

Tony R. Kuphaldt

  • Date(s) of contribution(s): 1996 to present
  • Nature of contribution: Original author.
  • Contact at: liec0@lycos.com

Your name here

  • Date(s) of contribution(s): Month and year of contribution
  • Nature of contribution: Insert text here, describing how you contributed to the book.
  • Contact at: my_email@provider.net

Typo corrections and other "minor" contributions

  • The students of Bellingham Technical College's Instrumentation program.
  • Bernard Sheehan (January 2005), Typographical error correction in "Right triangle trigonometry" section Chapter 5: TRIGONOMETRY REFERENCE (two formulas for tan x the second one reads tan x = cos x/sin x it should be cot x = cos x/sin x-- changes to 01001.eps previously made)
  • Chirvasuta Constantin (April 2003) Identified error in quadratic equation formula.
  • Jeff DeFreitas (March 2006)Improve appearance: replace "/" and "/" Chapters: A1, A2.
  • Gerald Gardner (January 2003) Suggested adding Imperial gallons conversion to table.
  • Harvey Lew (??? 2003) Typo correction in Trig chapter: "tangent" should have been "cotangent".
  • Don Stalkowski (June 2002) Technical help with PostScript-to-PDF file format conversion.
  • Joseph Teichman (June 2002) Suggestion and technical help regarding use of PNG images instead of JPEG.



They say that necessity is the mother of invention. At least in the case of this book, that adage is true. As an industrial electronics instructor, I was forced to use a sub-standard textbook during my first year of teaching. My students were daily frustrated with the many typographical errors and obscure explanations in this book, having spent much time at home struggling to comprehend the material within. Worse yet were the many incorrect answers in the back of the book to selected problems. Adding insult to injury was the $100+ price.

Contacting the publisher proved to be an exercise in futility. Even though the particular text I was using had been in print and in popular use for a couple of years, they claimed my complaint was the first they'd ever heard. My request to review the draft for the next edition of their book was met with disinterest on their part, and I resolved to find an alternative text.

Finding a suitable alternative was more difficult than I had imagined. Sure, there were plenty of texts in print, but the really good books seemed a bit too heavy on the math and the less intimidating books omitted a lot of information I felt was important. Some of the best books were out of print, and those that were still being printed were quite expensive.

It was out of frustration that I compiled Lessons in Electric Circuits from notes and ideas I had been collecting for years. My primary goal was to put readable, high-quality information into the hands of my students, but a secondary goal was to make the book as affordable as possible. Over the years, I had experienced the benefit of receiving free instruction and encouragement in my pursuit of learning electronics from many people, including several teachers of mine in elementary and high school. Their selfless assistance played a key role in my own studies, paving the way for a rewarding career and fascinating hobby. If only I could extend the gift of their help by giving to other people what they gave to me . . .

So, I decided to make the book freely available. More than that, I decided to make it "open," following the same development model used in the making of free software (most notably the various UNIX utilities released by the Free Software Foundation, and the Linux operating system, whose fame is growing even as I write). The goal was to copyright the text -- so as to protect my authorship -- but expressly allow anyone to distribute and/or modify the text to suit their own needs with a minimum of legal encumbrance. This willful and formal revoking of standard distribution limitations under copyright is whimsically termed copyleft. Anyone can "copyleft" their creative work simply by appending a notice to that effect on their work, but several Licenses already exist, covering the fine legal points in great detail.

The first such License I applied to my work was the GPL -- General Public License -- of the Free Software Foundation (GNU). The GPL, however, is intended to copyleft works of computer software, and although its introductory language is broad enough to cover works of text, its wording is not as clear as it could be for that application. When other, less specific copyleft Licenses began appearing within the free software community, I chose one of them (the Design Science License, or DSL) as the official notice for my project.

In "copylefting" this text, I guaranteed that no instructor would be limited by a text insufficient for their needs, as I had been with error-ridden textbooks from major publishers. I'm sure this book in its initial form will not satisfy everyone, but anyone has the freedom to change it, leveraging my efforts to suit variant and individual requirements. For the beginning student of electronics, learn what you can from this book, editing it as you feel necessary if you come across a useful piece of information. Then, if you pass it on to someone else, you will be giving them something better than what you received. For the instructor or electronics professional, feel free to use this as a reference manual, adding or editing to your heart's content. The only "catch" is this: if you plan to distribute your modified version of this text, you must give credit where credit is due (to me, the original author, and anyone else whose modifications are contained in your version), and you must ensure that whoever you give the text to is aware of their freedom to similarly share and edit the text. The next chapter covers this process in more detail.

It must be mentioned that although I strive to maintain technical accuracy in all of this book's content, the subject matter is broad and harbors many potential dangers. Electricity maims and kills without provocation, and deserves the utmost respect. I strongly encourage experimentation on the part of the reader, but only with circuits powered by small batteries where there is no risk of electric shock, fire, explosion, etc. High-power electric circuits should be left to the care of trained professionals! The Design Science License clearly states that neither I nor any contributors to this book bear any liability for what is done with its contents.

The use of SPICE

One of the best ways to learn how things work is to follow the inductive approach: to observe specific instances of things working and derive general conclusions from those observations. In science education, labwork is the traditionally accepted venue for this type of learning, although in many cases labs are designed by educators to reinforce principles previously learned through lecture or textbook reading, rather than to allow the student to learn on their own through a truly exploratory process.

Having taught myself most of the electronics that I know, I appreciate the sense of frustration students may have in teaching themselves from books. Although electronic components are typically inexpensive, not everyone has the means or opportunity to set up a laboratory in their own homes, and when things go wrong there's no one to ask for help. Most textbooks seem to approach the task of education from a deductive perspective: tell the student how things are supposed to work, then apply those principles to specific instances that the student may or may not be able to explore by themselves. The inductive approach, as useful as it is, is hard to find in the pages of a book.

However, textbooks don't have to be this way. I discovered this when I started to learn a computer program called SPICE. It is a text-based piece of software intended to model circuits and provide analyses of voltage, current, frequency, etc. Although nothing is quite as good as building real circuits to gain knowledge in electronics, computer simulation is an excellent alternative. In learning how to use this powerful tool, I made a discovery: SPICE could be used within a textbook to present circuit simulations to allow students to "observe" the phenomena for themselves. This way, the readers could learn the concepts inductively (by interpreting SPICE's output) as well as deductively (by interpreting my explanations). Furthermore, in seeing SPICE used over and over again, they should be able to understand how to use it themselves, providing a perfectly safe means of experimentation on their own computers with circuit simulations of their own design.

Another advantage to including computer analyses in a textbook is the empirical verification it adds to the concepts presented. Without demonstrations, the reader is left to take the author's statements on faith, trusting that what has been written is indeed accurate. The problem with faith, of course, is that it is only as good as the authority in which it is placed and the accuracy of interpretation through which it is understood. Authors, like all human beings, are liable to err and/or communicate poorly. With demonstrations, however, the reader can immediately see for themselves that what the author describes is indeed true. Demonstrations also serve to clarify the meaning of the text with concrete examples.

SPICE is introduced early in volume I (DC) of this book series, and hopefully in a gentle enough way that it doesn't create confusion. For those wishing to learn more, a chapter in this volume (volume V) contains an overview of SPICE with many example circuits. There may be more flashy (graphic) circuit simulation programs in existence, but SPICE is free, a virtue complementing the charitable philosophy of this book very nicely.


First, I wish to thank my wife, whose patience during those many and long evenings (and weekends!) of typing has been extraordinary.

I also wish to thank those whose open-source software development efforts have made this endeavor all the more affordable and pleasurable. The following is a list of various free computer software used to make this book, and the respective programmers:

  • GNU/Linux Operating System -- Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, and a host of others too numerous to mention.
  • Vim text editor -- Bram Moolenaar and others.
  • Xcircuit drafting program -- Tim Edwards.
  • SPICE circuit simulation program -- too many contributors to mention.
  • TEX text processing system -- Donald Knuth and others.
  • Texinfo document formatting system -- Free Software Foundation.
  • LATEX document formatting system -- Leslie Lamport and others.
  • Gimp image manipulation program -- too many contributors to mention.

Appreciation is also extended to Robert L. Boylestad, whose first edition of Introductory Circuit Analysis taught me more about electric circuits than any other book. Other important texts in my electronics studies include the 1939 edition of The "Radio" Handbook, Bernard Grob's second edition of Introduction to Electronics I, and Forrest Mims' original Engineer's Notebook.

Thanks to the staff of the Bellingham Antique Radio Museum, who were generous enough to let me terrorize their establishment with my camera and flash unit.

I wish to specifically thank Jeffrey Elkner and all those at Yorktown High School for being willing to host my book as part of their Open Book Project, and to make the first effort in contributing to its form and content. Thanks also to David Sweet (website: [*]) and Ben Crowell (website: [*]) for providing encouragement, constructive criticism, and a wider audience for the online version of this book.

Thanks to Michael Stutz for drafting his Design Science License, and to Richard Stallman for pioneering the concept of copyleft.

Last but certainly not least, many thanks to my parents and those teachers of mine who saw in me a desire to learn about electricity, and who kindled that flame into a passion for discovery and intellectual adventure. I honor you by helping others as you have helped me.

Tony Kuphaldt, July 2001

"A candle loses nothing of its light when lighting another"

Kahlil Gibran

Lessons In Electric Circuits copyright (C) 2000-2006 Tony R. Kuphaldt, under the terms and conditions of the Design Science License.

GW1NGL NA7KR Kevin Roberts Ham Radio

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