How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic (Anglais) Broché – 1 novembre 2000
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Master the Art of Electronics Repair
In this hands-on guide, a lifelong electronics repair guru shares his tested techniques and invaluable insights. How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic shows you how to repair and extend the life of all kinds of solid-state devices, from modern digital gadgetry to cherished analog products of yesteryear.
You'll start by selecting the tools and test equipment you'll need and setting up your workbench. Then, you'll get familiar with components and how they form circuits, stages, and sections of a device. Next, you'll learn how to take a product apart, figure out what's wrong with it, replace components, and reassemble it. Real-world case studies help clarify the topics covered. Tips and tricks for specific devices, such as optical disc players, computers, and video recorders, are also included in this practical resource.
- Set up a workbench and equip it with tools and test instruments
- Ensure personal safety and avoid electrical and physical damage to devices
- Understand electrical units, circuits, and signals
- Use test equipment, including a digital multimeter, signal generator, frequency counter, and an oscilloscope
- Repair circuit boards and replace parts
- Work with components, from capacitors and ICs to transistors and zeners
- Learn to read block, schematic, and pictorial diagrams
- Disassemble devices and identify sections and stages
- Troubleshoot and diagnose to the component level
- Perform reverse-order reassembly
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In reality, what I needed was a holistic approach that narrated the circuit and the signals that are manipulated. I NEVER thought of circuits this way and the author was able to explain that the active elements are the players in the story and everything else is a supporting cast.
I could read a schematic, but I couldn't understand why the components were there. I know that a capacitor doesn't pass DC, but now I see that when placed in the circuit, it acts as a DC filter to remove noise before passing a signal to the next stage.
On top of all that, I realized that every circuit has a voltage that is used as a signal. Signal analysis, analog and digital, seemed like a very advanced topic that I only understood through major concepts (linearity, aliasing, etc). Now I realize that a battery and a light bulb has a signal just as a digital video camera does. One is just more complex.
Bottom line, this is the book that I couldn't put down...and it is about some of the driest material you can find. It is written in a fun and enjoyable fashion. Every page had an "AH HA!" moment and I am much more confident in my electronics hobby and profession.
I cannot recommend this book enough and I would pay triple just for the section where the author walks through a couple sample circuits, describes each component's function, and what would happen if that component failed.
Good coverage of test equipment
Good anecdotes that demonstrate basic methodology
Good basic techniques for fixing common consumer electronics
It won't tell you how to diagnose and fix everything electronic
I'm an engineer by training, and I tend to take words literally. So when I read the title of this book, then observed that rather than an encyclopedia volume 1, these 316 pages were the entire book, I was dubious, and doubly so when I read the back cover where it promises "Master the Art of Electronics Repair," and how to repair and extend the life of "all kinds" of solid-state devices. I have read electronics books for a few decades. When I noted the publisher, Tab, I said to myself, "uh-huh". Because if there are a few things I have learned about Tab Books in particular in my years of reading them, it is these:
1. They tend to over-sell their books in the title and abstract for the book
2. If the book features projects, the circuits are often not tested and sometimes can't work as presented
3. Except for the cover, the production quality is often substandard compared to other publishers
If I was the author of the book, I would not be comfortable writing a book that promised to teach you how to fix everything electronic and to make you a master in 316 pages, because it CAN'T BE DONE.
I wondered when I saw a picture on the cover of a computer hard drive with a magnification of the electronics, because when a hard drive fails, I think it's best to do your best to recover data from it, then you move to a new one that is less likely to fail again. But the author does have a technique he says may be able to save a failing drive. Hey, if it works, I'd still use it as a rescue for data from the failed drive... then I'd wipe it and throw it away.
But I'm NOT here to tell you the book is worthless, or that the author does not know what he is talking about. Neither is true.
The author clearly knows what he is talking about and speaks from experience. He does tell you about the essential tools of the trade - and other tools which you have heard of but may not be necessary except for specialized jobs. He goes into some detail on using them. I came to this book to learn more about oscilloscopes, and he does a reasonable job with them - 28 pages, almost 10% of the book!
Around 50 pages in, he gets into some basic trouble-shooting techniques, followed by diving into a couple of case studies that expose the reader to the process he follows, which is very much like a detective's work. There are no short-cuts: you have to understand the circuit so that you can trace it for clues, and from the clues you have to be able to think to figure it out. It's challenging work.
Obviously, it is useful to have a background in electronics. If you don't have that, he has a couple of chapters on components and circuits. It's brief; fortunately, there are lots of books dedicated to these subjects to learn a lot more, especially on subjects that apply to the kind of equipment you want to fix.
Chapter 14, at just over 50 pages, is tips and tricks for fixing specific products and technologies: switching power supplies (used in many products, and frequently a source of failure), audio amps and receivers, disc players and recorders, flat panel displays, hard drives, laptop computers, mp3 players, vcrs and camcorders, and video projectors. The problem is, that's just a few pages for each topic, and you could devote an entire book to each topic and not cover everything. This should be the meat of the book, but it's like the author ran out of time when he got here.
The topics in Chapter 14 should have been at least a 50 page chapter each to earn the book's ambitious title. Better still would be to omit Chapter 14 from this volume, then use this volume as the introduction to a series, and write a separate book on each of the topics of Chapter 14 and beyond. Do that, Tab, and I'll consider buying the set.
This book would have come closer to succeeding just by having a title like "using test equipment to diagnose common problems in consumer electronics," which is closer to what it covers: there are about as many pages discussing test equipment as there are on general diagnosis techniques and tips and techniques that apply to specific types of equipment. The author probably had a different title in mind, but Tab had an outdated book they wanted to update that had a similar title, so maybe they talked the author into a more ambitious title so it would sell better. Or at least, that's my theory.
Three stars ("It's OK") is not a bad review, but there is room for improvement. There are definitely parts that are useful to me. As it is, it will not tell you everything you know to fix everything electronic, or even close, but it may start you down that path. It is a good beginner's book.
If you are a beginner to electronics or even past the beginner stage and want to go beyond just opening up something that doesn't work, looking for loose connections and burned components, this will be just what the doctor ordered.
The writing is top notch and done in such a manner that it's truly enjoyable.
It's been a long time since I've picked up a book written to actually be read and used.
A big thanks to Michael Geier for getting me back into troubleshooting and setting up a small repair area.
I have books that I have spent hundreds of dollars on that are not laid out nearly as well. I particularly like the breakdown and explanation of the individual components. There is a section of the book that describes the recognition and functions\uses of each type of component in electronics along with how to test them in and out of a circuit. That section also speaks about what is likely to kill each type of component. I really wish that Michael Geier (author) was an instructor at my school! He knows how to provide the most technical information so that anybody can get a foundation of knowledge going.
I will say that you should have some general knowledge about electronics. But that does not exclude the total novice from getting started with this book. A novice just might have to look a few more things up here and there. The breakdown of all test equipment necessary to have a decent electronics work bench is fantastic. I have a much better understanding of oscilloscopes because of the knob-by-knob breakdown and explanation. Nothing was missed in this book. The author is quite an intersting person as well. I get a great vibe just off of the text and you know without question that not only does this guy know what he is talking about, he also thoroughly enjoys electronics more than anybody I have run across. If I were well-off, I would buy a copy of this book for my whole class and anyone I know who is interested in electronics. I showed it to one of my instructors and he felt that it should be included in our curriculum! BTW, my instructor is a former IBM engineer who was present when IBM built the first of the PCs we all use today. He also worked on a team that was building the first ICs which are in EVERYTHING we use now.