Robert Lacoste's The Darker Side - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781856177627, 9780080962054

Robert Lacoste's The Darker Side

1st Edition

Practical Applications for Electronic Design Concepts from Circuit Cellar

Authors: Robert Lacoste
eBook ISBN: 9780080962054
Paperback ISBN: 9781856177627
Imprint: Newnes
Published Date: 26th October 2009
Page Count: 368
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Robert Lacoste's The Darker Side column has quickly become a must read among Circuit Cellar devotees. His column provides readers with succinct theoretical concepts and practical applications on topics as far reaching as digital modulation to antenna basics. Difficult concepts are demystified as Robert shines a light on complex topics within electronic design.

This book collects sixteen Darker Side articles that have been enriched with new, exclusive content from the author. An intro into The Darker Side will give examples of material that can enhance and optimize the way you design. A Scilab tutorial along with Scilab software and all project material will be included with this package so that all projects can be tackled hands-on. It's time to stop being afraid of the dark, let this book easily guide you through the time-draining, problematic elements of your application design.

Key Features

  • Tips and tricks to enhance design performance
  • Practical advice on topics from digital signal design to electromagnetic interference


Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Electronics Designers; System Engineers; Hardware Engineers; High-level Hobbyists and Students

Table of Contents

Foreword - by Steve Ciarcia, Founder/Editorial Director, Circuit Cellar Magazine

Introduction : Don't be afraid by the Darker side - A short introduction on the usual difficulties that electronic engineers could have to fight against

Section 1 : Impedance concerns

Chapter 1.1 Impedance matching basics (From an optimization of a basic DC-powered heater to the design and simulation of tuned AC matching networks)

Chapter 1.2 : Microstrip techniques (Design and play with zero-cost components, just by drawing copper tracks on your PCB !)

Chapter 1.3 : Time Domain Reflectometry (Design your own sub-nanosecond pulse generator for 5$, and use it to measure and locate impedance mismatches.)

Section 2 : Electromagnetic compatibility

Chapter 2.1 : Let's play with EMI (See and understand how a good design can drastically reduce electromagnetic interferences)

Chapter 2.2 : Cable shielding experiments (An experimental comparison of different cable shielding strategies, and their impact against capacitive and inductive coupling.)

Section 3 : Signal processing

Chapter 3.1 : The Fast Fourier Transform from A to Z (Understand what is a FFT and how to use it.)

Chapter 3.2 : No fear with FIR : Put a Finite Impulse Response filter to work (From design to simulation and implementation of one of the most flexible digital filters, with extensive Scilab simulation examples.)

Chapter 3.3 : Multirate processing techniques and CIC filters (Or how to manage huge data throughput on reasonnable size microprocessors or DSPs.)

Section 4 : Oscillators

Chapter 4.1 : Let's be crystal clear (Crystal oscillators from A to Z, in order to understand their design and limitations)

Chapter 4.2 : Are you locked ? A PLL primer (From the internals of voltage controlled oscillator to the implementation of integer and fractional PLLs, one of the most useful building blocks for the engineer)

Chapter 4.3 : Direct digital synthesis 101 (Generate any frequency with fantastic resolution with a DDS, either hardware or firmware based. With actual implementation on a low cost microcontroller.)

Section 5 : Communications

Chapter 5.1 : Open your eyes ! A primer on high speed signal transmission techniques (Understand what are equalization and emphasis and how to use them, with plenty of simulations and experiments.)

Chapter 5.2 : Digital modulations demystified (From FSK to QAM and OFDM, learn their basics to know when to use them.)

Chapter 5.3 : Antenna basics (Antenna concepts and simulation tools for ISM band systems.)

Section 6 : Power

Chapter 6.1 : Low power techniques : Build better energy-saving systems (A step by step method to drastically reduce the power consumption of autonomous designs. )

Chapter 6.2 : From powerline measurements to PFC (Real or apparent power ? Theory and experiments on an actual AC/DC converter with a power factor corrector stage.)

Section 7 : System control

Chapter 7.1 : PID control without math (How to design and tune a proportional-integrate-derivate controller. with plenty of simulations to understand the effects of each parameter)

Chapter 7.2 : Linear control basics (A quite simple example of linear control with an inversed pendulum platform, or how to deal with problems with more than one input and output.)


Annex 1 : Scilab tutorial

Annex 2 : Complex numbers 101

Annex 3 : References and sources



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About the Author

Robert Lacoste


As reviewed in IEEE Electrical Insulation: "This is an awesome design book! It has a wealth of practical knowledge on many key topics in electrical engineering and is well worth reading from cover to cover."