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April 15th, 2015, 09:38 PM   #1
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How do I apply math to electronics?

Is electronics just Ohm's Law: V = I * R.
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April 15th, 2015, 09:42 PM   #2
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Is electronics just Ohm's Law: V = I * R.
What electronics "is" will depend on your level. There is a whole boatload of Physics in electronics. Ohm's Law, of course, but there are the "laws" for inductors, capacitors, transistors, diodes, etc.

Perhaps we ought to start with this: What do you want to be able to do with electronics?

-Dan
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April 15th, 2015, 10:10 PM   #3
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I want to be able to understand and analyze electronics and computers.
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April 15th, 2015, 10:51 PM   #4
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Okay. What level are you at? High School? College?

If you are up to it I'd start looking into simple DC circuits. That'll get you up to circuits with resistance elements (ie resistors and Ohm's Law) in series and parallel configurations. Then start working with capacitors and inductors...RLC circuits that use AC current. That will get you into phasor diagrams for simple RLC circuits as well. (Along the line you are going to have to get into derivatives and integrals in Calculus.)

That would be a start for a study program. You will likely be able to find all the needed information in a standard Physics text such as Serway (yes, I'm old!) and the slightly more modern Tipler.

-Dan
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April 16th, 2015, 12:27 AM   #5
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I have some college.

How are phasor diagrams useful?

How are derivatives and integrals useful?

Is digital better than analog?
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April 16th, 2015, 01:15 AM   #6
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How are phasor diagrams useful?
They are useful because the impedence (i.e. resistance) of some electrical components or their circuit combinations can be complex.

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How are derivatives and integrals useful?
Well, current is rate of change of charge in a given component or point in a circuit over time

$\displaystyle I = \frac{dq}{dt}$

So integral calculus can definitely be applied to principles of electric circuits. See LC circuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for a really interesting example of a circuit with more difficult mathematics than is typically found in most simple circuitry.

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Is digital better than analog?
They are different. Digital circuits are generally preferred over analog circuits simply as a matter of control (using logic gates and so forth), but this doesn't make analogue electronics obsolete. In fact, almost all electrical devices in use today still use some form of analogue circuitry.
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April 16th, 2015, 01:20 AM   #7
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I have some college.

How are phasor diagrams useful?

How are derivatives and integrals useful?

Is digital better than analog?
Capacitors and inductors tend to "push" and "pull" on the AC current. The phasor diagram tells you if the phase of the circuit lags or precedes the current without these components in the circuit.

When you start using some of the more advanced Mathematical "tools" in analyzing circuits you are going to run into the "Kirchhoff loop rules." (Basically charge and energy conservation.) These rules set up a differential equation that determines what the current is in the various pieces of the circuit.

Digital is what you are going to eventually use but to learn the material analog is probably what you will start with.

My final suggestion (because I don't do electronics) is to start off with the DC stuff and look for a college program and talk to an adviser. I'm giving you suggestions as to where to start, but only your adviser can help you map out a full program of study.

Good luck with it and, of course, feel free to ask any more questions that you might have.

-Dan
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April 16th, 2015, 01:34 AM   #8
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Can matrices and linear algebra be applied to electronics?

Are proofs and derivations worth learning, or should I just focus on how to use the formulas?
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Last edited by skipjack; April 16th, 2015 at 06:54 PM.
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April 16th, 2015, 02:02 AM   #9
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"I want to be able to understand and analyze electronics and computers."

First, spend a few years improving your knowledge of mathematics and physics.

"Is electronics just Ohm's Law: V = I * R?"

No, and electronics is not a branch of mathematics anyway. Think of it as a specialized branch of physics.

"How do I apply math to electronics?"

You use equations, such as Ohm's Law. You don't need to be a mathematical genius, but it's desirable to be competent at elementary algebra and able to cope with some simple trigonometry, use of complex numbers and calculus.
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April 16th, 2015, 03:06 AM   #10
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Can matrices and linear algebra be applied to electronics?
Sure.

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Are proofs and derivations worth learning, or should I just focus on how to use the formulas?
Yes, they are worth learning. There aren't a huge number of derivations in electronics though, compared to some other subjects (e.g. electromagnetism)
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