The goal of this book is to be an educational resource for students of electronics, whether self-taught online or in a formal university course. Designing and analyzing electronic systems combines concepts at three levels:

  1. How the physics becomes math.
  2. How to solve the math.
  3. How to apply these techniques to design and understand practical systems.

This book aims to address all three levels, but most importantly, to develop a coherent structure between them. We'll focus on teaching the counterintuitive part: how these layers overlap and interact to make electronics work.

About this Book

Ultimate Electronics: Practical Circuit Design and Analysis is a unique textbook in two ways:

  1. Distribution. It's free, it's online, and it's instantly accessible to anyone with a web browser.
  2. Interactivity. Where appropriate, it uses the CircuitLab electronics design software, providing an intuitive and powerful circuit simulation environment.

For example, click this schematic:

Interactive Exercise Click the circuit above.

When you click, the CircuitLab software opens in a new tab in your browser. You can run a simulation of the circuit pictured, and then you can modify the circuit and run it again.

While simulation can never completely replace hands-on electronics experimentation, it's a handy tool to make learning electronics faster and easier.


Studying electronics goes hand-in-hand with calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and classical physics (including thermodynamics, electricity, and magnetism). These are complementary. Studying electronics will enhance your understanding of calculus as much as studying calculus will enhance your understanding of electronics.

For online resources in these topics, we recommend these courses which provide excellent written lecture notes and/or video lectures:

About the Author

Michael F. Robbins holds the S.B. in Electrical Science and Engineering and the M.Eng. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degrees both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mike is the co-founder of CircuitLab, Inc. and developer of the CircuitLab circuit simulation software used by universities, hobbyists, and practicing engineers in 196 countries.

What's Next

In the next section, Schematics & Simulations Tutorial, we'll briefly introduce how to use the schematic capture and circuit simulation features built into this interactive book.

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Cite it:

  • Robbins, Michael F. Ultimate Electronics: Practical Circuit Design and Analysis. CircuitLab, Inc., 2017, Accessed 16 December 2018. (Copyright © 2017 CircuitLab, Inc.)