Found in 5 comments on Hacker News
You should probably start by saying what you already know so we can tailor the responses. For example


Intermediate (with a heavy RF slant):


And then there are the various subcategories: low level precision analog, high power motors and switchgear, basic digital and microcontrollers, high speed processors, etc... you're asking a wide open question.

Even Manufacturing is not a simple question to answer unless given some direction. You want to make a first PC board in your bathroom, or build complex electromechanical assemblies?

mbell · 2014-12-23 · Original thread
I highly recommend that book as well, I learned more about signal integrity from reading it twice than I did during all of EE undergrad.


cottonseed · 2013-07-06 · Original thread
That book looks great, thanks! I've been reading:

High Speed Digital Design: A Handbook of Black Magic by Johnson and Graham:

and RTL Hardware Design using VHDL by Chu:

(the latter for designing for FPGAs)

akiselev · 2013-07-01 · Original thread
Unfortunately I learned EE as an apprentice with no books but I've heard High Speed Digital Design: A Handbook of Black Magic [1] is good.

Understanding why high speed is more like RF and analog electronics has a lot to do with impedance, which is the "resistance" of a material to a change in current at a specific frequency. Ohm's law is impedance at 0hz (DC current) but it gets a lot more complicated when you have a 133 Mhz bus because now the signal is changing fast enough that a lot of interesting effects start to pop up. For example, the capacitance of the PCB has a significant effect on rise times, your trace lengths have to be within 1/20th of the wavelength of the signal of each other or the bits might arrive at different times, you have to start worrying about other Mhz+ noise from the power supply based solely on the location of traces (hence you have to place filter/bypass caps more carefully), you have to worry about mismatched impedances (the "resistance" @ 133 mhz is different between the trace and a pin or something) or else you'll have a lot of energy "reflected" back at the signal source, adding interference patterns, etc. You never really see any of this in hobbyist electronics unless you have a really long cable for Khz signals or are trying to use something like SPI at 100Mhz. Once you start dealing with high end ARM chips, DSPs, DDR2-3, PCI[e], gigabit ethernet, HDMI, these traces become very prevalent.

However the beauty of digital is that you don't really have to understand all of the analog that goes behind it. There are a lot of simple engineering rules that make it very difficult to mess up a high speed digital design (at least in my experience). If you have a tool like Altium, managing all the impedances, trace widths and lengths, differential pairs becomes a cake walk. If you know what an error looks like in an oscilloscope (whether its a rise time problem, reflection problem, etc) then you'll find it easy to work in the field. Then there's actual RF engineering, which is a whole other story (digital signals are rarely more than the mW range, RF engineering also goes beyond that into W-KW-MW range).


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