Can anybody suggest an intro text on electrical engineering/microprocessing?

This is not for me but for a friend whose son is a high school “science geek” who’s largely self-educated (has won a long series of science fairs and awards) and is trying to educate himself in the field. Like most autodidacts he knows some advanced parts of microprocessing and engineering fairly well and he knows some of the basics hardly at all (and being a teenager he doesn’t see the need to study anything that happened in the field before 2005 :dubious: ). Can anyone recommend a good collegiate level or so intro text (doesn’t have to be a textbook, but preferably something above the “For Dummies” series) to the fields of microprocessing and or electrical engineering).

The standard introductory text is “The Art of Electronics” by Horowitz & Hill. It’s pretty well self-contained, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt for him to know high school calculus pretty well.

I’ll second the recommendation for “The Art of Electronics” by Horowitz & Hill. It’s the best single book for understanding electronics that I’ve come across. It’s a little weak on microprocessors, though (IMHO). It is definitely a step above the “for dummies” type books and it isn’t something I’d recommend for absolute beginner electronics. If you are looking for low end collegiate level, this is it.

“Computer Organization and Design” by Patterson and Hennesey is my recommendation if you want something more geared to processors.

The way we learned this stuff in the old days was we designed and built a simple single board computer, typically based around something like a 6502 or a Z80. These days you can buy a single chip PIC which is a hundred times more complex than those board we used to build, and all you need to do is slap a crystal on it for it to work. It makes designing things a lot easier, but kids these days don’t learn the basics of microprocessor interfacing so easily. I would recommend doing it the old fashioned way just for the experience. You’ll end up with a slow, useless board that is 20 years out of date, but you’ll learn some very useful skills. You can still buy a Z80 from online places like Jameco. Get yourself a Z80, some static ram, and a parallel I/O interface chip and make it all work.

I design industrial computers and write firmware and embedded software for a living, so feel free to forward on my e-mail (add a to my doper name). I’d be happy to answer any questions he has.

For anyone who might be searching, the second author’s name is Hennessy, not Hennesey. All of the similar books I’ve seen (which, admittedly, is not many) assume that the reader has a background in digital circuits. I don’t know of a good reference for that.