Summary and Info
As other reviewers have said, this is a great reference for EMC issues, and I wholeheartedly agree. As an analog
engineer, though, I find it extremely valuable for analog design, too. It's not surprising that so many respected
analog designers refer to Henry Ott's work.
Anyone involved in the design of mixed-signal (analog and digital) printed circuit boards will find a goldmine
of information in the chapter covering this topic (Chapter 17: Mixed-Signal PCB Layout). The rationale for using or not using split ground planes is clearly explained, and it is likely that many designers, including this reviewer, have been doing it improperly and creating noisier PCBs that result in noisier analog signals. More often than not, it is better not to split the ground plane, but parts placement is the key. This chapter alone is worth the price of the book.
Chapter 4: Balancing and Filtering thoroughly covers the topic of balanced circuits and includes the entire signal chain: the driver, the cable, and the receiver (both transformer-input and op-amp-input based). Anyone working with low-level analog signals (audio engineers, instrumentation engineers) will find this chapter very valuable. Also of great value is the chapter on cabling (Ch. 2). It clearly explains how and under what circumstances cable shielding works to guard against electric and magnetic interference, and the differences between coaxial cable and twisted pair connections. As an engineer working in the audio field, this is a definitive reference for analyzing the performance of single-ended (coax) and balanced ("XLR") audio connections,
including the topics of ground loops and how and where to ground the shield of a cable (as is specified in the Audio Engineering Society's standard addressing this, AES48, 2005).
Chapter 6: Shielding will provide the information needed to determine if it's even possible to effectively shield a circuit from interference and, if it is possible, what material(s) will do the job and how to design the shield. Many times shielding is added to a design and provides no benefit, but only increases cost; this chapter will help you avoid a bad decision like this.
Also, the book is a great reference for many analog engineering topics like calculating the noise in a resistor or op-amp circuit, the differences between ideal and real-world passive components, etc. The book has become a frequent reference for a variety of engineering issues, not just EMC.
Getting back to EMC, Chapter 18: Precompliance EMC Measurements -- another wonderful example of Henry Ott's ability to provide clear, concise, practical information to the working engineer -- has numerous examples of simple, straightforward EMC tests that can be performed in a development lab, with reasonably priced test equipment. Without a doubt, you'll save a trip or two (or more!) to an expensive EMC test facility if you use these methods to discover your product's problem areas and fix them before going to a certified EMC test site. Related to this chapter is Appendix B: The Ten Best Ways to MAXIMIZE the Emission from Your Product. It's a quick and entertaining read, but is packed with information for the designer to identify the areas and mistakes very likely to cause EMC problems with a design. These three appendix pages should be read by everyone involved with a project -- electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and project managers -- to make sure these errors don't make their way into the design.
A well-written and immensely useful book, it is very deserving of the 2009 Association of American Publishers award it received.
More About the Author
Henry Ott (March 6, 1865 – October 7, 1949) was an American farmer, businessman, and politician.
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