An Engineer in Wonderland – A blog In praise of Jim Williams

There are times when you read an article and realise the author has got right down to the bottom of the subject. One such encyclopaedic treatise I came across a few years ago was a Linear Technology application note: ‘Ultracompact LCD Backlight Inverters – A Svelte Beast Cuts High Voltage Down to Size‘ by Jim Williams. I had never even heard of piezoelectric transformers when I started reading it, but by the end I could see their potential and knew exactly how I would try driving one if I ever had to feed a compact fluorescent lamp. Jim Williams seems to have a knack of writing thorough applications notes – which I first came across in an old lab copy of a Linear Tech app note book.


Now available on the web, some of the ones that entertained me at the time include ‘Switching Regulators for Poets – A Gentle Guide for the Trepidatious‘, and ‘Some Thoughts on DC-DC Converters‘, written with Brian Huffman. This last one ends in a rather excellent how-to appendix on probing DC-DC converter designs which should be compulsory reading for anyone setting out to design a switching power supply for the first time. If it looks like there is a DC-DC converter bias here, it is only because that was what at I was interested at the time. For non PSU circuits (almost), take a look at ‘Circuitry for Single Cell Operation‘ which makes extensive use of Robert Widlar’s amazing LM10, or ‘Micropower Circuits for Signal Conditioning‘ which is truly inspiring, as it shows what can be achieved by simple circuits powered by lemons with nails in. And at least read the introduction of ‘Measurement and Control Circuit Collection – Diapers and Designs on the Night Shift’ ‘Alice’


One comment

  1. Just to add my praises to Jim Williams. Linear Tech have been the most innovative chip designers ever and I must have learned as much from Jims’, and his colleagues’, application notes as I learned from any amount of classroom study.

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