Physics 242: Analog Electronics - Academics

Physics 242: Analog Electronics
Fall, 2 Credits (1 Lecture, 1 Lab)
W 2:00-5:00 PM — Room: Bullock 108W
Prof. Nicole Ackerman
[email protected]
Office: Bullock 106W — 404-471-5627
From Catalog: Lab-based overview of analog electronics, including DC and AC circuits, semiconductor devices, operational amplifiers and power supplies.
Note that this course is part of a 2-semester electronics sequence and should be followed by
Physics 243 in the Spring
This course will begin by reviewing electrical concepts and components that you have already
learned about, including Ohm’s law, resistors, and capacitors. We will practice using tools that you
may have seen before, including ammeters, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes. We will cover impedance,
time-dependent voltages, filtering, and diodes. The class then moves from the (more familiar) twoterminal devices into transistors and op-amps. We will study radios and methods of transmission
and reception.
Intended Audience
This course is primarily taken by physics and astrophysics majors. Students in other scientific fields
(such as chemistry) may find the course helpful, as experimentalists often need to build simple
pieces of equipment. Electronics is a very interesting topic, so potential hobbyists are welcome as
Pre-requisites Physics 111, specifically, a college-level understanding of charge, potential, electric fields, magnetism, and the basics of RC circuits. You will need to do a variety of calculations
in this course, using algebra, trigonometry, and basic calculus.
Course Goals
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. Read a circuit diagram, identify basic components, and find necessary specifications.
2. Explain circuit components in terms of “physics” concepts, such as charge and fields.
3. Build circuits using a prototyping breadboard and predict behaviors using simulations and
4. Interrogate and troubleshoot circuits using tools such as multimeters, function generators,
and oscilloscopes.
5. Communicate technical ideas using video.
Physics 242 Syllabus
Fall 2014
N. Ackerman
These goals will be focused on analog circuits for the fall semester and will be extended to digital
components in the spring. The spring semester class (Phys 243) will include an independently-chosen
project for each student.
Class Sessions:
Office Hours:
2 Credits
1 Lecture, 1 Lab
W 2:00-5:00 PM
Bullock 108W
Monday 1:00 - 2:00 PM
Bullock 106W
Wednesday 8:00 - 10:00 PM Bullock 106W
Thursday 1:00 - 2:00 PM
Bullock 106W
Required: Basic Electronics: An Introduction to Electronics for Science Students, Second Edition, by Curtis Meyer. Because the second edition is very new, there are not many used
copies available yet. But, buying new from the LuLu site is only about $50. Please note that there
is also a lab guide available, which we will not be using. While you wait for your copy of the book
to arrive, you can access the first chapter of the book online (see link on Moodle).
While the focus of our course is laboratory work, you will still need to do reading ahead of time
to understand the calculations, theory, and components. No single textbook combines all of the
theoretical and practical information you need, so you will often need to do some Internet searching
to find information to complete the pre-lab assignment. There are a number of electronics textbooks
in the electronics lab (Bullock 108W). Feel free to utilize them to find more examples and different
explanations for the topics we are covering. But, note that many are written for a different level
of student or are not recently written - in many cases, the books are older than you are! The
information is still useful, but terminology and symbols may vary.
Some lab assignments will be based off of the Student Manual for The Art of Electronics, by
Thomas Hayes and Paul Horowitz (2nd Edition). The Art of Electronics is a standard textbook, but
is extremely challenging and theoretical - the library has a copy you can use. The Student Manual
has summaries of the main topics covered, but is not comprehensive on its own. You may find it helpful, and used copies start at about $20. A more “practical” book is Pratical Electronics for Inventors,
(3rd Edition) by Paul Scherz and Simon Monk. If you enjoy this course and want to learn electronics
in more depth, I encourage you to get that book ($40 or cheaper)!
There are many resources available to help you learn in this course. Myself, the textbook, and
assignments may be the most obvious ones, but there are additional tools that can be used if you
want to improve your performance.
I will heavily use Moodle, including posting resources and assignments. There is a class forum which
I encourage you to use to ask questions! It is possible that another student has the same question,
so sharing the question and answer with everyone is beneficial. I will try to reply to questions on
Moodle as soon as I see them, but occasionally I am away from the computer for hours at a time.
Physics 242 Syllabus
Fall 2014
N. Ackerman
You should typically expect a response within 24 hours, but there may be greater delays during
weekends or when I am traveling.
I will post some optional resources to Moodle, such as videos and simulations, that you may
find helpful if you are struggling with a particular topic. I will indicate on Moodle whether these
are associated with a particular assignment or not. Please let me know if you find any of them
particularly useful (or terrible).
This class will have a Lab TA who can also serve as a tutor. Please utilize her during class time
and her scheduled tutoring hours, but be respectful that her other time is for her own coursework.
Office Hours
Questions are often addressed quickest in person, so I encourage you to come to office hours with
any and all questions. Office hours are for your benefit. Let me know if you are unable to attend
any of the times already set aside and I will try to add additional office hours. You are welcome to
e-mail me to set up an individual appointment. You may set up a re-occuring weekly appointment.
E-mailing and Calling Me
Typically, I will not see e-mail any quicker than Moodle posts. Of course, I’m happy to address
questions and concerns through e-mail that you don’t want to share publicly. Using e-mail is
preferrable to the phone; the phone sits on my desk, while I am usually near an e-mail (and
Moodle!) retrieving device.
Students with Documented Disabilities
Agnes Scott College seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people
with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in this class, please contact Kelly Deasy in the
Office of Academic Advising (x6150) to make complete the registration process. Once registered,
please contact me so we can discuss the specific accommodations needed for this course.
Grades will be determined by the following percentages. Individual assignments may be “curved”
up, especially in cases where questions were too long, challenging, or unclear. At no point will a
student’s grade by lowered due to a “curve”.
Type of Assignment
Class Participation
Video Projects
Total Percent of Grade
Physics 242 Syllabus
Fall 2014
N. Ackerman
Attendance and Participation
The structure and size of this class requires all students to arrive on time and ready to fully
participate in discussion. During class time we will have group discussions addressing challenges
from the previous week’s lab and new material. If you miss class, you will receive a 0 for the
participation grade for that day. An exception is if you contact me at least one week ahead of time
regarding a class session you will miss.
Late Assignments
Assignments have a specific date and time they are due. Tests have a specific class period they will
be given. This information is available far ahead of time so that you can arrange your schedule
accordingly. If you turn in an assignment late, you will lose 10% for every day it is late, including
days of the weekend. Assignments turned in after homework has been graded will not be accepted.
You should e-mail me to co-ordinate where you will turn homework in, if it is late.
The final grades will be determined according to the following percentages. Descriptions are provided only as a guideline: grades cannot be negotiated.
A: 93-100
The student participated in all class sessions and turned in all assignA-: 90-92
ments on time. Tests and homework demonstrated conceptual understanding and the ability to perform calculations. Labs were carefully
performed and clearly written up.
B+: 87-89
The student attended all class sessions and turned in assignments
B: 83-86
on time. Homework was mostly correct, but tests indicated a few
B-: 80-82
problems with calculations or conceptual understanding. Labs were
completed but write ups had room for improvement.
C+: 77-79
The student missed some classes. Some assignments were turned in
C: 73-76
late. Homework may have had many mistakes or been incomplete,
C-: 70-72
and the scores on tests indicate that the student has not mastered
the conceptual understanding and calculations. A few labs were not
completed and the write ups were unclear.
D+: 67-69
The student missed classes and minimally participated when present.
D: 63-66
Some minor assignments were not turned in, or many were turned
D-: 60-62
in late. Low test scores reflect poor preparation and problems with
calculations and conceptual understanding. Some labs were not completed and lab write ups were incomplete or incorrect.
F: <60
The student missed numerous classes. Assignments were turned in
late or not at all. The student’s performance on tests shows a lack of
preparation and misunderstanding of the core material of the course.
Labs were often not completed and many lab write ups were not submitted.
Course Feedback
You will be given the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback on the course at the end and
in the middle of the term. The mid-semester and end of semester evaluations are taken very
Physics 242 Syllabus
Fall 2014
N. Ackerman
seriously by myself and the department. Your mid-semester feedback will be used to try to make
immediate improvements to the course - you will be able to benefit from providing complete and
honest feedback.
Week 1
W 8/27
Class Content
Review, Ohm’s Law, DC voltage, Resistors, Circuit basics, Multimeters
Week 2 W 9/3
AC Voltage, Impedance, Capacitors, Oscilloscopes, Function Generators
Week 3 W 9/10
Inductors, Filters, SPICE
T 9/16
Last day to drop without a W
Week 4 W 9/17
Diodes, LEDs, Rectification
Week 5 W 9/24
Transistor Basics, npn Transistors, BJTs, Emitter-Follower
Week 6 W 10/1
pnp Transistors, Common Emitter Amplifier, Push-Pull
10/4-10/5 Fieldtrip: Maker Faire!
Week 7 W 10/8
JFETs, Differential Amplifier
Week 8 W 10/15 Power Supplies, Transformers, Voltage Regulators
Week 9 W 10/22 Exam (Covering to 10/8)
Week 10 W 10/29 Op-Amps, Op-Amp Follower, Non-inverting Amplifier
W 10/29 Last day to drop or change to pass/fail
Week 11 W 11/5
Op-Amps, part 2
Week 12 W 11/12 Schmitt-Trigger, Comparator
Week 13 W 11/19 Radio Basics, Transmission, Reception
Week 14 W 11/26 No Class (Thanksgiving)
Week 15 W 12/3
Exam (All Weeks)
Lab Write-Ups
As reflected in the grading breakdown, the labs are the most important component of this course.
There will be a ’planned’ lab every week, but you should also use lab time to test your ability to
calculate, predict, and understand circuits. What would happen if you increase or decrease a given
resistance? What if you drive something with a square wave, rather than a sine wave? Some of
your experimental choices may cause the death of a diode or other component. That is ok, but
please don’t repeat the experiment on additional components and please let me know so I can order
replacements. I encourage you to restrict your exploration to components we have covered - please
do not prioritize learning about op-amps in the first week.
The lab guide will lead you through building and testing a few circuits. You will be asked for
some concrete pieces of information, such as voltage measurements, calculations, or a drawn circuit
diagram. There will also be “why” and “explain” type questions. You will often find it helpful to
make many other notes along the way. It will be most helpful to you to have one notebook for this
class that you keep your lab “work” and “notes” in. Please make it obvious (with boxes and labels)
where you have answered my questions (opposed to your own questions).
Physics 242 Syllabus
Fall 2014
N. Ackerman
Homework will provide an opportunity to practice the theoretical and calculation side of electronics.
The majority of the homework assignments will be posted ahead of the relevant lecture - attempt
the homework based on the reading. Then, you will be in a better position to ask questions during
the mini-lecture that day. The homework will be due the following week and will be graded for
correctness. Some homework will be more like a “pre-lab”, it will be due in the lecture that it is
relevant to. All due dates will be clearly marked on Moodle.
Video Projects
You will work in partners or small groups to create short videos explaining a certain component,
circuit, calculation, or technique. The first video is due 10/8, the second video is due 11/19. A
detailed rubric will be posted separately on Moodle.
There will be two tests, each worth 10% of your final grade. They will both be adminstered during
class time, so please make sure that you do not have conflicts with attending class on 10/22 and
12/3. If a test conflicts with a holiday that you observe, please let me know and we will find another
day for you to take it.
The tests will have calculation, conceptual, and hardware components. You will be able to
use books and notes on these tests. While the test is designed to be completed in one lab period,
additional time can be used. The tests will be due on the following Monday. Additional information
on content will be available at least one week before the test.
Final Exam
There will not be a final exam.
Labs will usually be completed during class time, but may require additional time. The student
will be free to finish the lab immediately following classtime, or she may return later in the week
to complete the lab. Labs are due by midnight on the following Monday. I have little availability
on Monday, so students should send an e-mail during the weekend (or earlier) if they are stuck or
have questions.
When entering the lab, please bring common sense, responsibility, and maturity with you. Do
not bring food or drink (sealable water bottles are ok). Do not come to lab if you are under the
effect of any substances (including potent cold medication) or if you are particularly tired.
The typical voltages and currents we will work with will not be dangerous compared to the
electricity that comes out of wall sockets. Be extremely cognizant of when a wire or other connection
is to 120VAC. If you need to replace a fuse in the experimental board, make sure it is unplugged
first. While creativity is encouraged in the lab, you should not be working directly with 120VAC!
The other source of risk in lab is soldering. No matter how competent you are at soldering, do not
solder in the lab by yourself.
Physics 242 Syllabus
Fall 2014
N. Ackerman
Finally, much of the equipment is expensive. A few diodes and op amps will likely be destroyed this fall (smoke! fire! bad smells!), which is ok, but don’t do it on purpose. Oscilloscopes,
multimeters, function generators, and experimental boards should be treated carefully.
The Agnes Scott College honor code embodies an ideal of character, conduct, and citizenship,
and is an important part of the College’s mission and core identity. This applies especially to
academic honesty and integrity. Passing off someone else’s work as your own represents intellectual
fraud and theft, and violates the core values of our academic community. To be honorable, you
should understand not only what counts as academic dishonesty, but also how to avoid engaging in
these practices. You should:
• review each course syllabus for the professor’s expectations regarding course work and class
• attribute all ideas taken from other sources; this shows respect for other scholars. Plagiarism
can include portraying another’s work or ideas as your own, buying a paper online and turning
it in as if it were your own work, or not citing or improperly citing references on a reference
page or within the text of a paper.
• not falsify or create data and resources or alter a graded work without the prior consent of
your professor. This includes making up a reference for a works cited page or making up
statistics or facts for academic work.
• not allow another party to do your work/exam, or submit the same or similar work in more
than one course without permission from the course instructors. Cheating also includes taking
an exam for another person, looking on another person’s exam for answers, using exams from
previous classes without permission, or bringing and using unauthorized notes or resources
(i.e., electronic, written, or otherwise) during an exam.
• not facilitate cheating, which can happen when you help another student complete a take
home exam, give answers to an exam, talk about an exam with a student who has not taken
it, or collaborate with others on work that is supposed to be completed independently.
• be truthful about the submission of work, which includes the time of submission and the place
of submission (e.g., e-mail, online, in a mailbox, to an office, etc.).
You should understand that penalties result from dishonest conduct, ranging from failure of the
assignment to expulsion from the college. You should speak with your professors if you need
clarification about any of these policies.
Modified Pledge
Students pledge that they have completed assignments honestly by attaching the following statement
to each problem set, test, quiz, paper, lab, or other work:
I pledge that I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this assignment.
For moodle quizzes, we will use an electronic equivalent to this statement.