Syllabus[1] for


Analog and Digital Electronics Laboratory (PHYSCS 331)

Spring 2009


Section One:  Thursday, 3:45 – 6:45 PM

Section Two:  Friday, 9:00 AM – 12 noon


Department of Physics

The University of WI-Whitewater



Instructor:  Paul M. Rybski, Ph.D.

Office:  Upham 163 (472-5766)     Laboratory:  Upham 163A (472-3372)



Office Hours – MTWR 9:00 – 11:00 AM

or by appointment


Course Co-requisites:  PHYSCS 330




                  None:  material to be supplied by instructor


Other Required Materials:


                  You will need  (1)  a bound, laboratory notebook (otherwise called a composition book), with or without graph rulings (your choice);  (2)  linear (5 div/inch), log/linear, log/log and polar coordinate graph paper (could be the same as you use in Physics 330);  (3)  a scientific calculator, the satisfactory operation of which is your responsibility (e.g., have the instruction book with you along with a spare set of batteries);  and  (4)  a set of drawing tools, including a ruler, a protractor, a compass and a set of colored pencils.


Course Objectives


                  When you leave this course, you should be able to analyze the function of (or design your own) and construct working versions of


  a.          complex circuits consisting of passive circuit elements (resistors, capacitors, inductors);


  b.          simple one- or multiple-transistor amplifiers using bipolar or field-effect transistors;


  c.          simple one- or multiple operational amplifier circuits for simple amplification or complex signal-processing purposes;


As you construct and debug these circuits, you will learn the function, correct use of and problems with industry-standard test equipment, such as a high-speed oscilloscope, digital volt meter and electrical waveform generator.  Using this test equipment, you will construct and debug conventional circuit modules designed from passive and active circuit elements introduced in A/D Lecture (Physics 330).


                  Please note that this course will not license you to become electronic technicians, capable of servicing modern consumer electronics.  However, should you so choose, after taking both this course and its lecture component, you could enter and easily pass any license-granting electronics technician course for analog electronics.


Course Design and Extra Credit


                  Learning to design with electronic components takes time and experimentation. Each of the required laboratory exercises you will complete as part of this course can be finished within three hours.  Some of you will require more than three hours to complete some labs, so I will open the lab on request for those who need more than three hours.  Please read through the assigned laboratory before you start it so that you can use your lab time efficiently.


                  The fifteen lab periods this semester are just enough to cover a minimum number of analog exercises for you to understand discrete components.  Unfortunately, we do not have enough regularly scheduled lab time to cover all of the analog labs you should have experienced in a course such as this.  Since I believe strongly that all physics students should have the broadest "in-lab" experience possible, you may choose to undertake a limited number of extra credit experiments -- of my choosing or your design -- that expand on concepts already covered in a laboratory experiment you have completed.  Any extra credit labs will have to be completed on your own time, and you will need to purchase your own components if you wish to take your completed project with you at the end of the course.


                  You may use the extra credit so gained in one or both of two ways.  First, you may use the grade received on the extra credit lab to replace a lower grade on a regular lab.  Or you may use the grades on the extra credit labs to improve your overall average:  each extra credit lab completed will count a maximum of 2.5 percentage points out of a maximum possible final average of 100%.


Course Philosophy


     I am a "mastery-oriented" instructor:  I want you to achieve the highest grade possible, and I will work with you -- both inside and out of class -- to make this possible.  Each of you bring to this class a unique set of skills and deficiencies.  If left uncorrected, your deficiencies might determine your grade in this class, a possibility both you and I must work to avoid.  As important to me as your mastery of the course material is your enjoyment of it; and you certainly will not enjoy the course if you are having trouble with it.  So don't hesitate to ask questions during or after class:  your problems are important to me!  There is no such thing as a stupid question;  irrelevant, off-topic questions, yes, but not stupid ones.


                  Those of you who might be uncomfortable with asking a question in class should visit me during my office hours or arrange for an appointment.  My office hours are listed above.  If you need to reach me by telephone, you may call my office number (472-5766) any time.  If I am not in, an answering machine will take your message along with a telephone number at which I can reach you.  Finally, you can send me a question via Email (




                  Attendance at all laboratories is expected, and attendance will be taken.  If you must miss a laboratory, please call me in advance and make arrangements for your lab partner to share his or her notes with you.  Work assigned in a given lab that you miss will still be due on the assigned due date, unless you have an excused absence.  An excused absence is one for which you have been excused in advance by the instructor and you provide him with written documentation on your return of the University activity that took you away from class or of the medical or family emergency it represented.  Any work assigned in lab  and not made up within a period of time negotiated with me in advance after your excused absence will not be accepted and will be recorded as a zero.


                  Attendance at announced examinations is mandatory.  Those with unexcused absences will be given a zero grade for this portion of the course.  Those with excused absences will be able to make up the missed test by appointment with the instructor.  Permission to miss an examination must be obtained from the instructor prior to examination. 


                  University policy adopted by Faculty Senate and the Whitewater Student Government states that students will not be academically penalized for missing class in order to participate in university-sanctioned events.  They will be provided an opportunity as outlined above to make up any work that is missed.  A university-sanctioned event is defined as any intercollegiate athletic contest or other such event as determined by the Provost.  Activity sponsors are responsible for obtaining the Provost's prior approval of an event as being university-sanctioned and for providing the Provost an official list of participants.  Students are responsible for notifying their instructors in advance of their participation in such events.


Progress Evaluations


                  Two implements will be used to evaluate your progress.  The first will your journal write-ups of the results of your experiments;  the second, a Mid-Term and a Final Examination.  Results of the Mid-Term (March 19th) and Final (3:15-5:15 PM Monday, May 18th) will each count toward 10% of your grade;  the experiments, 80%.  Both the Mid-Term and Final will be curved as required.  Only the average of all experiments will be curved.  The highest curve I will draw is as follows:  A = 90 - 100%;  B = 80 - 89.5%;  C = 70 - 79.5%; D = 60 - 69.5%;  F < 59.5%.  Any other curves will only improve your grade.  Only whole grades will be used in assessing your final grade for this course.  Plus and minus grades will not be used.


Experiment Journals


                  The University expects all students to gain substantial writing experience.  In this lab, you will practice writing about experiments:  this is preparation for writing scientific papers and technical reports in your later employment.  You will write your reports as if you were explaining your experiment to physics colleagues who, by following your descriptions, could do the experiment themselves and corroborate your results. Writing is often more difficult than students realize because explanations of your apparatus, procedure and results can easily be confusing to other readers.  A good reference to follow is Kate Turabian's Students' Guide for Writing College Papers  (University of Chicago Press).  You will also be preparing your reports as if they were legal documents that could be used in a patent application or in a court of law.  Special care must be used when preparing experiment write-ups that will be subjected to legal scrutiny, and those steps are outlined below.


                  The following format should be followed in writing your reports for each experiment you complete.  The report should be completed in careful hand-written form as you complete the experiment.  Retyped data tables and printed graphs may be appended to the final write-up.  Xerox copies of your write-ups, not the lab books themselves, for the regularly scheduled laboratory are due one week following the completion of the experiment. Xerox copies of your write-ups, not the lab books themselves, for the arranged lab time are due at the beginning of the next lab period following the completion of the experiment.  Note that you may submit improved word-processed versions of the material already written in your laboratory notebook.  If you choose to do this, you should arrange to secure the word-processed material immediately following your hand-written material.  Note that the notebook itself is a legal document:  write everything in non-eraseable pen and do not erase material written in the book:  cross it out and initial the cross-out marks.


     Title, Date, Your Name, the Name of your Partner


                  Your individual initiative and degree of cooperation with your partner will be considered.


       I.  Statement of Purpose


                  State in your own words the purpose of this experiment.  Be complete but concise.


   II.       Diagram and Description of Apparatus


                  This diagram should reflect the essence of the experiment:  how it works, not just how it looks.  All wires should be labeled as to their function (+ or -, signal or ground), all equipment boxes should be sketched as realistically as possible.  It should be a physicist's diagram, not an artist's.  When an electronic circuit must be drawn, use the conventional symbols for components that you have learned in lecture.  Provide a list of the equipment used, including equipment type, manufacturer, model and serial number (where available) to permit -- if desired -- a traceable calibration.


   III.    Procedure


                  Describe how you planned to use the apparatus to get your information.  A basic outline of the procedure will be provided at the beginning of the laboratory period.


   IV.     Tables of Data and Graphs


                  These must be clearly captioned, easy to read (with units indicated) and accompanied by explanatory comments where necessary.


   V.       Sample Calculation(s)


                  Display in detail at least one example of each type of calculation you performed.


   VI.     Analysis and Critique


                  Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental design and your technique.  Include a discussion of sources of uncertainty.  Explain how well your final result was determined, both in terms of precision and (where possible) accuracy.  If you identify an experimental problem, try to determine if your result is increased or decreased by the problem.  Explain how you could change the experiment design to get better results.  Explain how you might improve your measurement technique.


   VII.  Conclusion


                  Explain what you found out in this experiment.  This can usually be said in a few brief  sentences.  For example, "The time constant of the R-C network used in this experiment was 1.05 X 10-6  [seconds] 0.03 X 10-6 [seconds].


B.            Examinations


                                    Both examinations will have an in-class and out-of-class segment.  Completed on your own and on your honor, the out-of-class segment will be "open-book" and "open-note";  and it must be completed before the "in-class" segment is taken.  In addition to completing formal problems on the "in-class" segment, you will be asked  to construct and "debug" any circuits that you designed in the "take-home" segment.  Some portions of the "in-class" segment will be "open-book" and "open-note".  Further information about the examinations will be provided when they are given.



Tentative[2] Sequence of Laboratories (Monday = Section 1/Wednesday = Section 2)


1.             Jan. 29/31           Oscilloscope Principles

2.             Feb. 5/7                Electrical Measurements with a CRO and a DVM, Part I

3.             Feb. 12/14          Electrical Measurements with a CRO and a DVM, Part II

4.             Feb. 19/21          Steady-state AC Response of RC Networks

5.             Feb. 26/28          Behavior of Non-ohmic Devices

6.             Feb. 24                  Non-ohmic Devices in Power Supplies

7.             Mar. 5/7               Bipolar Transistors:  Common Emitter Amplifier, Part I

8.             Mar. 12/14         Bipolar Transistors:  Common Emitter Amplifier, Part II


                  Mar. ??                 Mid-Term Examination


9.             Mar. 19/21         Bipolar Transistors:  Common Collector and Common Base Amplifiers

10.          Mar. 26/28         Spring Break

11.          April 2/4              Field-effect Transistors:  Common Source Amplifier

12.          April 9/11           Inverting Operational Amplifier            

13.          April 16/18        Non-inverting Operational Amplifier

14.          April 23/25        Special Applications with Op Amps, Part I

15.          Ap. 20/May 1  Special Applications with Op Amps, Part II

16.          May 7/9                Special Applications with Op Amps, Part III

                  May 16                 Final Examination, 3:15 PM – 5:15 PM



University Policy Statements


                  The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is dedicated to a safe, supportive and non-discriminatory learning environment.  It is the responsibility of all undergraduate and graduate students to familiarize themselves with University policies regarding Special Accommodations, Misconduct, Religious Beliefs Accommodation, Discrimination and Absence due to University-sponsored Events.  (For details, please refer to the Undergraduate and Graduate Timetables;  the Rights and Responsibilities section of the Undergraduate Bulletin;  the Academic Requirements and Policies and the Facilities and Services sections of the Graduate Bulletin;  the Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures [UWS Chapter 14];  and the Student Nonacademic Disciplinary Procedures [UWS Chapter 17].)


[1] Revised January 19, 2009

[2] The titles and sequence of these laboratories will depend on progress in the Physics 330 class, and later laboratories may be changed depending on topical interest.