Cardwell Hall, Room 216

Class Times: Mon. 3:30-5:20,  Wed. 2:30-5:20,  Fri. 1:30-4:20



Brian R. Washburn,                             Rm. 36B Cardwell Hall

Phone: (785) 532 2263                    Email: 


M/W 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. or by appointment


Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

·         Analyze and design analog and digital circuits.

·         Simulate, build and test analog and digital circuits using industry-standard software and hardware.

·         Learn how electronic circuits and associated hardware and software can be used to complete a design task


This course will be based on the premise (supported by educational research) that we learn best when we are actively engaged in the learning process.  In this spirit, I will minimize formal lecturing.  Seldom will you be told how a device, circuit or instrument works.  Rather you will discover what you learn by yourself through performing hands on experiments, computer simulations, discussing with your classmates, and above all, thinking.  This process that you will engage in to actively construct your knowledge (rather than be handed down) is often called discovery-based learning.  We will provide you with handouts that will guide your discovery-based learning process.  The handouts will contain information that helps you perform the activities as well as questions that you should strive to answer.  Please respond to all of the questions in the lab notebook provided to you (see “Laboratory Procedures” below).  Often the questions may ask you to make predictions.  You will NOT be penalized for an incorrect prediction, as long as you have a logical (albeit incorrect) explanation to support it.  Following this task, you will often be asked to verify your prediction through an experimental observation or a computer simulation and explain your observations.  Finally, you may also be asked to apply what you have learned to the analysis or design of a different circuit.  This sequence of tasks: Predict, Explore, Explain, and Apply will form the pedagogical framework in this course.


Basic Electronics: An Introduction to Electronics for Science Students, by Curtis A. Meyer

(to be purchased online at )

The course handouts will be the primarily source of information for the class.  The role of the textbook in the class is to supplement the handouts by providing a physical understanding of the material covered in the handouts.  Listed below are supplemental textbooks along with comments about each.  Copies of all books will be available in the lab.  You can check out these textbooks from the lab for a day or so, and photocopy selected portions if you so wish.


Supplemental Books


Hands-On Electronics: A Practical Instroduction to Analog and Digital Circuits, by Kaplan and White, Cambridge Press

A good but terse book on analog and digital electronics, with a lot of good practical circuit.  This book covers all the important topics in the class, except for instrumentation.


Principles of Electronic Instrumentation, 3rd Edition, by Diefenderfer & Holton, Brooks & Cole Publishing.

Covers both analog and digital, but covers digital in not as much depth as we would in this course.  It has some chapters dedicated to instrumentation applications that are interesting, but we will not have time to cover.


Electronic Circuit Analysis and Design, 2nd Edition, by Neamen, McGraw Hill Publishing.

Covers analog almost exclusively.  The last couple of chapters do address digital circuits but from the perspective of the internal hardware of digital devices and not how to use the digital devices as building blocks in circuits.


Fundamentals of Digital Logic, by Brown & Vranesic, McGraw Hill Publishing.

Covers only digital electronics and NO analog.  The level of this book is beyond the scope of our class, but is a good reference. 


The Art of Electronics, 2nd Edition, by Horowitz & Hill, Cambridge University Press

A classic book, great if you already know electronics.  It covers both analog and digital, focusing mainly on analog.  Use this book as a reference.


Student Manual for The Art of Electronics, 2nd Edition, by Horowitz & Hill, Cambridge University Press

In some respects, the student manual is better and more practical than the original book.  Use this book for many good examples. 



I will provide you with detailed handouts that will combine material from various texts.  I will make every attempt to make these handouts as self-contained as possible, so that you do not need to refer to any of the textbooks.  However, the handouts will not merely contain information as in a text.  Rather there will be two kinds of handouts that you will use.

·  Lab Handouts:  These handouts will serve as will also serve as guides to the discovery-based learning process that you will engage in class.  They will contain information to guide your learning, and more importantly questions that you will have to answer in the lab notebook.

·  Summary Handouts: These will be provided at the end of the week, after you have learned the material in class.  These handouts will synthesize the information that you have discovered in class, and perhaps some additional relevant information.


All of the class handouts, homework, as well as homework and exam solutions will available via K-State Online  I would also encourage you to use K-State Online to post any queries you have regarding the course on the Message Board so that other students can benefit from it.  You may also use K-State Online to send me email or to check your grade.  If you were pre-enrolled in this class, and if you already have a K-State Online account (because you used it in another course previously) use your current username and password to logon, then should see PHYS636 listed as one of your options.  If you have never used K-State Online before, but were pre-enrolled for this class then you will need to create a K-State Online account by clicking the Create an Account button on the left side of the first login screen that you see.


The laboratory is the most important component of the course and is worth 45% of the course grade.  You are expected to do the following in connection with the laboratory:

·         You will need a hardbound lab notebook in which you will record all of your data, analysis etc.  It is important to realize that the lab notebook is a record of ALL of the events that occur in a lab, including circuit diagrams, predictions and conclusions reached with your partner.  It is particularly important to record your mistakes.  Please DO NOT erase or strike out these mistakes; just simply write a note in the margin later when you have figured out what you did wrong and why.  Mistakes or erroneous assumptions are an important part of the learning process.  A lab notebook that contains errors and mistakes can be a useful reference in the future that can alert you to what went wrong the first time.

·         Please be sure to record your lab activity for each date on a NEW page.  Please print the date for each lab activity at the top left of the page where you start.  Please indicate the activity e.g. Activity 01-2 that you are working on at the start of the new page, so that it is easy to locate it later.

·         You may be asked to simulate some of the circuits that you will build in the lab prior to doing the lab.  Please record your data from the simulations in the notebook.  Data printed out from the simulations must be attached to the notebook appropriately.  Unfortunately, we do not have access to a printer in the lab, so you would need to copy the data on a floppy and print it elsewhere.

·         Complete all of lab exercises indicated on the Worksheet.  If you are unable to complete all the tasks on the handout for that week you can use the lab after hours to complete the tasks.  If you need to access the lab outside of class hours.  To accomplish that you will need to gain access to the laboratory after hours.  If you need to do so, please contact me in advance and I can let you in.

·         Sometimes in class, in the interest of saving time, we may skip some of the lab exercises i.e. we may decide to discuss them or decide that we already know it from before and therefore do not need to do it.  Please note that these decisions will be made for the entire class by the instructor and not by individual students or groups of students.  If we decide to skip some portion of the lab activity, please write down the question numbers that are being skipped and indicate with a comment that they were skipped e.g. “Q2-Q4: Skipped in class”

·         Please hand in your lab notebook for grading to the instructor by 5:00PM on Friday of each week there is lab.  This will give you time to complete any experiments that you were not able to get done before end of lab on Thursday.

·         The lab notebook will NOT be graded on neatness of your work, so please do NOT spend time trying to be unduly neat (please be legible, however!).  Most of your graphs and circuits will be drawn freehand using the grid on the notebook.  The lab notebook WILL be graded based on completeness of the information you provide including explanations and diagrams.  The main question I will ask myself as I grade the lab notebook and which you should ask as you prepare it is:  To what extent can someone (other than the author) recreate the lab experience based on what is described in the lab notebook (as well as the handout)?


Unlike many other classes, attendance carries substantial points in this class (discussed below).  If you miss a class (or a substantial part of it), then you need to make it up at a different time.  Please contact me at the earliest so that we can schedule a mutually convenient time when you can have access to the lab.  If you fail to show up and make up your lab you will loose all 7.5 points for the class meeting (see table below).  Therefore, each class meeting corresponds to about 7.5 points (or close to 1%) off your course grade.  Remember, you can loose no more than 10% in homework, lab activities, exams etc. combined to get an ‘A’ in this class.  In addition to loosing points, there is another reason why you need to be present for every class meeting -- your lab partners.   Working in groups is not just important for your learning it is also necessary to divide task between various group members so that the group can progress through the material at the right pace.   The activities are designed to be worked in groups, and when you formed a group, you made an implicit deal to work with your group-mates.  When you do not show up, your group-mates have to work without you.  This places an undue burden on them and slows them down.  When one group lags behind the rest of the class, then the dynamics of the entire class is adversely affected.   Thus, your not showing up, does not affect just you, it affects everybody in class. Therefore, I hope that you will all be responsible citizens of this class and show up to each class meeting.


There will be a lab project that will integrate various aspects of what you have learned in this course.  In the lab project you will have to design, simulate, build and test a circuit that has both analog and digital components.  The project will also involve the use of LabVIEWÔ programming and data acquisition using LabVIEWÔ.  The project will be based on an experiment that you may have completed in the Advanced Lab course.  You will start to learn LabVIEWÔ early in the semester.  You will start working on the project in the week before Spring Break.  The last several weeks of the semester will be dedicated to completing the project.  During the last week of classes you will present your project to the entire class as well as complete a written report describing the project.  More details about the presentation and report will be provided later.


Homework will be given out on a regular basis, which will be used to help prepare you for doing the laboratory activities.


There will be one mid-term exam during the semester.  The mid-term is take-home.  Like the homework, questions on the exam can involve paper and pencil tasks, as well as simulations.  They may also require you to build and test circuits in the laboratory.  Unlike the homework, collaborative work on the exam and final is prohibited.  You are permitted to access resources such as texts, websites or any other non-human resources.


Your performance in this course will be assessed by weighing various components of evaluation as follows:




Points per Assignment

Total Points



Lab Participation

15 Weeks ´ 20 points per week





5 Homework ´ 20 points




Mid Term Exam

1 Mid Term ´ 150 points





1 Project ´ 400 points





1 Presentation ´ 50 points









Your course grade will be calculated based on the total points that you score in the course (out of a Maximum of 1000).  The point range for each grade is as follows:



Points Scored in Course

Course Grade



900 or Above




800 – 899




650 – 799




649 or Below




If you have any condition such as a physical or learning disability which will make it difficult for you to carry out the work outlined here, or which will require academic accommodations, please notify the lecturer and contact the Student Disability Services (Holton 202) during the first two weeks of the course.



Plagiarism and cheating are serious offences and may be punished by failure on the exam, paper or project; failure in the course; and/or expulsion from the University.  For more information refer to the “Academic Dishonesty” policy in the K-State Undergraduate Catalog and the Undergraduate Honor System Policy on the Provost’s web page at




Copyright: The syllabus and all lectures, problem solutions, and other original course materials are copyrighted by N. Sanjay Rebello and Brian R. Washburn.  Students are prohibited from selling or being paid for taking notes during this course by any person or commercial firm without express written permission from the lecturer.