Physics 3061

Introductory Laboratory Electronics

Fall 2012

Tuesday-Thursday 13:00-13:50 MWAH 191

Lab Thursday 14:00-16:50 MWAH 379

Instructor: Alec Habig

Office: MWAH 374

Office Hours: 13:00-14:00M, 10:00-11:00T, 14:00-15:00W, 9:00-10:00Th (or by appointment)

Telephone: 726-7214


Texts:Kaplan & White, Hands-on Electronics.

Additional Lab information and assignments will be distributed by the instructor.

Course Objectives: This course is an introduction to electronics as used in experimental physics. After this course, the student will be familiar with the basic circuit elements and know how to use them to create useful components. A working knowledge of the tools used to test and debug these circuits will be gained.

The topics to be covered include the following:

Grading: Course grades will be determined based on the following four areas, with their respective weights:

Letter grades will be assigned based upon the weighted average on a non-competitive curve. In order to keep the students informed as to their progress, a letter grade will be assigned after the mid-term exam and upon request.

Homework: Homework assignments are important. Hearing or reading about something does not make it sink in. In order to really learn about a topic, you need to practice it. Homework is this practice as applied to the concepts and theory, thus the comparatively large weight in the grade. Labs (see below) apply these concepts to reality. In addition to really helping one learn things, the homework helps the instructor see what areas need more or different explanation.

When writing out your homework solutions, include not only the schematics and equations which lead to the answer, but elaborate on the reasoning that led you to the steps in your answer. Think of the good and bad examples your various physics texts have presented you with. Write your homework problems like the good ones, and remember how frustrating those "the remainder is an exercise left to the reader” passages have been.

Homework will be assigned in Thursday's class and will be due at the beginning of the following Tuesday's class. Late homework grades depreciate at a rate of 25% per 24 h.

Labs: The lab section will meet each week on Thursday for three hours, from 14:00 till 16:50. Please read over the lab in advance. Doing so allows you more time in the lab to practice getting things to actually work instead of floundering about aimlessly. And as mentioned above, it is the practice that lets you learn the material.

Lab notebooks are to be submitted at the beginning of Tuesday's class. Just as for the homework, a penalty of 25% will be deducted for each day the lab notebook is late. The final lab notebook will not be accepted late.

The lab notebook should be a bound notebook, and your life will be much easier if it is ruled like graph paper. While doing the lab, write down what you are doing and what happens on the right hand page. If you have a figure or graph, draw or paste it in on the left hand page. Number such figures so you can refer to them in your commentary. After the lab and before you hand it in, go back to the notebook, elaborate, and clarify.

The goal of the lab notebook is for someone who has not done the experiment before (or you, ten years later, when you're in a real research situation and want to re-remember how to build a notch filter) to be able to pick it up, walk into the lab, and duplicate your work.

Note on disabilities: Individuals who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect their ability to perform in this class are encouraged to inform the instructor at the start of the semester. Adaptation of methods, materials, or testing may be made as possible to provide for equitable participation.

Standard UMD academic policies: are in force and described online at Never read them? Do so. You're responsible for them whether you've read them or not, so do yourself a favor and check what the university is expecting of you.

Course Outline*



Week 1 (9/4, 9/6)

DC circuits

Week 2 (9/11, 9/13)

AC circuits

Week 3 (9/18, 9/20)


Week 4 (9/25, 9/27)


Week 5 (10/2, 10/4)

Transistors (ideal)

Week 6 (10/9, 10/11)

Transistors (real)

Week 7 (10/16, 10/18)

Transistors (applications)

Week 8 (10/23, 10/25)

Op-amps (ideal) Midterm (10/25)

Week 9 (10/30, 11/31)

Op-amps (real)

Week 10 (11/8, 11/10)

Op-amps (applications)

Week 11 (11/13, 11/15)

Digital basics, logic

Week 12 (11/20, 11/22)

Flip-flops, 11/22 Thanksgiving, no class

Week 13 (11/27, 11/29)


Week 14 (12/4, 12/6)

Digital to Analog Conversions

Week 15 (12/11, 12/13)

Analog to Digital Conversions

Week 16

Final: 12/17 14:00-15:55

*subject to change to meet the needs of the class