Physics 127a: Analog Electronics

Fall 2000

Professor Jeffrey D. Richman

Broida Hall 5112, 893-8408

http://charm.physics.ucsb.edu/people/richman/richman.html

richman@charm.physics.ucsb.edu

 

 

The Art of Electronics

Electronics is essential for experimental physics. Whatís more, itís a lot of fun, once you learn a little, and it can even lead to a very good career! Electrical devices are used in nearly all measurements, so if you want to build or understand an experiment, this is a course you need to take. Electrical devices, especially computers, are found far beyond

the laboratory, in just about every aspect of our lives, so when you learn this subject you will have acquired amazing powers. How many professors promise you that?

In Physics 127a, we will study analog electronics, where electrical voltages and currents take on a continuous range of values. The main topic is the amplifier, and the main tools are transistors and op-amps. Just learning what a transistor really does makes this class worthwhile! Analog electronics is in contrast to digital electronics, where voltages and currents take on an essentially discrete set of values, which are used to represent ones and zeros.

Ph127 is oriented strongly towards the laboratory. This is where the "rubber meets the road." The course is based on a famous textbook, The Art of Electronics, which was developed at Harvard by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill. There is an accompanying lab manual, which contains both examples and instructions for the lab exercises. It is the combination of lab work and traditional lectures and homework problems that make this course so effective. Often, students say that when they actually see something in the lab, they finally understand something from the lecture or homework.

Goals of this Class

This class has several goals:

How to Succeed in this Class

Will this class be hard or easy? Itís much easier in terms of concepts and mathematics than a class like quantum mechanics, but there are still some hard parts. The concepts that give students the most trouble are input impedance and output impedance. These are fundamental, and students who do not master them have problems throughout the course.

The mathematics we will need for electronics is not terribly difficult, although you may need to review complex numbers. These are really handy when the focus is on understanding the frequency dependence of a circuit.

In terms of your own experience of this class, two things will quickly become apparent: (1) there is a lot of lab work, but what you have to do in the lab is extremely well documented and usually not especially difficult and (2) there is a lot of reading, both in the textbook and in the lab manual. The challenge of Ph 127 is keeping up with all of this. To succeed you need to adopt a very disciplined approach. Itís much better to do a modest amount of reading every day, rather than to try to cram in many pages once or twice a week.

As for any lab class, it is essential to use your time in the lab efficiently. This means that you donít want to spend your time in the lab doing things that you could have done at home or in the library. Before coming to the lab, read through the appropriate section of the lab manual and the textbook. If you understand the theoretical aspects of the subject before coming to the lab, it will greatly reduce the time spent in the lab.

One of the goals of the course is to develop some of the skills that professional scientists have when working in the laboratory. Start each project by making a careful drawing in your bound logbook of the circuit you are about to build. Keep accurate notes describing the inputs, outputs, and any important behavior. For numerical data, tables are best. Do this even when the circuit doesn't function as expected! This will help you make progress towards fixing it. Document your work as you progress, rather than at the end.

Record what you are doing, what your measurements are, and what your conclusions

are. If your results don't come out ``right'' (the way you expect them to), say so in your logbook! Note that there is a difference between your measurements and your conclusions. Your conclusions should summarize the essential points in a couple of sentences. Try to state your conclusion in such a way that your will remember the main point!

Our textbook, The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill, is an enormous volume. This is partly because the authors decided to make it more than just a textbook. It is also a reference manual, with lots of information about actual components from specific companies. Because the pedagogical part can sometimes get lost in the technical

information, there is also a Student Manual. This book has not only the lab descriptions, but also pedagogical discussion and examples. The amount of reading in this course can seem overwhelming. I recommend that you start by reading the appropriate chapter in the Student Manual; then go to the textbook.

Grades, Homework, Test, and All That Stuff

  1. Lab books: 40%
  2. Homework and quizzes: 30%
  3. Final exam: (written and lab): 30%

 

 

Ph 127a: Preliminary Schedule for Fall 2000

Class

Date

Lab Topic/Number

Horowitz and Hill Chapter

1

Tues, Sept 26

Orientation, DC circuits (1)

1

2

Thurs, Sept 28

DC Circuits (1)

1

3

Tues, Oct 3

Capacitors (2)

1

4

Thurs, Oct 5

Capacitors, Diodes (2, 3)

1

5

Tues, Oct 10

Diodes (3)

1

6

Thurs, Oct 12

Transistors I (4)

2

7

Tues, Oct 17

Transistors I (4)

2

8

Thurs, Oct 19

Transistors II (5)

2

9

Tues, Oct 24

Transistors II (5)

2

10

Thurs, Oct 26

Transistors III (6)

2

11

Tues, Oct 31

Transistors III (6)

2

12

Thus, Nov 2

FETs I (7)

3

13

Tues, Nov 7

FETs I (7)

3

14

Thurs, Nov 9

Op Amps I (8)

4

15

Tues, Nov 14

Op Amps I, II (8, 9)

4

16

Thurs, Nov 16

Op Amps II (9)

4

17

Tues, Nov 21

Op Amps III (10)

4, 5

 

Thurs, Nov 23

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

 

18

Tues, Nov 28

FETs II (11)

3

19

Thurs, Nov 30

FETs II (11)

3

20

Tues, Dec 5

Voltage regulators (12)

6

21

Thurs, Dec 7

Voltage regulators (12)

6