Subject Spotlight: Electronic Circuit Design

Welcome to a series covering the variety of electrical engineering subjects available at Melbourne Uni. This series hopes to give those who have not done the subjects a more overall outlook of what the subject entails, tips and more interesting information that is only known by those who have done the subject.

 

Disclaimer: These articles are written from past experiences and may not reflect what the subject is currently like or will be like in the future. The opinions expressed are purely the authors’ and not representative of the Melbourne Uni Electrical Engineers Club or the University of Melbourne. In no way is anything here presented as fact. Do not come complaining to us if after reading something you think the subject is easy and then you fail or if something crucial has changed in the subject.

 

Year this subject was taken: 2016

Electronic Circuit Design focuses on designing analogue circuits. It is quite a heavy laboratory subject and students get to use on loan a USB oscilloscope so they can work on their circuits at home. There is also a parts kit on loan with all manner of different components.

Topics:

  • BJT Transistors and BJT circuits.
  • MOSFET Transistors and MOSFET circuits.
  • Current Mirrors, Differential Amplifiers.
  • Frequency responses and feedback.

While there are not many topics they are explored very in-depth in things like: Different topologies, operating regions, output impedance, cascode stages, gain.

Lectures:

The lecturer is Dr Ranjith Rajasekharan Unnithan, his first year taking the subject. The lectures are mostly going through lecture slides with occasional writing on the lecture projector.

Prior Knowledge:

If you didn't like Electrical Device Modelling, do not worry, though it is a prerequisite very little of the physics or mathematics in that subject is required to understand this one, it is more the practical understanding of how transistors work that is required. The first lecture of Electronic Circuit Design goes through Electrical Device Modelling but it is not accessed.

This subject follows on from Electrical Network Analysis and Design as it is centred around analysing circuits' voltage, current, gain and resistance/impedance. Many skills in circuit analysis from Electrical Network Analysis and Design, and by extension Foundation of Electrical Networks will be required.

Workload:

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An example circuit from the workshops.

There is a 3 hour workshop every week. Quite a lot of preparation is required before the workshop. These workshops are practical and involve building circuits and showing them to the demonstrator to get checked off. After the workshop a report is due. Students do not work in groups but individually.

Midway through the workshop there will be a short 1-2 question test usually an analysis of a circuit.

The mid-semester test is a few questions that would be of lesser difficulty in the exam.

Tips:

This subject is one of the few that gives you everything you need to build your entire lab circuit at home, so make good use of it.

Like any practical workshop many things can go wrong in the building of the circuit, know when to cut your losses and start again. It is a good idea to break up the circuits into smaller parts and check if they work before continuing.

There are usually only 2 demonstrators in a workshop of 20-30 people and everyone needs to checked off, or some will need help, plan around the fact there might be a long wait before you can start the next part of the workshop. Spend this time writing the report for the workshop.

Not 100% confirmed but the Analog Discovery USB Oscilloscopes can be really inaccurate or just not working sometimes, try using a computer USB output instead of a laptop and see if it works better.

Buy some headers and or jumper wires for the connection to the USB Oscilloscope.

 


BY Dennis Nguyen

Melbourne University Electrical Engineering Club

2017

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