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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2010 - 2011

Module Title Introduction to Electronics
Module Code EM113
School School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorProf Noel O'ConnorOffice NumberL 2 40A
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The aim of this module is to help the student to develop knowledge and skills relating to electricity and electronics through a fun, hands-on, discovery-learning experience, supplemented by lecture-based inputs where appropriate. No prior knowledge of electricity or electronics is assumed. The module is based around the discovery-learning approach of the book “Make: Electronics” by Charles Platt. The learning on the module will be supported by lab-based activities, but it is an explicit aim of this module that with access to a selected set of suitable tools and components students would be able to undertake self-directed learning activities outside the lecture theatre and outside the lab. This module will prepare the students who are going on to take more advanced electronic engineering modules with the necessary fundamentals. It will also provide students with an introduction to some of the theory underpinning the practical aspect of the module via lectures and seminars. This will include (i) an introduction to electricity and electrical concepts; (ii) an introduction to the concept of resistance and to resistors in general; (iii) fundamentals of DC circuit analysis (e.g. Kirchoff’s laws); (iv) an introduction to diodes, transistors, capacitors and inductors. The module is intended also to be a useful introduction to students from other disciplines who wish to learn the fundamentals of electronics, but who do not intend to pursue it further after completion of this module.

Learning Outcomes

1. Measure current, voltage, resistance and power dissipated in a circuit
2. Wire up and debug circuits involving standard passive and active components on a breadboard according to a circuit diagram
3. Demonstrate a capacity to use electronic components, circuits and tools with due regard to the health and safety of themselves and others
4. Safely use a soldering iron to construct circuits on a perforated or printed circuit board
5. Apply Coulomb’s Law to small sets of point charges
6. Identify the main circuit elements and draw a circuit diagram corresponding to a physical combination of standard electronic components
7. Apply Kirchhoff’s Laws to calculate currents, voltages and powers in typical DC electric circuits using a variety of analytical methods
8. Describe the operation and i-v characteristics of a diode and a transistor

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Laboratory36No Description
Independent Study65No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Teaching & Learning Strategies/Assessment Methodology
The textbook for this module is intended to be a home-study, self-directed, discovery-learning guide to introducing anyone interested in a hands-on way to the practices and some of the fundamental knowledge of basic electronics. To provide support and pacing towards achieving the objectives and learning outcomes of this module, a set of weekly labs will be organised, drawing from the example exercises in the book and supplemented by other exercises as deemed appropriate by the module coordinator. These labs, and further work by students outside of the lab, will be the primary learning activities of the module. The assessment of the module will include an evaluation of the circuits actually constructed by students or groups of students on the module. To reinforce the concepts introduced in the lab activities and to provide an understanding of the underlying fundamental concepts of electricity and electronics there will be weekly lectures on the theory, background and standards involved. These sessions will also provide an opportunity to exercise the student in worked examples on the concepts and circuits being built and give them to tools to generalize from the specific circuits being met in the lab exercises. There will be an end-of-module written exam to evaluate the extent to which the understanding achieved by the students can be used to design and analyse simple electronic circuits.

Indicative Syllabus: Practical
Electricity – its sources, conductors and measuring devices; Basic electronic components: resistors, LEDs, potentiometers, transistors, switches, relays, breadboard; Standard electronics tools and their safe usage; Using the transistor as a switch; Reading and drawing circuit diagrams; The safe and correct use of the soldering iron; Building circuits on a perforated or printed circuit board; Measuring electrical signals with an oscilloscope;

Indicative Syllabus:Lecture/seminar
Fundamentals of electricity and electric circuits. Units, standards and notation for electrical quantities. Electric charge, static electricity, First law of electrostatics. Coulomb’s law and force between electric charges. Electric fields. Work and energy in an electric context. Resistance and resistors, Ohm’s Law, Non-Ohmic components, Resistivity and conductivity. Kirchoff’s Laws, current and potential divider circuits, resistors in series and parallel. Power consumption, dissipation and delivery / supply. Node voltage analysis, mesh analysis. Diodes: forward/reverse bias, I-V characteristic.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment50% Examination Weight50%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Platt, Charles: 2009, MAKE: Electronics: Learning Through Discovery, 1st, Make, ISBN-10: 0596153740
  • Hambley, Allan R: 0, Electrical Engineering: Principles and Applications, 5th, Prentice Hall,
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