Electronics & Circuits (E&C)

Electronics and Circuits

If you are looking for helpful learning resources, click here.

Often used mathematical techniques:

  • Linear systems of equations
  • Transfer functions
  • Sinusoids
  • Converting between frequency, angular frequency and period of a sinusoidal wave
  • Taking a differential equation, putting it into the s-domain and getting a solution by examining the coefficients to determine whether it’s under-damped, critically damped or over-damped.

Often used physics concepts:

  • Kirchoff’s voltage law (KVL)
  • Kirchoff’s current law (KCL)
  • Ohm’s law
  • Analysing ideal op-amps

Pro tips:

In the early weeks, you should become well practiced in:
Nodal analysis.
Mesh analysis.
Analysing ideal op-amps,  in particular making use of the virtual-short-circuit and infinite input impedance of an ideal op-amp.
Solving complex-looking circuits with dependent sources (bunch of simultaneous equations).

The second half of the course builds off this and having a strong foundation is important. You move into learning cool stuff about power, transfer functions, complex frequency, step responses and second order systems. Cool stuff to come, promise!

Knowing the early content well will help you do well in the mid-semester and you should take every mark you can get.

Get a calculator that can handle complex numbers. You can get calculators that do calculations that include complex numbers, they can also convert them between rectangular and polar form. This saves you a lot of time in exams and whilst studying, whilst reducing chance of error. A common model sold at the UTS Co-Op is the Casio fx-100 AU Plus (~$50).

Webtutor: Do the exercises early. The best advice is to attempt them only after you have read a bit about what the exercise is on, so you have some conceptual understanding of what you’re doing. Otherwise you’re destined for trial-and-error and frustration (note: trial-and-error may work, but you’ll end up not really understanding why it worked). You can have an unlimited amount of attempts at questions that are not assessed. Come to a Parallel Studying session if you have questions!

Circuit building: Build your circuits and test them (if possible) before the labs. For most lab activities, you will not have enough time to build them in the lab as well as  complete the tasks. In the lab session you have to get signed off for pre-lab, do the lab work and get signed off for completing it and answer the post-lab questions. Sometimes these post-lab questions involve a bit of questioning from a tutor, so try your best to understand what it is you’re doing.

Feel free to build your circuits in the FLP during Parallel Study sessions, we’re happy to check if they correspond to the circuit diagrams.

How to learn the theory: Use the lecture notes to learn. They’re made by the subject coordinator, Peter McLean and can be found here (some people didn’t know they existed until a few weeks into the course).

This subject is heavily self directed, but you should collect questions as you are reading/learning/solving problems and then ask your tutor these questions in the tutorial.

By also promoting discussion with others about these topics, you can really catalyse your learning (side note: in the process of writing out your questions,  try and deduce exactly what it is you don’t understand).