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Circuits and Electronics 2: Amplification, Speed, and Delay

edX
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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MITx Circuits & Electronics [1][2][3] (it's in 3 parts) MOOC. They are just starting a new instance today, so your timing is perfect.This is a seriously good course. I've been interested in electronics on and off since I was a kid. I tried learning from various Radio Shack books, but never got very far. I tried some introductory classes at Caltech, and never got very far. Tried "The Art of Electronics" and it just didn't work.

That MITx course worked.

That said, it does get fairly mathematical...circuits involving inductance and capacitance are going to be analyzed using differential equations so if you have never had any exposure to such things it could be rough going.

If you've been through college calculus you should be fine, even if (like me) you've forgotten most of it. They have some refresher material that should bring enough back to get through it.

Here's what you learn in part 1:

• How to design and analyze circuits using the node method, superposition, and the Thevenin method

• How to employ lumped circuit models and abstraction to simplify circuit analysis

• How to use intuition to solve circuits

• Construction of simple digital gates using MOSFET transistors

• Measurement of circuit variables using tools such as virtual oscilloscopes, virtual multimeters, and virtual signal generators

Part 2 teaches:

• How to build amplifiers using MOSFETs

• How to use intuition to describe the approximate time and frequency behavior of first-order circuits containing energy storage elements like capacitors and inductors

• The relationship between the mathematical representation of first-order circuit behavior and corresponding real-life effects

• How to improve the speed of digital circuits

• Measurement of circuit variables using tools such as virtual oscilloscopes, virtual multimeters, and virtual signal generators

• How to compare the measurements with the behavior predicted by mathematical models and explain the discrepancies

Part 3:

• How to construct and analyze filters using capacitors and inductors

• How to use intuition to describe the approximate time and frequency behavior of second-order circuits containing energy storage elements (capacitors and inductors)

• The relationship between the mathematical representation of first-order circuit behavior and corresponding real-life effects

• Circuits applications using op-amps

• Measurement of circuit variables using tools such as virtual oscilloscopes, virtual multimeters, and virtual signal generators

• How to compare the measurements with the behavior predicted by mathematical models and explain the discrepancies

The first course is 4 weeks:

Week 1: From physics to electrical engineering; lumped abstraction, KVL, KCL, intuitive simplification techniques, nodal analysis

Week 2: Linearity, superposition, Thevenin & Norton methods, digital abstraction, digital logic, combinational gates

Week 3: MOSFET switch, MOSFET switch models, nonlinear resistors, nonlinear networks

Week 4: Small signal analysis, small signal circuit model, dependent sources

The second course is also 4 weeks:

Week 1: Amplifiers, MOSFET large signal analysis, MOSFET small signal analysis

Week 2: Capacitors, first-order RC circuits

Week 3: Inductors, first-order step response, first-order circuit analysis, impulses, digital circuit speed

Week 4: Impulse, step, ramp superposition, digital memory, state, ZIR, ZSR

The third is 6 weeks:

Week 1: Second-order circuits, damping in second-order systems

Week 2: Sinusoidal steady state analysis, frequency response, frequency response plots, impedance methods

Week 3: Filters, quality factor, time and frequency domain responses

Week 4: Op-amp abstraction, negative feedback, Op-amp amplifiers, Op-amp filters and other circuits

Week 5: Stability, positive feedback, oscillators, energy and power

Week 6: CMOS digital logic, breaking, the abstraction barrier

[1] https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-and-electronics-1-basic-...

[2] https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-and-electronics-2-amplif...

[3] https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-and-electronics-3-applic...

You can take the MIT sequence of courses on edX (taught by, I believe the CEO of edX, so, in a sense, this is the original flagship edX course) https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-1-basic-circ... https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-2-amplificat... https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-3-applicatio...

• MITx "Introduction to Solid State Chemistry" [1]. I've never been good at chemistry, but this course managed to make it clear to me.• MITx "Circuits and Electronics" [2][3][4] (three links because they have split it into three courses since I took it). Most electronics courses have not worked well for me. Some fail by using analogies that don't work for me. The analogies are either to things I don't understand, or to things I understand too well compared to the target audience for the course.

The latter might seem odd--how can understanding the analogous system too well cause a problem? It's because there usually isn't a perfect match between behavior of the analogous system and electronics. The more you know about the analogous system, the more likely you are to know about those places that don't match. If the author expects the students will not know about those parts, they won't mention the limitations from those parts. So you can end up expecting too much of the analogous system to apply.

Other courses have not worked for me by being too deep and detailed. For instance at one time I knew, from a solid state physics intro I took, how a semiconductor diode worked at a quantum mechanical level. I could do the math...but the course gave me no intuition for actually

usingthe diode in a useful circuit.The "Circuits and Electronics" course struck for me a perfect balance.

• MITx "Computation Structures" [5][6][7]. At the end of this three part course (of which I only took the first two parts), you will know how digital logic circuits work at the transistor level, and you will know how to design combinatorial and sequential logic systems at the gate level, and you will know how to design a 32-bit RISC processor...and you will have done all those designs, using transistor level and gate level simulators.

As I said, I only took the first two parts (didn't have time for the third). In the first two parts we did cover caching and pipelining, but we didn't use them in our processor. I believe that in the third part those and other optimization are added to the processor.

• Caltech "Learning From Data" [8]. The big selling point of this course is that it is almost the same as what Caltech students get when they take it on campus. The only watering down when I took it was the homework was multiple choice so it could be graded automatically.

The most outstanding thing about this course was Professor Abu-Mostafa's participation in the forums. He was very active answering questions. I don't know if he still does that now that the course is running in self-paced mode.

[1] https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-solid-state-chemistr...

[2] https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-1-basic-circ...

[3] https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-2-amplificat...

[4] https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-3-applicatio...

[5] https://www.edx.org/course/computation-structures-part-1-dig...

[6] https://www.edx.org/course/computation-structures-2-computer...

[7] https://www.edx.org/course/computation-structures-3-computer...

⬐ sizeofcharAlso did Computation Structures from MITx and I think it was the best of the roughly 20 MOOCs I took. Too bad few people seem to have done it as well.In the third part of the course, the content moved to the software connecting to the BETA, the processor we built in earlier parts. The last problem set was to build a very simple OS, in assembly, with interrupts, privileged mode, and running up to 3 concurring processes, all in less than 1000 instructions, macros included.

A very good start would be MIT's 6.002x via edX. It's currently offered in 3 parts, all self-paced:https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-1-basic-circ...

https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-2-amplificat...

https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-3-applicatio...