Teaching basic Analog and Digital Electronics at undergraduate level consists of theory classes with hands-on-training conducted in an electronics laboratory equipped with Oscilloscopes, Function Generators and Regulated Power Supplies. Students are taught the characteristics of basic components like diodes, BJTs, FETs, OPAMPs and Digital devices.
Carrying out practical laboratory experiments by students reinforces classroom teaching of theory. Standard laboratory equipment is often beyond the reach of several educational institutions worldwide because of the large cost element involved. Practical laboratory experimentation is therefore curtailed.
To overcome this drawback I set about the task of building a low cost teaching aid for basic analog / digital electronics. This would enhance the availability of laboratory test equipment to educational establishments and the student community.
My primary goals were the following:
- Should be a stand-alone system
- Keep the hardware cost to less than $40.
- Use readily available components
- Keep the fabrication simple so that students could fabricate it themselves.
- Cover all experiments related to basic components like diodes, BJTs, FETs, OPAMPs and Digital devices.
- Hardware built around a dsPIC30f4011 micro-controller
- Serial interface to a host PC
- Six ±10V, 10Bit analog input channels with an input impedance of typically 1MΩ and a maximum sampling rate is 2 mega-samples/sec.
- Three ±10V, 10Bit, analog output channels with a throughput rate is 20 kHz, two with a drive capability of ±10mA and the third power amplified to provide a drive of ±200mA.
- Four buffered digital I/O channels
- For ease of availability and in order to provide power to the circuits under test, a standard PC SMPS used as the power supply.
- Micro-controller operations commanded by a Host PC using a GUI developed in Visual Basic. With the database manipulation and graphing properties of .Net 2 being fully exploited.
- The hardware cost was $35.
By providing technical data and executable software free for non-commercial use I wish to encourage the computer aided teaching of basic electronics.
View a demonstration of one of the electronic experiments:
I look forward to any questions or feedback, contact me at: