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A Comprehensive Laboratory Design Project For Teaching Advanced Circuit Analysis

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.21.1 - 9.21.6



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Paper Authors

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John Ciezki

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Brian Jenkins

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Samara Firebaugh

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1532

A Comprehensive Laboratory Design Project for Teaching Advanced Circuit Analysis Samara Firebaugh, Brian Jenkins, and John Ciezki United States Naval Academy


This paper describes a design project for sophomores learning advanced circuit concepts related to frequency response. The objective of the design project is to design a row or column detector for a touch-tone keypad. The project is conducted in small groups of two to three students. Each group designs and builds a detector for a single row that will produce a logical “high” when a button from that row or column is pressed and a logical “low” otherwise. The project is focused on the design of the filter stages, using both Laplace analysis and convolution to demonstrate an understanding of the frequency response of circuits. The students must not only design, build and test their filters, but also model and analyze the circuit using MATLAB. Elements of the project, such as the design of an individual filter stage or the use of MATLAB to perform convolution, are integrated into laboratory exercises during the semester. The digital portion of the design connects this course with the introductory digital logic course that the students take concurrently. This project also introduces students to peak detectors and comparators, which relates the course to the electronics course the students will take in the following semester.


Surveys of undergraduate perceptions about electrical engineering have indicated a conflict between student expectations for the subject and their undergraduate experience. While they anticipated studying a practical subject with some necessary background theory, they perceive their undergraduate experience as being highly abstract with little emphasis on application, particularly before the senior year. This problem is cited as one of the possible causes for high attrition rates from the engineering fields.1 It is essential, therefore, to emphasize practical applications at every level. A large portion of the second semester of the Naval Academy’s introductory electrical engineering course for sophomores focuses on frequency response concepts such as resonance, filters, transfer functions and the application of Laplace analysis and convolution. These concepts are abstract and mathematically intensive, so illustration of their practical application is particularly important.

One practical application of these concepts with which the students can readily identify is the touch-tone telephone. A telephone keypad consists of 12 buttons arranged in 4 rows and 3 columns (Figure 1). Pressing a button generates two sinusoids that correspond to the row and column of the button. A touchtone telephone decoder separates and identifies the two frequencies through a combination of filters.2 We have developed a multi-part design laboratory exercise based on this system that involves design, analysis, implementation and testing. The end

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society of Engineering Education

Ciezki, J., & Jenkins, B., & Firebaugh, S. (2004, June), A Comprehensive Laboratory Design Project For Teaching Advanced Circuit Analysis Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13960

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