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A New Pedagogy for the Electronics Laboratory

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Teaching Circuit Theory and Electronics

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.79.1 - 22.79.10



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Paper Authors

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Daren Reed Wilcox Southern Polytechnic State University

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Gerd Walter Wöstenkühler University of Applied Sciences, Hochschule Harz

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A New Pedagogy for the Electronics LaboratoryAbstractFor decades, laboratory instruction of electronic circuits and devices has been centered onstandard dual-in-line (PDIP) components and integrated circuits such as the uA741 operationalamplifier inserted in a breadboard for testing. Prior to this method many engineering programsused circuit board trainers for instruction. A current trend is to uses trainers such as NationalInstruments ELVIS platform. Dedicated training systems are relatively expensive. The longevityof the dual-in-line IC and breadboard is due in part to it being relatively inexpensive. Thecombination teaches the student the invaluable skills of circuit layout and trouble-shooting.Proposed in this paper is a new concept in the art of laboratory instruction which combines thecircuit trainer concept with the tried and true breadboard method. The laboratory instruction cannow be focused on modern surface mount components and ICs such as the uA741 SO-8 package.The development of this concept is the direct result of collaboration between engineering facultyat _____________. The discussion that follows includes an overview of past and current methodsin electronic circuit and device laboratory instruction, an overview of surface mount electroniccomponents and devices used in current industry printed circuit board design, a design review ofthe new proposed system, and a discussion of how the system has been used in the laboratory toteach electronic design along with associated outcomes.Design ReviewThe uA741 SO-8 operational amplifier is a surface mount version of the standard dual-in-lineuA741. Industry has increasingly adopted the surface mount technology for printed circuitboards. Unfortunately, the surface mount package in not student friendly and has not made it intoeducational laboratories. Consequently, the dual-in-line version of the uA741 inserted into acommon bread-board is the de facto standard found in electronics educational laboratories. Thedesign shown in Figure 1 is a new concept in electronic laboratory instruction. The uA741 SO-8is mounted on a small dual-in-line width printed circuit board. The board is designed so thattypical supporting circuit devices like resistors, capacitors, and diodes are mounted in such a wayto allow the student to configure common electronic circuits discussed in many electronictextbooks. Not only is the uA741 a surface mount device, but the supporting devices are also.The Mini OpAmp Trainer shown in Figure 1 is inserted into an inexpensive bread-board in a waysimilar to standard dual-in-line ICs. The student then interconnects the pins using 22 AWG wiresinto the desired opamp circuit configuration. Figure 1: Mini OpAmp Trainer

Wilcox, D. R., & Wöstenkühler, G. W. (2011, June), A New Pedagogy for the Electronics Laboratory Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17361

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