Asee peer logo

An Electronic Design And Laboratory Lesson Using A Switched Series Parallel Network

Download Paper |


1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.65.1 - 2.65.5

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

E. J. Mastascusa

author page

Maurice F. Aburdene

Download Paper |

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

Session 2659

An Electronic Design and Laboratory Lesson Using a Switched Series-Parallel Network

Maurice Aburdene, E. J. Mastascusa Electrical Engineering Department Bucknell University


This paper presents an electronic lesson for first year engineering students. The objective of the lesson is to introduce students to design using series-parallel circuits. The lesson focuses on the design of a switched series-parallel resistor combination to provide the “best” approximation to a desired current waveform by selecting resistor values and switch settings. Students are presented with a problem of choices-not a simple choice, but complex enough to make it challenging for them.

The lesson developed in ToolBook includes hyperlinks to lessons on series-parallel circuits, C programming, and computer programs in C/C++.


We describe a design problem to achieve several educational goals.

• The problem is to choose resistor values for a circuit. This concept is easily stated and comprehended by beginning students. The problem only requires fundamental concepts usually found at the beginning of a first course. These concepts include voltage, current, resistance and series and parallel resistor combinations. Thus, this problem gives the students an exercise in those fundamental concepts by taking them beyond the typical text book problem.

• The problem is complex enough that a purely mathematical/analytical solution is not possible for the students. Computer calculations and laboratory work are necessary adjuncts to any paper musings. • The problem may not have an exact solution, depending upon the instructor’s choice of current values, so the student has a problem of getting “as close as possible” to the current waveform. This means that the student has to consider what “close” means or can mean in this context. • The problem gets students to use instrumentation to make measurements. They must choose, design, implement and test their design. It’s not a rote measurement problem. Students may also use computer -controlled implementation to open and close switches to produce the specified waveform in the problem statement[1] .

Mastascusa, E. J., & Aburdene, M. F. (1997, June), An Electronic Design And Laboratory Lesson Using A Switched Series Parallel Network Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1997 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015