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myDAQ-Compatible Curve Tracer Module for Introductory Electronics Laboratories

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Instrumentation Division Technical Session 2

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David M. Beams P.E. University of Texas, Tyler

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Dr. David Beams came into the profession of electrical engineering through a passion for amateur radio during his days in high school. He earned the BSEE and MS degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1974 and 1977, respectively) and the PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997. He became a founding member of the faculty of the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler in 1997 and retired with the rank of Associate Professor from that same institution in 2018. He has a number of publications on topics related to engineering education and is particularly interested in the intersection of engineering and the creative arts. His 16 years in industry prior to joining academia underlie his interest in the transition from academic theory to industrial practice. He was formerly a licensed professional engineer in Wisconsin and Texas.

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The principal component of the introductory electronics course at (institution name) introduces students to the electrical characteristics of basic electronic devices (diodes, Zener diodes, MOSFETs, and BJTs). The accompanying laboratory includes experiments on measurement of the IV characteristics of these devices and derivation of small-signal models from those characteristics. Experimental procedures for measurement of IV characteristics have been in place at (institution name) for a number of years, but the development of “lab-in-a-box” solutions (such as the National Instruments myDAQ) has provided impetus to redesign these experiments to be compatible with that paradigm. To that end, (institution name) has designed a curve-tracer module that is compatible with the myDAQ and which allows students to make direct measurements of IV characteristics of diodes, Zener diodes, MOSFETs, and BJTs using no ancillary equipment apart from the myDAQ (and host computer) and the device(s) under test. It is constructed with an inexpensive single-sided printed-circuit board and uses readily-available components. LabVIEW programs that automate the display of families of IV curves for MOSFETs and BJTs are under development. Complete schematic diagrams and PCB artwork are available for easy replication. This paper will describe the curve tracer, supporting programs, and examples of its application in the laboratory environment.

Beams, D. M. (2019, June), myDAQ-Compatible Curve Tracer Module for Introductory Electronics Laboratories Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33131

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