CCA Analog Electronics, Fall 2013

SCIMA-200-13 (772) Analog Electronics
Fall 2013
Monday 08:00AM – 11:00AM
Main SF Bldg, Room 107 (Hybrid Lab)

Instructor: Michael Shiloh
Office hours: Monday and Wednesdays 11-11:30 or by appointment

Course Description

Electronics is increasingly becoming an important skill for artists, designers, and architects. Artists are embedding circuits into their work to create interactive art or kinetic sculpture. Architects are designing smart buildings that can adapt and change to environmental conditions. Designers are embedding electronics into products, fashion, and interactive displays to enhance the daily quality of our lives. This course is an introduction to electronics for use in art and design. It will concentrate on applications of basic electronic fundamentals and techniques with the aim to design and build your own circuit device. Topics include power supplies, diodes, resistance and capacitance in different circuit composition, sensors, switches, simple circuits and transistor amplifiers. Lectures, demonstrations and critical discussion of work will be the mode for this course. Some models and theories will be presented as they relate to the subject of discussion.

Syllabus: The latest version is always here

Kit contents

  • 1 x 400 pt breadboard
  • 20 x Male-Male jumper wires
  • 2 x 9V Battery Holder
  • 2 x UA741 Operational Amplifier
  • 1 x LM339 Comparator
  • 1 x TL072 Low Noise JFET Input Operationl Amplifier
  • 1 x LM386N Audio Amplifier
  • 2 x NE555 Timer
  • 5 x 5mm RED, 5 x 5mm YELLOW, 5 x 5mm GREEN LEDs
  • 2 x RGB LED Common Anode
  • 1 x Piezo Element – Passive
  • 2 x Light Dependent Resistor (LDR)
  • 1 x Aurasound 3” Speaker
  • 1 x 120mm x 80mm Perfboard
  • 1 x ⅛” Stereo Plug
  • 2 x 2N7000 MOSFET
  • 1 x COTO 9007-12-00 12V Reed Relay
  • 4 x 1N4001 Rectifier Diode
  • 4 x 1N4148 Signal Diode
  • 1 x Honeywell V7-1S17D8-263 Limit Switch
  • 1 x MSGEQ7 Equalizer IC
  • 1 x 4N35 Opto-Isolator

Week 1 Monday, September 9


  • Review syllabus
  • Evaluation
    • Draw a picture of an atom and identify the electron and nucleus
    • Draw a picture of a battery, a light bulb, and wires so the light bulb is lit
    • X=39Y + 5. Solve for Y
    • X=5/(39+Y). Solve for Y
    • How many milliliters are in a 1.5 liter bottle of soda?
    • How man kilograms are there in a 750 milligram chocolate bar?
    • What is 7.5 x 10^3?
    • What is 9862 x 10^-3?
  • Basic circuit theory
    • Components
    • Connections
    • Circuits
    • Schematic Symbols
  • solderless breadboards


  • Solderless breadboard
  • Battery, resistor, LED
  • Multimeter
  • Measuring resistance
  • Measuring voltage

Homework 1 due week 2 Monday, September 16

  • Purchase the required textbook: There Are No Electrons: Electronics for Earthlings (Clearwater Publishing) by Kenn Amdahl
    ISBN-10: 0962781592
    ISBN-13: 978-0962781599
  • Read in the book from the very beginning (About This Book) up to “Circuits, Switches, Ants, Lizards, and Pigs” on page 39
  • Do either the even or odd exercises of these Basic Math Exercises.
  • A good discussion of scientific and engineering notation (and prefixes) is here. If you find better sources, please let me know.

Week 2 Monday, September 16

Homework 15 minutes

  • Math review
  • Hand in homework

Review Questions

  • Who has the book?
  • Who did the reading?
  • What is the connection between sheep and static electricity?
  • Why where early electrical demonstrations done in the living room?
  • What is pith? Why was pith used?
  • How many different types of static electricity are there? What are they called?
  • What did Ben Franklin get wrong?
  • Is the electron theory a fact?
  • Which part of an atom moves? Why?
  • What are Greenies? What do they like to do?
  • What motivates Greenies to drive? Would Greenies drive otherwise?
  • What are voltage and current?
  • Can there be a voltage without current?
  • Can there be a current without voltage?
  • What are the units of voltage and current?
  • How many rivers come out of Lake Dubious? What are their differences?
  • What part of the river represents voltage? Current?
  • If more rivers leave Lake Dubious and end up at the ocean, but they take different paths, are their voltages similar or different? What about current?
  • What is voltage?
  • What is current?
  • Is voltage related to work? If the lake is higher, does more work get done by the river?
  • Is current related to work? If the river is wider, does more work get done by the river?
  • How do we calculate work? What are the units?
  • What is voltage?
  • What is current?
  • What is resistance?
  • Does work depend on the volume of the music or the size of the footbridge?
  • Does work depend on voltage or current?
  • What happens to temperature when electricity passes through a resistance?
  • Why?
  • What happens to the heat if you increase the resistance? Current? Voltage?
  • Is this a good thing or a bad thing?


  • Two resistors
  • Write everything down: measurements, draw circuit, etc.
    • How many different ways can you connect two resistors and one LED?
    • Measure resistance without battery
    • Add battery, observe effect on LED brightness
    • Measure voltage
    • Try to come up with rules
  • Scan and send me a copy of your lab notes


  • Resistance
  • Ohm’s law
  • Look back at lab notes: What might account for different LED brightness?

Homework 2 due week 3 , Monday, September 23

  • Create your own reference pages, either in your notebook or as a separate notebook. In your reference pages, explain the resistor color code and the engineering prefixes (milli, micro, Mega, etc.). This is for your own reference; you will show it to me but not hand it in. If you prefer, this can be a document on your computer.
  • If you have not done it, do the reading from last week.
  • Read from page 34 through page 48 in There Are No Electronics
  • Read tutorials 1-4 of Electronic Tutorials about DC Theory
  • Read Chapters 1, 2, and 4 in Volume 1: DC of Basic Concepts of Electricity in All About Circuits, a free online text book
  • If you are still confused about the solderless breadboard, try these: here, here, and here. Let me know if you find these helpful or not helpful.

Week 3 , Monday, September 23


  • Review
  • Ohm’s law and power equation; names of dimensions vs. units (power/watts, length/inches)
  • 5/7 basic principles:
    1. What is voltage
    2. What is current
    3. Ohm’s law
    4. Conservation of energy (Kirchoff’s Voltage Law)
    5. Conservation of mass (Kirchoff’s Current Law)
    6. Components that have the same current
    7. secret topic


  • Atari Punk Console
  • Common errors
    • Miscounting pin numbers
    • What others do you recall?

Next time

  • Applying Ohm’s law, KCL, KVL, resistor values, capacitor values
  • Identifying same current and voltage (color nodes)

Homework 3 due week 4, Monday, September 30

Week 4, Monday, September 30

Homework 15 minutes

  • Hand in homework

Review Questions

  • What is voltage? Current?
  • Can there be a voltage without current?
  • Can there be a current without voltage?
  • What are the units of voltage and current?
  • What part of a river flowing from a lake to the ocean represents voltage? Current?
  • If more rivers leave Lake Dubious and end up at the ocean, but they take different paths, are their voltages similar or different? What about current?
  • What is Ohm’s law? What are the units?
  • What is the power equation? What are the units?
  • Basic principles:
    1. Voltage
    2. Current
    3. Ohm’s law
    4. Conservation of energy (Kirchoff’s Voltage Law)
    5. Conservation of mass (Kirchoff’s Current Law)
    6. Components that have the same current (series)
    7. Components that have the same voltage



  • Turn on LED when light exceeds some threshold

Homework 4 due week 5, Monday, October 7

  • Bring in a toy, device, appliance, gadget, Halloween prop, etc. that you don’t mind ruining. We will use this either as an input to or output from Arduino. You can purchase inexpensive electronic toys at thrift stores. It’s OK if the item doesn’t work – we will find something in it that does work and use that.
  • Read the Adafruit Guide to Excellent Soldering, including the troubleshooting section at the end
  • Browse these resources for a class on Mechanisms and Things that Move at NYU’s ITP
  • Browse these resources for a Sensor workshop at ITP, including a long list of different sensors
  • Read this pamphlet on how to hack toys and inexpensive devices to make your own Low tech Sensors and Actuators for Artists and Architects (16 page pdf)
  • Think about what you learned doing this project in preparation for a Halloween project due 10/28

Week 5, Monday, October 7


Lionel’s circuit

  1. P=V*I
  2. I=V/R
  3. Voltage does not go through!
  4. Voltage = potential difference between two nodes
  5. Voltage over = voltage drop = voltage of = voltage across
  6. Series: no other path for current = same current
  7. Parallel: some colors on both ends = same voltage
  8. 10V/5mA does not equal 2m ohm!!!!


  • Soldering
    • Wires
    • Printed Circuit Boards
    • Perforated breadboard
  • Sensors
    • Identifying ground
    • Checking sensor voltage
    • Checking comparator voltage
    • Voltage divider to reduce voltage
    • Risk of going over (depends on what it’s connected to e.g. LM339 data sheet)
    • Risk of shared wires (human risk, circuit risk)
    • Isolation: relays, optoisolators
  • Actuators
    • Identifying ground
    • Checking actuator voltage
    • Using transistor to control higher voltage
    • Risk of shared wires (human risk, circuit risk)
    • Isolation: relays, optoisolators
  • Building blocks
    • Sensors
    • Actuators
    • Comparator
    • 555 timer


  • Identify a sensor or actuator in your device, and interface to it

Homework 5 due week 6, Monday, October 14

Week 6, Monday, October 14

Midterm review

  • Exercise 86 schematic
  • Color the nodes
  • Identify components with the same voltage and the same current
  • Solve the exercise


  • Building blocks from last week

Homework 6 due week 7, Monday, October 28

Monday, October 28


  • Midterm

Homework 7 due week 8, Monday, November 4

  • Draw a schematic of your project. Include all components you added: relays, transistors, batteries, etc.
  • You do not need to include the details of your toy or other device, but you do need to show the wires which connect to the toy and identify what they do on the toy (e.g. batteries, switch, pushbutton, speaker, etc.)
  • Include all component values and indicate polarity where appropriate
  • Be neat and clear

Week 8, Monday, November 4


  • What we learned from projects
    • Avoiding bottlenecks
      • Time
      • Getting help. Since there is only one of me, use other resources
        • Online communities: Adafruit, Sparkfun, Instructables, All About Circuits,
        • Physical spaces: Hybrid lab, Noisebridge
    • Recognizing building blocks
    • Build in steps and test each piece
    • What went wrong
      • Damaged devices due to wrong polarity, wrong voltage, wires falling off and not knowing where they belonged
      • Too complex to reuse
    • Debugging
      • Confirming voltage and polarity with a multimeter
      • Isolating stages (e.g. checking voltage at output of LM339, turning on transistor manually)
      • Checking an amplifier with an oscilloscope


  • What is a color organ
  • Block diagram for color organ: microphone, amplifier, comparator, LED
  • Build the amplifier circuit. Test it with the oscilloscope.
  • Add the comparator circuit and the LED to complete your color organ
  • Other color organ circuits are in the first section of links here
  • Use multimeter to verify supply voltages
  • Why can’t multimeter be used to check audio levels?
  • Use oscilloscope to observe signal path

Homework 8 due week 9, Monday, November 11

  • Design your final project:
    • Write up what you would like to do for your final project
    • Be prepared to work on your project outside of class time. We will have limited project time in class, but this should be reserved for problem solving. Be realistic about your intentions.
    • Project must be more complex. This might involve more sensors and/or actuators, sensors or actuators of a more complex nature, and/or more complex behavior.
    • You will still be learning new concepts through the rest of the semester, so be flexible in your project so that you can add new capabilities
    • Sketch up a very rough idea of your final project, so I can confirm this is sufficiently complex, and reasonably achievable. We will discuss in class.
  • Start working on your project. Be prepared to show and discuss progress at our next meeting. At this early stage, this can include research and identifying and ordering components or other parts
  • Read how to use a multimeter (here, SparkFun, here, and Adafruit)
  • Find and read a tutorial on how to use an oscilloscope. Send me the link and tell me whether you liked it or not.

Week 9, Monday, November 11


  • Project progress
  • Links


  • Capacitors and inductors
  • Impedance
  • Audio filters
  • Filtering power supply ripple, spikes, and other noise
  • Input and output impedance
  • Power amplifier

Add this filter to the color organ to separate high and low frequencies:
forestMimms1458pg21Homework due Week 11, Monday, November 18

  • Read from page 49 through the middle of page 70 in There Are No Electronics

Week 11, Monday, November 18


  • Review of capacitance, inductance, AC, and DC
  • Project status
  • Policy on late assignments
  • Pathetic assignment timeliness, completeness, and  quality


  • Review capacitors and filters
  • LM386 power amp with tone control
  • Using the perforated breadboard
  • Other items in kit
  • Final projects must not use a solderless breadboard


  • Solder blinking LED circuit on a perforated breadboard

Week 12, Monday, November 25


  • Each of you must write an Instructable for your project. It must include a schematic, a parts list, and photographs showing details of construction.
  • Each of you must be working on this project on your own time

Week 13, Monday, December 2

Course evaluations

  • Online course evaluations 12/2/2013 – 12/16/2013


  • You must work on your projects on your own time. Use class lab time for solving problems you could not solve on your own.
  • Interface show Friday December 13 7-10PM in Oakland. Access to Oliver Hall to set up for the Interface Show: Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Friday all day. Thursday day is also an option but you have to let me know.
  • If you will not present your project at the Interface Show, your project is due at 8:30am on Monday, December 9
  • If you will present your project at the Interface Show, your project is due at 7pm on FRIDAY, December 13 installed and working
  • Your project must be documented properly. The format will be to create an Instructable. Your Instructable must include a schematic, parts list, software, and any additional information required to reproduce your project. You do not need to give detailed assembly instructions of common steps, but anything unusual or tricky should be explained.
  • Wonderful video explaining how transistors work. Funny, short, and understandable
  • Field trip to my workshop on Treasure Island Sunday December 8 11am-3pm. Visit my workshop, get a tour of other projects in our warehouse, work on your project. Directions


  • MOSFETs vs. BJTs
  • N-channel and P-channel
  • NPN vs. PNP
  • Transistors as amplifiers
  • Op amps as amplifiers using negative feedback
  • Optimization: comparators, pre-amps, power amps
  • LM386 power amp with tone control

Cumulative building blocks covered so far

  • LM741 pre-amplifier
  • LM386 power amplifier
  • LM339 comparator
  • 555 timer (blinking LEDs, brief trigger)
  • Sensors: Microphone, light, PIR (human moving), IR distance, ultrasonic distance, switch (momentary and toggle), potentiometer (rotation)
  • Relay
  • Output devices: Speaker, LED, motor
  • Capacitors as filters
  • Active filters for audio
  • Transistors as switches
  • Transistors as amplifiers

Last meeting

  • Evaluations
  • Project due at 9:30
  • Instructables are due on the Instructables website by Sunday 9AM, unless I have given you permission not to publish your documentation
  • Spread the word about the Interface show on Friday: Print and post the fliers below and promote the Facebook page

interfaceshowDD_L interfaceshowDD_M interfaceshowDD_S

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