Physics 315

Electronic Circuits

PHY315 is a laboratory course in analog and digital electronics. Topics include: circuit analysis, operational amplifiers, filters, feedback circuits, diodes, transistors, and elementary digital electronics. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in PHY 202 is recommended. In this course you will learn how to design, build and test electronic circuitry. You will also learn how to theoretically analyze such circuits. 1 cr. lec. + 2 cr. lab.

The original course syllabus as a pdf file here. This contains a calendar explaining what topics and lab experiments we'll be doing each week.

The laboratory manual contains many of the lab experiments.
Online Zoom office hours will be held every thursday from 10 - 11. To join, you will need to download and install zoom. Here is a link: Meeting ID: 745 825 747. Password: 973963.

For the rest of the semester, we will not have face-to-face laboratory meetings. Please watch this short video. We can still do and learn a lot. My plan is for us to continue through the laboratory manual. But instead of building the circuits on proto boards, we will be building the circuits in a circuit simulator. Here is the plan.

Ngspice is a cross-platform (windows, linux, osx) circuit simulation package that is based on Spice (developed by folks at Berkeley, apparently). KiCad is a gui that runs the ngspice circuit simulator. You should download and install ngspice and KiCad on your personal computer; I did this on my mac. Here is how I did it (it may be slightly different for windows or linux machines, but instructions are available on the ngspice and KiCad websites.)
  1. I downloaded ngspice-31.pkg for my mac from the ngspice website and ran the mac osx package installer. Here is the link where you can get ngspice:
  2. I downloaded KiCad-unified for osx 10.14 from a mirror site at CERN-switzerland. This took about an hour.
  3. I ran the osx package installer, read the readme.txt file, and appropriately dragged the KiCad folders into my /Applications folder and /Library/Application Support folder. Here is the link where you can download kicad:
  4. I went through a brief tutorial on how to design and simulate the output voltage of a (relatively) simple filter circuit. KiCad uses a program called Eeschema to draw and connect circuit elements. Here is the tutorial I used.
  5. When designing circuits with certain components (e.g. some op amps and bit's), you will need to download spice model files to get your circuit working. Some of these are available from

Here are some ideas for final projects. Note: we will need to reconsider how to carry out our final projects in light of the recent shutdowns.