Electronics and Computers Spring 2017


This course provides in introduction to electronics and to microcomputer programming using the Texas Instruments TM4C123 microcontroller. It provides the background in basic electrical theory, in analog and digital electronics, and in the connections between electronics and computers to understand modern electronic instrumentation of all kinds. The microcomputing platform is largely software compatible with the popular Arduino standard but uses hardware that is better suited to a class environment. The course is numbered 245, about half way between 200 and 300, to give you an idea of the of coverage and student commitment required.

Like most physics courses, this course contributes towards the following college goals:


The course text is a working draft of a book written specially for this course. The text is distributed in loose-leaf format should have come with a pair of 1.5" ring-binders to hold the two volumes of the text. You should plan to keep the lab. worksheets in your binders and to bring the relevant binder to every class.

Course Schedule

A complete schedule for the course can be found here. It is subject to change as the course proceeds and I will try to keep it up-to-date if changes occur. Note, in particular, that the computer labs are subject to upgrade as I work to better incorporate the latest computer board.

General Instructions

The course is taught in three 2-hour lab sessions per week. There will be a minimum of lecturing in those periods and so the course relies heavily on the textbook. Students are expected to come to class having done the day's reading in a very thorough manner and to be ready to work on the day's assignment. Normally, students work in pairs with each pair having an electronics station and a desktop computer. You will be swapping lab partners pretty much every day. This means that all students are responsible for clearing up after yourselves so that their work is out of the way before the next class. Some labs will run a little short and when you are done you are free. Contrariwise, very occasionally labs will run a little long for some people. In such situations, leave when you need to but come back in and finish up the remaining work before the next lab of that kind.

Work Load


The grade will be made up of four components



(10% for completing assignment, 30% for quality)





Final Project


Within the categories each quiz and assignment will count equally.


Electronics is highly vertical. Each day builds on every day that has gone before. You cannot afford to get behind or you will be lost for ever!

I do not grade on a curve. What you work for is what you get.

Physics 245