ME530241 2011

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This is the SPRING 2011 530.241 Home Page!!!

For Spring 2012, go here:

530.241 Spring 2011 Class Photo - Click here for higher resolution image.

M.E. 530.241 Electronics and Instrumentation HOME PAGE

Course Description

Introduction to basic analog electronics and instrumentation with emphasis on basic electronic devices and techniques relevant to mechanical engineering. Topics include basic circuit analysis, laboratory instruments, discrete components, transistors, filters, op-amps, amplifiers, differential amplifiers, power amplification, power regulators, AC and DC power conversion, system design considerations (noise, precision, accuracy, power, efficiency), and applications to engineering instrumentation.

4 credits



Dr. Louis L. Whitcomb
Department of Mechanical Engineering
The Johns Hopkins University
office: 115 Hackerman Hall
Phone: 410-516-6724
Office Hours: During regularly scheduled weekly problem session and lab sessions.

Teaching Assistants

  • Mr. Dan Cadel [email] - Lab Section 1, Monday 3-6PM
  • Mr. John Dannenhoffer [email] - Lab Section 2, Monday 6-9PM
  • Mr. Christopher Price [email] - Lab Section 3, Tuesday 1:30-4:30PM

TA Office Hours

TA office hours are held during the normally scheduled laboratory sessions.

Professional Staff

Mr. Robert H. Blakely, Laboratory Technician
Department of Mechanical Engineering
G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering
The Johns Hopkins University
office: B-2 Krieger Hall, phone: 410-516-8660

Class Schedule


Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:30-2:20PM, Room B17 Hackerman Hall.

Laboratory Sessions

  1. Section 1: Monday 3:00-6:00PM Wyman 140
  2. Section 2: Monday 6:00-9:00PM Wyman 140
  3. Section 3: Tuesday 1:30-4:30PM Wyman 140

Labs are held in Room 140 Wyman Park Building. You will need to show your JHU Student ID to the security officers at the front desk on the first floor of the building. If you forget your JHU student ID, then you will have to sign in at the front desk.

The Wyman Park Building is located at the South end of the Homewood Campus.

Click here for a Homewood Campus Map.

Course Requirements

An independently written report of each laboratory assignment is required.

Students may work in lab groups of up to two students total. Lab groups of more than two students are not permitted under any circumstance.

In your lab and project write-ups, if you use any reference materials or sources other than your lecture notes and your text book (e.g. another book, wikipedia, a friend) then these sources must be EXPLICITLY acknowledged in your writeup.

Unless previously arranged with the Instructor, no credit will be given for late assignments. All assignments are due at the announced due date and time.

All assignments must be handed in to Dr. Whitcomb in class or at his offices 115 Hackerman Hall. Do not hand in anything to the TAs. The TAs are not authorized to receive assignments. The lowest score laboratory will be dropped.

Course grade will be determined by lecture and laboratory participation, written laboratory reports, a class project, a midterm exam, and a final exam. The relative percentages will be something like the following (this is subject to revision): written laboratory reports (40%), class project (30%), quizzes throughout the term (10%), and a final exam (20%). We may also have a midterm exam.


  • Physics I and II
  • Calculus I - III
  • Linear Algebra
  • Differential Equations

Exam Schedule

Exams are cumulative, closed book, closed notes, closed cell-phone, calculators are OK.

  • Unannounced quizzes will be given in class.
  • Midterm Exam: TBA.


Grades are posted here.

Recommended Text

G. Rizzoni Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering, McGraw Hill, Boston, 2008. ISBN-10: 0073380377 # ISBN-13: 978-0073380377 Also available here.


This syllabus will be revised as the term progresses - please refer to this web site for the latest updates to the syllabus.

1 Jan 31 Volts, Amps, Ohms, Basic Resistor Linear Circuits, Power, KVL, KCL. CH 2 No lab this week.
2 Feb 7 DC Network Analysis. CH 3

Basic Resisor Circuits

Lecture materials:

3 Feb 14 Thevenin-Norton equivalent circuits. CH 3

DC Network Analysis

4 Feb 21 AC Network Analysis CH 4

Thevenin-Norton two-port equivalent circuits

5 Feb 28 AC Network Analysis with Phasor Notation CH 4 and 6

Oscilloscopes and Signal Generators

6 Mar 7 Operational Amplifiers 1: Ideal Model and Applications CH 8

AC Circuit Analysis

7 Mar 14 Operational Amplifiers 2: Non-Ideal Model, Power Op-Amps, and Instrumentation Amplifiers CH 8

Operational Amplifiers 1: Basic Op-Amp Circuits

8 Mar 21 Spring Break - No class or lab this week.
9 Mar 28 Nonlinear Circuit Elements: Diodes, LEDs, Bipolar Transistors CH 9, 10

Operational Amplifiers 2: Op-Amps, Power Op-Amps, and Instrumentation Amplifiers.

10 Apr 4 Digital logic, binary numbers, Flip-flops, digital input/output. CH 12 Diodes, LEDs, Bipolar Transistors
11 Apr 11 Class Project
12 Apr 18 Class Project
  • Class Project Lab
13 Apr 25 Class Project
  • Class Project Lab
14 May 2 Class Project:
  • Final Class Project Lab: Your class project demonstration is due during your regular lab session this week - your T.A. must sign off on your demonstration.
  • Class project written report is due 5:00PM Friday May 6, 2011 - the last day of Spring term classes.
16 May 16 Final Exam: 9AM-12PM, Monday, May 16, 2011, B17 Hackerman Hall, per the JHU registrar's schedule

Class Project Videos

See videos of the Class's Spring 2010 laboratory projects HERE!


Students are encouraged to work in groups to learn, brainstorm, and collaborate in learning how to solve problems.

Your final writeups for pre-lab exercises and lab assignments must be done independently without reference to any notes from group sessions, the work of others, or other sources such as the internet.

While working on your final writeups for pre-lab exercises and lab assignments, you may refer to your own class notes, your own laboratory notes, and the text. Lab partners may share quantitative data and copies of data plots obtained together in lab.

Ethics Guidelines from M.E. 530.101 are adopted in this class.

In this course, we adopt the ethical guidelines articulated by Professor Lester Su for M.E. 530.101 – Freshman experiences in mechanical engineering I, which are quoted with permission as follows:

Cheating is wrong. Cheating hurts our community by undermining academic integrity, creating mistrust, and fostering unfair competition. The university will punish cheaters with failure on an assignment, failure in a course, permanent transcript notation, suspension, and/or expulsion.

Offenses may be reported to medical, law or other professional or graduate schools when a cheater applies. Violations can include cheating on exams, plagiarism, reuse of assignments without permission, improper use of the Internet and electronic devices, unauthorized collaboration, alteration of graded assignments, forgery and falsification, lying, facilitating academic dishonesty, and unfair competition. Ignorance of these rules is not an excuse.

On every exam, you will sign the following pledge: "I agree to complete this exam without unauthorized assistance from any person, materials or device. [Signed and dated]"

For more information, see the guide on "Academic Ethics for Undergraduates" and the Ethics Board web site (

I do want to make clear that I’m aware that the vast majority of students are honest, and the last thing I want to do is discourage students from working together. After all, working together on assignments is one of the most effective ways to learn, both through learning from and explaining things to others. The ethics rules are in place to ensure that the playing field is level for all students. The following examples will hopefully help explain the distinction between what constitutes acceptable cooperation and what’s not allowable.

Student 1: Yo, I dunno how to do problem 2 on the homework, can you clue me in? 

Student 2: Well, to be brief, I simply applied the **** principle
that is thoroughly explained in  Chapter **** in the course text.

Student 1: Dude, thanks! (Goes off to work on problem.)

- This scenario describes an acceptable interaction. 
There’s nothing wrong with pointing someone in the right direction.

Student Y: The homework’s due in fifteen minutes and I haven’t 
done number 5 yet! Help me!

Student Z: Sure, but I don’t have time to explain it to you, so
here. Don’t just copy it, though.
(Hands over completed assignment.)

Student Y: I owe you one, man. (Goes off to copy number 5.)

 - This scenario is a textbook ethics violation on the part of 
 both students. Student Y’s offense is obvious; student Z is 
 guilty by virtue of facilitating plagiarism, even though he/she 
 is unaware of what student Y actually did.

Joe Student: Geez, I’m so swamped, I can’t possibly write up the 
lab report and do the lab data calculations before it’s all due.

Jane student: Well, since we were lab partners and collected all 
the data together...maybe you could just use my Excel spreadsheet
with the calculations, as long as you did the write-up yourself....

Joe Student: Yeah, that’s a great idea!

- That is not a great idea. By turning in a lab report with Jane’s
spreadsheet included, Joe is submitting something that isn’t his 
own work.

Study group member I: All right, since there’s three of us and
there’s six problems on the homework, let’s each do two. I’ll 
do one and two and give you copies when I’m done.

Study group member II: Good idea, that’ll save us a lot of work.
I’ll take three and five.

Study group member III: Then I guess I’ll do four and six. Are you
guys sure this is OK? Seems fishy to me.

Study group member I: What’s the problem? It’s not like we’re
copying the entire assignment. Two problems each is still a lot 
of work.

- This is clearly wrong. Copying is copying even if it’s only 
part of an assignment.

Mike (just before class): Hey, can you help me? I lost my
calculator, so I’ve got all the problems worked out but I 
couldn’t get the numerical answers. What’s the answer for 
problem 1?

Ike: Let’s see (flips through assignment)... I got 2.16542.
Mike: (Writing) Two point one six five four two...what about 
number 2?

Ike: For that one... I got 16.0.

Mike: (Writing) Sixteen point oh...great, got it, thanks. 
Helping out a friend totally rules!

- Helping out a friend this way does not rule, totally or 
partially. As minor as this offense seems, Mike is still 
submitting Ike’s work as his own when Mike gets the numerical 
answer and copies it in this way.
This page was last modified on 30 January 2012, at 17:35.