Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Your own goals

As you work to revise your own learning goals for the class, please refer back to the original assignment. Let me know if you have any questions or comments about your goals revision.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Design Project Schedule

For the design project, the schedule is:
Architecture design review: November 2
Schematic design review: November 9
Layout design review: November 16
Layout files due: November 19
Boards back by: November 30
Final presentations: December 10

Monday, October 26, 2015

Design Project Ideas

Gathering some ideas for the design projects:
  1. Interactive displays for the EE Proto bulletin board.
  2. Clock displays: LED/analog? Voltmeters? Metric time? POSIX?
  3. Time synchronization: GPS, WWV, or WiFi beacon-frame timestamp?
  4. LED-strip-driver audio visualizer (light organ).
  5. MIDI control board (such as this Kickstarter project) with interesting interfaces.
  6. A digitally controlled analog synthesizer voice.
  7. A digital synthesizer voice (like these boxes).
  8. A complete drum machine box (with sequencer and voices).
  9. Drone synthesizer (for example, Drone Commander or Drone Lab).
  10. Lecture demonstrations for Controls (PID box? SSE box?).

Monday, October 19, 2015


For each of the first six labs, consider the following questions:
  1. What worked?
  2. What didn't?
  3. What are your lessons learned?
  4. What could (should) you have done better? 
  5. What grade do you give yourself on the lab?
  6. What changes (if any) should be made to this lab for future classes?
Please write up your answers to these questions (each answer only needs to be a sentence or two). Meet with the Professor to discuss your grades, and bring your answers with you. Let's wrap this up soon.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lab B5

Two options for Lab B5:
  1. Analog filter design: Design a three-channel audio spectrum analyzer, with fourth-order band-pass filters and corners at 20 Hz, 200 Hz, 2 kHz, and 20 kHz (at least three channels and at least fourth order; more would be better).
  2. Analog computer design: Read Section 12.3 in Roberge's Operational Amplifiers. Simulate and build the scaled analog computer for Van der Pol's Equation in Figure 12.16. Then, simulate and build an analog computer for Duffing's Equation (or some other interesting differential equation in consultation with the staff).
Op amps! Op amps! Op amps!

October Events

Three events this month that you need to attend:
  1. Sunday, October 18, 9am: Electronics Flea Market at MIT
  2. Saturday, October 24, all day: Analog Heaven North East Synthfest at Olin
  3. Monday, October 26, 7:30pm, Blade Runner, Olin Auditorium
Really. You should attend these events. Mark your calendars.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lab A4 Microcontroller

Lab A4 is to layout a simple microcontroller board. One possibility is a copy of the Arduino Micro, and you can find the schematic on their website. Other possibilities can be discussed with the staff.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lab A3 Teardown

Part 1:
  1. Get a toolkit (if you don't already have one).
  2. Review the some teardowns at iFixit and send me an email with a link to your favorite one, with a short explanation of why it's your favorite. Be sure to venture beyond the lists of "Recent" and "Popular". For some examples, see
  3. Watch the following video (a teardown of an Anritsu spectrum analyzer from Mike's Electric Stuff; see his YouTube channel for more videos).

Part 2:

Commercial Electronics Autopsy: Take apart a piece of commercial electronics (provided). Take pictures, study construction techniques, draw a block diagram, write a bill of materials of major parts (top ten), and find some data sheets, but don't draw a schematic. Make a list of the major components; the main integrated circuits are important, of course, but don't overlook interesting examples of passive components, sensors, connectors, switches (and other controls), internal cable assemblies, heat sinks, mechanical elements, etc. Deliverables (as a web page):
  • Link to service manual (if found)
  • Basic test results showing operation (or non-operation)
  • Pictures of the disassembly and the insides
  • Block diagram of the system
  • Bill of materials of ten major parts, with date codes and datasheets
  • Discussion of the mechanical design, including functional and decorative elements
  • Short presentation for informal show-and-tell session
If your item has an FCC ID code on it, be sure to check out if any of the FCC filings are public at
Extra credit for salvaging and reusing some interesting part from your autopsy (for example: motors, sensors, LEDs, switches, fans, etc.).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Course Schedule

Here is a (preliminary) schedule for the lab projects:
Labs 1 and 2: due by September 14
Lab 3: due September 24
Lab 4: layout files due October 8
Lab 5: due October 19
Lab 6: due October 29
For the design project, the rough schedule is:
Project proposal: October 22
Architecture design review: October 29
Schematic design review: November 5
Layout design review: November 12
Layout files due: November 19
Boards back by: November 30
Final presentations: December 10
For your own learning goals, the schedule is:
Initial statement of goals: September 17
Midterm downselect and revision: October 22
Final deliverables: December 10
Some of these dates may be flexible. Some of these dates are not (when the layout files are due). Completing the labs and the design project will require some multitasking (particularly around Labs 5 and 6).

September 14: Labs 1 and 2
September 17: Initial statement of goals
September 24: Lab 3
October 8: Lab 4 layout files due (no slip)
October 19: Lab 5
October 22: Goals revision and project proposal
October 29: Lab 6 and architecture design review
November 5: Schematic design review
November 12: Layout design review
November 19: Layout files due (no slip)
November 30: Boards back
December 10: Final deliverables and presentations