Foundations of Electronics I

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
15 May 2019


Requisites for this module


CE216, CE266, CE267

Key module for

BENGH610 Electronic Engineering,
BENGH611 Electronic Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH61P Electronic Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHP10 Electronic Engineering (Including Placement Year),
MENGH613 Electronic Engineering,
MENGH614 Electronic Engineering (Integrated Masters, Including Placement Year),
BSC G1F3 Mathematics with Physics,
BSC G1F4 Mathematics with Physics (Including Placement Year),
BSC GCF3 Mathematics with Physics (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH641 Communications Engineering,
BENGHP41 Communications Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHPK1 Communications Engineering (Including Placement Year),
BENGHQ41 Communications Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
MENGH642 Communications Engineering,
BENGH615 Robotic Engineering,
BENGH616 Robotic Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH617 Robotic Engineering (Including Placement Year),
BSC H631 Electronics,
BSC H632 Electronics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC H633 Electronics (Including Placement Year),
BENGH730 Mechatronic Systems,
BENGH731 Mechatronic Systems (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH732 Mechatronic Systems (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This module is one of two concerned with scientific and engineering foundations on which electronics is based. From basic ideas, the main principles of electronics are built up so that they can be used in the wider study of electronics to solve problems.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce electronic components based on physical principles that relate voltage, current flow and the storage or loss of energy. All the theory we need to learn about how circuits behave is based on the fact that electric charge cannot be created or destroyed, and that the energy of each electron just depends on where it is, and how fast it is moving. How charges move in materials depends on their crystal structures. From basic ideas, the main principles of electronics are built up so that they can be used in the wider study of electronics to solve problems.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

1. Apply dimensional analysis to electrical units and formulae
2. Apply analysis of electric fields to explain capacitance
3. Explain the basic properties of conductors, insulators and semiconductors
4. Apply concepts such as Thévenin and Norton sources to resistor networks
5. Apply a systematic method such as mesh or nodal analysis
6. Design and explain performance of a basic transistor amplifier.

Module information

Outline Syllabus

• Use of physical units; the MKSA system of units
• Charges and Fields; Electric fields due to charges; conservation of charge. Potential and electrical energy.
• Principles of conservation and Kirchhoff laws as basis for electrical theory; Networks with sources: Thevenin and Norton theorems. Matrix description of a network
• Series and parallel circuit paths;
• Charge mobility in materials, electrical current as collective charge motion. Concept of resistance, and Ohms law for linear materials; conductance; series and parallel combinations. Basic electrical measurements
• Introduction to semiconductor devices; diodes and bipolar transistors and basic transistor amplifiers

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures and Laboratories


  • Floyd, Thomas L.; Buchla, David. (2014) Electronics fundamentals: circuits, devices, and applications, Harlow, Essex: Pearson.
  • Meade, Russell L.; Diffenderfer, Robert. (c2007) Foundations of electronics: circuits and devices, Conventional flow version, Clifton Park, NJ: Thomson Delmar Learning.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Introductory Project (Pass/Fail) 20%
Coursework Progress Test - Week 8 20%
Coursework Laboratory Report 1 - Week 8 20/11/2019 20%
Coursework Laboratory report 2 - Week 12 18/12/2019 20%
Coursework Laboratory report 3 - Week 16 15/01/2020 20%
Exam 120 minutes during January (Main)
Exam 120 minutes during Autumn Special (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr David Bebbington
School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Dr Xu Wang
Heriot-Watt University
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 51 hours, 20 (39.2%) hours available to students:
31 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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