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Physics 204

PHYS 204  Electric Circuits and Laboratory

For the Engineering / Advanced Physics Track

 A 4-credit course providing a basic and practical understanding of passive electrical circuits and computer-based data acquisition and analysis, including basic circuit laws, methods of circuit analysis, circuit theorems, operational amplifiers, capacitors and inductors, sinusoids and phasors, sinusoidal steady state analysis, frequency response, and test and measurement instruments, virtual instruments, and  data acquisition software.

Prerequisite or Co-requisite: PHYS 121 and MATH 250  

The course will be offered in two 1.5-hour lecture and two 1-hour lab periods per week


Week 1:        Basic Concepts, including charge and current, voltage, power and energy, circuit elements, and passive sign convention.

Week 2:        Fundamentals of circuit laws, including Ohm's Law, nodes, branches and loops, Kirchhoff's Laws, series and parallel resistor networks, and voltage and current dividers. 

Week 3:        Introduction to programming for data acquisition.

Week 4:        Methods of analysis, including linear equations, nodal analysis, super node, mesh analysis, and super meshes.

Week 5:        Circuit theorems, including linearity, superposition, source transformations, Thevenin and Norton’s theorems, and maximum power transfer.

Week 6-7:    Operational Amplifiers, including practical op amps, ideal op amp, voltage follower, inverting amplifier, non-inverting amplifier, summing amplifier, and difference amplifier.

Week 8:        Capacitors and inductors, including capacitors, series and parallel capacitors, inductors, and integrators and differentiators.

Week 9-10:  First-order circuits, including RC Circuits: source-free, RL circuits: source-free, singularity Functions, RC Circuits: step response, RL circuits: step response, and first-order op amp circuits.

Week 11-13: Second order Circuits, including series RLC circuits and step response, parallel RLC circuits and step response, and general Second-order Circuits.

Week 14:      Review 

Laboratory Projects

Week 1-2         Ohms’ law and Fundamentals of electrical measurements

Week 3            Introduction to software and techniques of for data acquisition.

Week 4            Programming for voltage and current measurements and sweeping voltage sources, and digital oscilloscope.

Week 5            Thevenin’s theorems,

Week 6            The Wheatstone bridge and control circuit

Week 7            Programming for a virtual instrument for monitoring and display room temperature.

Week 8            Capacitors, inductors

Week 9            Phase shift circuits

Week 10          Impedance

Week 11-12     Resonance circuits, frequency response

Week 13          Operational amplifier

Week 14          Review 



"Fundamentals of Electric Circuit", C. K. Alexander, M. N. O. Sadiku, McGraw-Hill, 2000.

“Today’s Electronics”, Joseph G. Sloop. E&L Instruments. 

Instruction manuals for MATLAB and LABVIEW


Reference Texts:

"The Analysis of Linear Systems", R. E. Thomas, and A. J. Rosa, Prentice-Hall, 1994. 

”In compliance with the American Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Hunter College is committed to ensuring educational parity and accommodations for all students with documented disabilities and/or medical conditions. It is recommended that all students with documented disabilities (Emotional, Medical, Physical and/ or Learning) consult the Office of AccessABILITY located in Room E1124 to secure necessary academic accommodations. For further information and assistance please call (212- 772- 4857)/TTY (212- 650- 3230).”

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The college is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to the Hunter College Academic Integrity Procedures.

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