PHY 305L: Digital Electronics Lab (VI)

1 credits | Prerequisites: PHY 207L

Course rationale

This is the second of two lab courses on electronics for students majoring in physics. It focuses on the fundamentals of digital electronics. Students will construct a micro-computer by gradually adding different analog and digital components during each lab session. By the end of the semester, a micro-computer will be ready for use.

Course content

D1. Digital gates: use integrated gates to carry out Boolean logic operations and put together a logic gate from transistors. D2. Flip-flops: construct a flip-flop using NAND gates and verify its operation. Counter: construct a 16-bit fully synchronous counter and use it in a circuit. D3. Memory and state machines: add memory to a counter and use it to make a versatile state machine. D4. Analog-digital and phase-locked loop: use an A/D converter to generate the digital equivalent of an analog voltage, use a phase-locked loop to generate a signal matched in frequency to an input signal. D5. CPU: use a loadable RAM to hold programs and data for a processor. D6. Input-output: add a little hardware to the RAM-CPU to enable it to do I/O operations. D7. Subroutines and I/O programming: put to use the previously wired hardwire and transform the delay routine into a subroutine. D8. A/D-D/A and data handling: write a program so that the computer takes data from an 8-bit A/D, do something and use the result to drive a D/A. D9. Interrupts and exceptions: use pointers to read and fill tables. D10. Applying the microcomputer: use the simple computer assembled in the semester to run some interesting programs.

Course objectives

  1. Construct electrical circuits with resistors, capacitors and diodes.
  2. Check good and bad transistors and use them in circuits with useful applications.
  3. Measure various properties of field-effect transistors.
  4. Use op-amps and FETs together to construct circuits and verify their behavior.
  5. Verify the usefulness of positive feedback and voltage regulators.


  1. Paul Horowitz & Winfield Hill, The Art of Electronics Lab Manual.
  2. Paul Horowitz & Winfield Hill, The Art of Electronics, 3rd edition, Cambridge University Press.