Complementary Labs for Electrical Engineering

Complementary Labs for Electrical Engineering provides students with seven labs designed to span multiple courses in a typical four-year Electrical Engineering undergraduate program. These labs are designed to show how the Analog Discovery Studio can be used to complement existing lab setups by providing a way for students to experiment and use hardware at home, without the pressure of having to finish a lab within a dedicated lab period. The labs do not cover a full-semester of topics; instead, they provide instructors with a few ideas on how they could integrate the Analog Discovery Studio into their own courses in order to give students a more holistic engineering experience.

Following these guides, the students will learn the theory behind various circuits and electronics applications, will complete exercises to simulate, create, and test circuits for specific electronics applications and will gain proficiency in using the Analog Discovery Studio, Multisim Live, and LabVIEW Community to perform circuits and electronics experiments at home.


Note: To access Multisim Live, an NI account is needed.

Note: A set up process for WaveForms is found in the WaveForms Getting Started Guide. By installing WaveForms, the Digilent WaveForms Runtime will be installed, which is needed by the WaveForms VIs.

Note: To download LabVIEW, an NI account is needed. A getting started guide for LabVIEW Community can be found at LabVIEW Community Getting Started.

Note: A detailed guide about the installation and the usage of the WaveForms VIs can be found here: Getting Started with LabVIEW and a Digilent Discovery Device. The installation of LINX is similar to the installation of WaveForms VIs.

Detailed Requirements

Please see the individual labs for more details.

Lab 1: RC Circuits
Lab 2: Active and Passive Filters
Lab 3: Amplifier Frequency Response
  • 2N3904, or compatible NPN transistor
  • 741, or compatible operational amplifier
  • 22μF electrolytic capacitor
  • 10μF electrolytic capacitor
  • 4.7μF electrolytic capacitor
  • 10KΩ resistor
  • 5.6KΩ resistor
  • 2.2KΩ resistor
  • 1.8KΩ resistor
  • 2x 1KΩ resistor
  • 680Ω resistor
Lab 4: Full-Wave Rectifiers
Lab 5: Amplitude Modulation and Demodulation
Lab 6: UART Serial Communication
Lab 7: SPI Communication

Included Course Labs

    • This lab covers the basic characteristics of RC Circuits, including both DC and AC analysis, simulation, and experimentation. Students will learn about the equations that govern capacitor charging and discharging, the RC circuit time constant, and be introduced to using RC circuits as low-pass and high-pass filters. Advanced students can build on the lab and challenge themselves to design band-pass and band-stop RC filters.
    • This lab introduces students to the basic terminology and characteristics of filters such as filter slope, passband, stopband, and cut-off frequency. Students will learn about filter transfer functions for passive and active filters as well as higher-order passive filters and apply their knowledge by simulating and building these circuits. Advanced students can challenge themselves by exploring higher-order active filter implementations (such as Chebyshev and Butterworth) and how these implementations maximize different filter characteristics.
    • This lab introduces students to the importance of frequency response when designing circuits. Students will investigate the frequency response of two amplifier circuits, one made with transistors and the other using op-amps. By comparing how their frequency responses differ while still providing the same overall function, students will learn about how different input frequency ranges affect design considerations. Advanced students can challenge themselves to research high-speed op-amps and compare their designs and specifications to regular op-amps.
    • This lab guides students in building a full-wave bridge rectifier and in exploring the V-I characteristic of a diode. Students will first simulate and build the rectifier to gain an understanding of the purpose of a rectifier. Then, students will use LabVIEW to explore the individual components of the rectifier in order to visualize and understand how these components limit its operating range. Advanced students can explore ways to overcome the threshold voltage limit when using diodes in a rectifier or learn more about programming practices and user-friendliness.
    • This lab introduces students to communications theory with amplitude modulation and demodulation. Students will explore the mathematical theory behind amplitude modulation and use the Analog Discovery Studio to visualize the effects of amplitude modulation in the time and frequency domains. Then, students will use LabVIEW to program an AM demodulator and use it to explore and visualize the effects of the modulation coefficient on the quality of the demodulated signal and the effects of different parameters (such as windowing and averaging) on the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). Advanced students can challenge themselves to build a system to send data between two Analog Discovery Studios or to build an analog AM demodulator.
    • This lab allows students to explore the basics of serial communication using a microcontroller (such as Arduino UNO) as the transmitter and the Analog Discovery Studio as the receiver. Students will explore and visualize the effects of different factors (such as baud rates and endian-ness) on serial communications. Advanced students can challenge themselves to build a multi-device transmitter and receiver system or investigate decoding signals from binary back to decimal values.
    • This lab allows students to explore communication using the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) bus. Students will learn about the basic theory behind SPI communication using a microcontroller (such as an Arduino Uno) as the SPI master and the Analog Discovery Studio as the SPI slave. Using LabVIEW, students will be able to visualize the slave select, clock, and MOSI lines of the SPI bus and learn how to extract the message from these lines. Advanced students can challenge themselves by modifying their code to encode and decode ASCII signals or adding a layer of encryption to protect their data from unwanted observers.

Next Steps

For more guides on how to use the Digilent Test and Measurement Device, return to the device's Resource Center, linked from the Test and Measurement page of this wiki.

For technical support, please visit the Test and Measurement section of the Digilent Forums.