ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 8

Grades for Session A posted pretty quickly and happy to report I can cross another course off my list. Getting closer to graduation, but still have a bit to go. Fewer than when I started though… So now I’m down to just EEE334 and EEE241.

EEE334’s midterm took place Wednesday and Thursday. That was one brutal test covering the first three chapters on Op-Amps, Diodes and MOSFETs. We only had one hour to work through three questions, but each question had some rather complicated subparts. I just ran out of time and couldn’t finish in the 60 minutes. I hope there will be some partial credit give, but really feeling down about how hard that test was for me.

I got through the video lectures on MOS Small Signal Operations thinking that Homework 4 would be on that material. Homework set 4 finally posted Tuesday or Wednesday and covers problems from week 9 and 10 so I’ve been scrambling a bit to get through the four hours of lectures on Single Stage MOS Amplifiers. Common Source, Gate and Drain Amplifiers. Slightly bugged and feels like the cart was put before the horse there given we usually have two weeks to get through lectures and homework. I was able to get two out of four problems done and they aren’t that bad, but just added a bit more stress that I could have done without.

In addition, I’ve been working on Lab 4 which is on MOSFET Characteristics. So far it hasn’t been as complicated as Lab 3, but still have a few more parts to work through.

EEE 241 has moved into magnetostatics. Lecture topics this week included:

  • Fundamental Postulates of Magnetostatics in Free Space
  • Vector Magnetic Potential
  • The Biot-Savart Law
  • The Magnetic Dipole.

I was able to get the four homework problems done, just need to submit the assignment tomorrow night. This stuff is definitely challenging.

I’ve been working on 241 problems throughout the week, but my plan is to keep working them throughout the weekend and hopefully I do better on 241 than I did last week on 334.




ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 7

It has been another busy week, but with EEE230 wrapping up this weekend I’m hopeful that I should be able to focus much better on EEE334 and 241. I am hopeful EEE230 will be the last 7.5 week course for me and it’s all full semester courses for the remainder of my time here at ASU.

EEE230 – Computer Organization and Assembly Language this week took a very brief introductory look at Parallel Processors. The lectures discussed:

  • Categories of parallel hardware
  • Multi-threading
  • Shared memory

A short assignment and half size quiz were due today and I was able to complete both of those yesterday. At this point, it’s just a matter of reviewing the Final outline and preparing my notes in order to take the final exam this Sunday. The final exam is worth 325 points out of 1000 so a fair big chunk of the grade. Looks like there will be 30 questions plus an extra credit question.

EEE 241 – Fundamentals of Electromagnetics looked:

  • Boundary-Value Problems in Cylindrical and Spherical Coordinates
  • Current Density and Ohm’s Law
  • Electromotive Force and Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law
  • Equation of Continuity and Kirchhoff’s Current Law
  • Boundary Conditions for Current Density Resistance

These topics seemed much more straight forward than last weeks material which is nice. I still need to keep practicing these problems and reviewing from the Schaum’s Electromagnetics book for the upcoming midterm. A note posted on the discussion board indicated that the majority of the information for the midterm would come from Chapters 3 and 5 so that helps narrow things down a bit on what to focus on. Everyone I’ve talked to though says this second midterm is brutal so hopefully all the problems I’ve been working will help make it less so.

EEE 334 – Circuits II – I didn’t think it possible to have a lab report so long! Lab 3 came in at 46 pages!!! It looked at Diodes and applications. I started it early and had it done the day before it was due luckily. There was a quiz on MOSFETs back on Tuesday that was a bit of a mess. Apparently an incorrect µnCox value was given which made the one circuit we were to analyze completely impossible in real life 0.08 is not 80! I was bugged all day after the quiz, but got confirmation the next morning about the typo. Not sure yet how it will be graded, but hopefully over the weekend we’ll get our results. Better not be a penalty assessed unless I didn’t write out the formulas correctly. I just pushed through, wrote out the appropriate equations and solved them with the values given, but definitely didn’t make sense. I get folks are human, but should be a little bit better quality control on this stuff.

Next week we have a midterm in EEE334. One of the TAs posted some information, but the professor hasn’t said much about what to expect. From what the TA has posted, it looks like the midterm will cover OpAmps, Diodes and MOSFETs. It’s open and book and open notes and his recommendation was to run back through the homework problems and if you could answer a couple of questions he posted, shouldn’t be any surprises. We’ll see, my faith is a little bit shaken in this course, but the topics are really interesting and I’m excited to take a look at Lab 4 on MOSFETs which I’ll be starting next week.

The lectures for EEE 334 for weeks 7 and 8 are on MOS Small Signal Operation covering:

  • Obtaining a Voltage Amplifier
  • MOSFET Amplifier
  • Determine VTC via Graphical Analysis
  • Small Signal Operation
  • T Equivalent-Circuit Model

I honestly haven’t even looked at these yet focusing on the lab, the quiz and wrapping up EEE 230, but will start in over the weekend. No homework has been posted yet and the instructions for this week were to study for the midterm so that is what I’ve been doing.

ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 6

I have no idea what happened to this week. Somehow it is Friday already. Here is a recap of what I’ve been working on this week:

EEE230 Computer Organization and Assembly Language: This week has focused on:

  • Memory Hierarchy
  • Cache Basics
  • Cache Performance
  • Cache Read & Writes
  • Dependability
  • Virtual Memory

Same weekly quiz and homework assignment to work through. The cache stuff has been giving me a bit of trouble, but I think I’m finally understanding it. I’ve started preparing for the Final which will be available 10/7 and 10/8. Hard to believe this class is almost done!.

EEE 241 – Fundamentals of Electromagnetics: I didn’t think it was possible to get crazier, but this class just got really crazy. I am a bit lost this week, but am working through a lot of practice problems and review questions trying to figure things out. Topics this week have been the method of images and boundary value problems in Cartesian coordinates. Most of the lectures have been example problems. All of a sudden hyperbolic sine and cosine functions showed up out of the blue. ASU’s math courses didn’t cover those topics unfortunately so have had to go back and figure out what those were.

EEE 334 – Circuits II – this week I’ve been working on Lab 3 on Diodes. This lab has been really helpful to fill in some of the gaps I had. Its massive and takes a look at a lot of different diode applications, but I think will be good practice and really help me better understand how to use them. Next week I have a quiz on MOSFETS so will be spending some time this weekend preparing for that.

That’s all for now! Back to the books!

ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 5

Made it through one third of the fall semester! This week had the opportunity to test what I’d learned. Two quizzes and a midterm started off Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Still waiting on scores for my EEE241 midterm and EEE334 quiz. Hopefully I did okay on them.

Aside from the quizzes and tests the lectures and homework assignments and labs continue.

EEE 334 Circuits II second lab was due Thursday. This lab covered operational amplifiers. It was really neat to apply the theory to four different op amp circuits. The lab looked at inverting and non-inverting configurations as well as integrating and differentiating applications. I keep thinking about audio applications and what I could build now that I have this new found knowledge. Reflecting back to the Arduino MP3 project I did for a local Sacramento artist over the summer, I definitely now have a much better understanding and have a few ideas on how to improve if someone is ever in need of another Arduino MP3 player for a kinematic painting.

The lectures in EEE 334 switched gears from diodes and moved into MOSFETS. These were a bit overwhelming at first. I was having the worst time with them earlier in the week, but one of the TAs finally got back to me and helped clear things up. I’m finding that as I move higher into the curriculum at ASU, there aren’t as many tutoring options available. Seems to stop at Signals and Systems I. Hopefully that is something ASU is working on, but right now, not much outside help is available.

The lectures on MOSFETs covered the following topics:

  • Creating a channel for current flow
  • Operating as the drain to source voltage is increased
  • P-Channel MOSFETs
  • Current-Voltage characteristics
  • Finite Output Resistance in Saturation
  • MOSFET Circuits in DC
  • Lots of examples

Doesn’t look like we’ll have a lab on these for a couple of weeks, but looking forward to working with them more. The next lab I’ll be starting early next week is on Diodes. The homework on MOSFETs has five different circuits to work through finding various currents, resistances and voltages and determining what will keep it in saturation, etc.

EEE 241 – Fundamentals of Electromagnetics- the first midterm only covered one chapter, but looks like midterm 2 will have material from 4 chapters! Rumor has it that it is a beast. I have been a horrid student and have been just doing the bare minimums on the newer material trying to master the material needed for the 1st midterm. Now for the next four weeks, I’ve got to buckle down and really focus in on the material now for midterm 2. The tests in there are worth so much of the grade, hopefully this strategy pays off. So far so good on the homework, but definitely not as comfortable as I’d like to be. I’m hoping by working many of the problems in the book, I can make it through in one piece.

This week though, we’ve been looking at:

  • Capacitance and Capacitors
  • Electrostatic Energy
  • Electrostatic Forces from the Energy of a System
  • Poisson’s and Laplace’s Equations – Uniqueness of Solutions

EEE 230 Computer Organization and Assembly Language – Week 5 has been all about Pipelining. I have some work to do this weekend to get through the assignment and a few more of the lectures. I was distracted earlier this week on the quizzes and midterms. The lectures compared the single cycle model and pipelining. From there, looked at the pipelined datapath and control necessary. Naturally there are data hazards so looked at forwarding and stalling and then control hazards. There hasn’t been much work in the MARS Assembly Language program lately.

A bit more scary is the professor posted information on the final exam for this course! That is coming up October 8th. There was a nice outline though of what to study in order to prepare. It’s open notes, but no calculator or textbook. I will start next week on preparing for it. So far, I’ve done well on all the quizzes and the assignments and hope to finish strong in there.

Lastly, I’ll be registering Monday 9/25 for spring classes already. Trying to figure out how its that time again. At this point, I’m leaning towards the following:

  • EEE 350 – Random Signal Analysis
  • EEE 333 – Hardware Design Language/Program Logic
  • EEE 335 – Analog Digital Circuits

EEE 333 and EEE 335 are two area pathway courses. I need to take four out of six possibilities. Both look to be four unit classes and have lab components so I imagine that Spring will continue to busy, but at least all of them are full semester courses.



ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 4

This week has been a bit better, but I fear it is the calm before the storm. Next week I have an EEE 230 quiz I’m taking on Sunday, an EEE 334 quiz Monday, then an EEE 241 midterm on Tuesday. Lots to prep for.

This week in EEE 230 this week the lectures have been on:

  • Performance
  • Single Cycle Datapath
  • Single Cycle Control

For some reason, it took me a little bit to sort through this material. Still not 100% comfortable with the Single Cycle Control, but will be reviewing it and working through Assignment 4 today and Saturday so should have that figured out by the time I take the Quiz on Sunday.

EEE 241 is just crazy. The lecturer keeps saying it’s simple and piece of cake, but it hasn’t click yet for me. This material isn’t on the midterm on Tuesday thank goodness. This week the focus has been on:

  • Interaction between electric field and materials
  • Polarization
  • Dielectric constant
  • Electrostatic boundary conditions.

Four homework problems to work through, that I had to do a bit of research online to figure out how to get started. I keep trying to overcomplicate things or I just can’t figure out what the problem is asking for. Once through the midterm, I’ll be working a lot more problems. I need to do a better job of breaking things down into smaller pieces to build up the problems. I keep reading that the way to get through this is to just keep practicing lots of problems.

EEE 334’s focus this week has been preparing for the quiz Monday on diodes. I am still waiting on the homework from this chapter to be returned. No solutions have been posted yet which is a bit frustrating to me. Hopefully those will show up soon.

I’ve been working on Lab 2 which is on Op Amps a bit this week which is due next Thursday. It isn’t as detailed as the first one, but still taking a bit of time to sort through the experiments. The lab has us looking at a few different configurations of op amps:

  • Inverting
  • Non-inverting
  • Integrating
  • Differentiating

My theoretical calculations have matched my LTSpice simulation and are pretty close to my experimental values.

I had some odd readings earlier in the week where I was getting a 0.15V offset on my output voltage. Had to check in with the TA and she confirmed she was seeing the same thing. On the OP27 op amp we where messing with, there is a way to use a few resistors and potentiometers, but when I tried them, it messed with the gain too much. Not sure I had the best potentiometer, but good to know that can be done if in the future, if I ever encounter an offset like that.

Other than that, just trying to take things one problem at a time and make it through this semester. I have been feeling like I need to get back to work  in some capacity. Those thoughts have been in the back of my mind the last few days. Taking 3 classes instead of four, I’m looking at a much longer time frame until graduation. This program is already gone on much longer than I anticipated and just feeling the need to find some sort of job.

ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 3

This has been a horrendous week for me.

I am just not physically able to keep up with four electrical engineering courses at a time and made a very tough call Thursday to drop EEE350 Random Signal Analysis.

Certainly makes graduating in Spring 2019 unlikely at this point and I’m feeling very defeated at the moment. I need to get back to work soon and this just pushes that out sooner. Not sure how I would work and go to school and be a dad at the same time.

I have been working nonstop since before the official school start date just trying to keep up and have been working from 7am until 11:30pm just about every single night. There have been breaks in between to help the kids, eat a meal, run an errand, but not much else. I absolutely gave four EE courses at a time my best and it just wasn’t enough. I hope I can get back on track over the weekend and early next week and focus more on the three classes I have. I really don’t want to fail them so hopefully this was the right decision.

Let’s take a look at what’s been going on this week:

EEE 230 Computer Organization and Assembly Language – This week has focused on encoding instructions and arithmetic. I keep finding new ways to encode instructions wrong. 32-bits and a few decimal to binary and hexadecimal conversions, dealing with label addresses and the program counter, plus three different ways to encode something is brutal. Plus no calculator on tests so that makes this is a slow and painful processor for me. I’m sure with practice I’d get faster. I haven’t spent much time on the arithmetic part, but the instructions for multiplication and divide were introduced as well as looking at floating point values. Need to look more into those topics before Monday’s Assignment 3 and Quiz are due.

EEE 241 Fundamentals of Electromagnetics – This week the course moved into the postulates of electrostatics, electric field intensity, Gauss’ Law and Electric Potential. The lecturer in the videos keeps saying the problems are very simple. I’m not seeing that just yet. The midterms aren’t cumulative but we have our first one coming up due by the 9/19 covering all the vector calculus stuff. Next week I’ve got to do a much better job working through some of the example problems to really make sure I’ve got the math down and at the same time keep up with the current week material. There are only four homework problems in this week’s material and I should have that wrapped up by Sunday’s deadline if all goes as planned.

EEE 334 Circuits II – This class is consuming most of my time. This week we had a quiz on op amps. Not sure how I did but I think I messed up on 2 of the problems. Hopefully there will be some partial credit. In addition to the quiz, our first lab was due Thursday. This covered some simple circuits and instruments. My report came in at 31 pages and hopefully I hit all the points. 31 pages was longer than both my UCR senior paper and USF graduate paper. No idea why a lab needs 31 pages to answer all the questions but that is a bit excessive in my opinion.

This week the lectures moved into diodes.

I’ve been having a tough time with the diode homework problems. In particular, a four diode problem was given and I’m supposed to use the constant voltage model and the ideal model to solve. That has not been pleasant and the problem was not particular clear on the assumptions. There was a bit of conflicting information given as well to add to the challenge. I really try not to complain, but this problem was not cool. I have no idea why it is necessary to look at a four diode problem right off the bat. The principles could have easily been taught with a 2 or 3 diode problem but with 4 diodes there are 2 to the fourth possibilities – only 16 combinations to try. Sure if you’re successful in solving it you’ll learn a lot but the time involved and frustration was a bit much for me this week.

Hopefully next week will be better. I will sign off for now, get some rest and then get back to the problems. Just need to remember to take them one at a time and eventually I’ll have that degree in Electrical Engineering. Keep me in your prayers, I need them right now.



ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 2

There has been no shortage of new topics across my four classes this week. Let’s run through what’s been on the agenda!

EEE 230 – Computer Organization and Assembly Language is starting to get a bit more complicated. I’ve been learning how to put together programs that are a bit more complicated. This week’s topics include:

  • Shift and Logic Instructions
  • Jumps and Branches
  • Control Structures
  • Function Basics
  • Parameters
  • Run-time Stack

The week’s homework assignment required two functions to be completed. The first function simply prints a string with the prompt stored in memory. The second function was a bit more complicated requiring to print out the input collected, 10 integers, and then output them 1, 2, 3,… This required working with the stack to save the return address, calling the printstr function. Hopefully I’ve got it put together properly and will get it submitted before the due date on Monday.

Also, this week took the Quiz for week 1 and pulled off a perfect score. So far, off to a good start.

EEE 241 – Fundamentals of Electromagnetics continued the sprint through vector calculus. Four homework problems to work through this week, but I’ve started going through all of the end of chapters questions, hoping I can get prepared for the midterm coming up September 19th.

This weeks lectures covered:

  • Integrals Containing Vectors, Gradient Operator
  • Divergence Operator and Divergence Theorem
  • The Curl Operator
  • Stokes’ and Helmholtz’s Theorem, Two Notable Null Identities
  • Various example problems

Next week, the course moves into Postulates of Electrostatics, Electric field intensity, Gauss’ law and Electric Potential.

EEE 334 Circuits II continues to be taking up a lot of time. I’ve been working through Lab 1 and have been reviewing op amps in preparation for the first quiz next week. The lab has us work through a simple DC circuit, an AC circuit, a low pass and lastly a high pass filter. Seems like a lot and way more to these labs than the PHY 132.

EEE 350 Random Signal Analysis has been mostly ignored. I got a head start on the lectures and the homework was light these first two weeks. That changes though in weeks 3 and 4. The example videos with worked out problems so far have been helpful. The professor walks step by step from the ones I’ve watched and help me out. So far its been most a review of Set Theory and Probability. I’ll be diving more into new material over the weekend so will have a better update on EEE 350 next week. Definitely feels like the calm before the storm in this course right now.