I really hate being sick. I think this is the first time in a few years I’ve had a sinus cold and cough. I’ve been fighting it all week long. Its one of those were you can function, but you still feel horrible, but not horrible enough to be in bed. Hopefully some rest over the weekend will help.
Despite a cold, this week in Physics 241 I took the first exam covering Chapters 16-19. I did okay, but should have done better. Just stupid mistakes on my part rushing through. The exam had four questions from each of the four chapters and for the most part was pretty similar to the practice exam questions with slight twists. There were a couple of sections I should have spent a little bit more time on, but now that I know what to expect on exams, hopefully the next two and the final I can improve on.
After the physics exam I had to immediately turn my attention to the next section which is Chapter 20 on Traveling Waves. The chapter covers:
- The Wave Model
- Types of Waves
- Sound and Light
- Wave Properties
- Intensity and Loudness
- and the Doppler Effect
Timing is good to move into Waves. In EEE 202 Circuits I this week we took a look at some additional analysis techniques as well as inductors and capacitors. The additional analysis techniques we explored covered Equivalence, Linearity, Norton and Thevenin’s Theorem, Superposition and also looked at Maximum Power Transfer. All good stuff. The more problems I work through the better I feel about this circuit analysis stuff.
This week’s EEE 202 lab had us working with the Digilent Analog Discovery’s Wave Form Generator and Oscilloscope. I’m sure there are far more advanced tools out there but so far I’ve been pretty impressed by what that little black box can do. Definitely a handy tool for a student! I’ve never really messed with an oscilloscope so it took me a little bit to figure out how to set it up to display the wave forms. Also figured out that it can perform so math functions like calculate the current through a resistor or the voltage drop, etc. I really had a lot of fun tinkering around and am looking forward to some more complicated labs here in the future.
Back to the wave timing comment I made on physics, now that we have capacitors and inductors to play with looks like we’ll be starting to work more with first and second order transient circuits next week. Should be good stuff!
In PHY 241 this week I continued work on the Thermodynamics chapters and wrapped up all of the homework for the chapters that will be on the first test. Next Tuesday I have my first physics test that will cover Chapters 16-19 in the text book.
Week 2 officially had us working on
- Chapter 17 – Work, Head, and the First Law of Thermodynamics
- Chapter 18 – The Micro/Macro Connection
The professor provided some information for Test 1 and a formula sheet we can take advantage of during the exam as well as a practice test so I’ve also been spending time reviewing those problems and working through the end of chapter conceptual questions. This weekend I plan to work through some additional problems to make sure I’ve got everything down as best I can.
I’m ahead on the homework for both classes so its really a matter of just getting practice and understanding the concepts. I think this will be the first weekend in a while where we don’t have something going on with the kids so hoping to get some good study time in.
EEE 202 has been interesting this week. The lab seemed very brief and just introduced us to the breadboard and taking measurements with the Digilent Analog Discovery and a multimeter. Took me longer to find the resistors I needed than to actually do the lab, but things will probably get more challenging in future labs.
I’ve been working a lot of node and mesh analysis problems in the back of the book. On my second quiz attempt I scored 10/10. The node and mesh analysis problems use Linear Algebra which I really enjoyed so its great to see that type of math being applied to EE problems. The circuits I’ve been working are pretty interesting problems and I’m enjoying trying to figure out what the various currents and voltages are throughout.
I think I’m overcomplicating some of the dependent current and voltage source problems. I reached out to the professor and she sent over a couple of additional resources to help me out which was awesome. A lot of this seems to be just getting a lot of practice in.
Session B started up Monday. This session I’m finally in EEE 202 Circuits I! In addition, I am also wrapping up the physics courses needed with PHY 241 Physics III. So far Circuits I has been a bit of a review from PHY 131. Week 1 topics included:
- Significant Figures
- Some Basic Concepts
- Active Circuit Elements
- Resistors and Ohm’s Law
- Circuit Topology and Kirchhoff’s Law
- Single Loop and Single Node-Pair Circuits
- Resistor Combinations
Circuits I has seven weekly quizzes, six lab reports and a final. Quizzes and Final make up 80% of the grade with labs making up the remaining 20%. All labs and quizzes are due Sunday at midnight AZ time. Usually these online courses have all material available, but this course only has one week available at a time to try and keep everyone on the same page. Hopefully won’t be too hectic trying to get through new material and labs in a week time. I have been pretty good about getting ahead in past courses, but just have to work with how this course is structured.
Some lab materials were required for EEE 202. For the labs materials a standard issue multi-meter, breadboard, Digilent Analog Discovery and the parts kit. All these items were used back in EEE 120 so nothing new to purchase.
Software wise, the course uses LTSpice. The first lab focused primarily on getting acclimated in the software. Pretty neat program and really looking forward to learning more about it. Had an interesting issue that caused me a bit of confusion though with LTSpice. I was working with standard issue resistors and for some reason the program was reporting the current through them with the current having the wrong sign. Simple fix is just to rotate the resistor 180 degrees, but drove me nuts trying to figure out if it was my hand calculation or the simulator. Good to know I wasn’t crazy, but man that was frustrating.
No homework to turn in other than the quizzes and the labs, but there are suggested homework problems to work through and videos showing how to solve. I’ve been spending a lot of time just practicing the end of chapter problems. The text book has a ton of problems to work through which is good.
PHY 241 – Physics III doesn’t have a lab component which is a bit of a relief. The last two physics lab courses took so much time and nice to not have that to worry about. This week focused on Chapter 16 in our text book on a A Macroscopic Description of Matter. Like the other physics courses it uses the Mastering Physics site. Looks like 11-15 problems or so with some problems have a few sub parts. There are 3 tests, 13 chapters and a final for PHY 241.
Having a birthday the day before a final exam isn’t much fun. Studying for finals and wrapping up a lab wasn’t really the way I wanted to spend a birthday. All I wanted for my birthday this year was to pass PHY 131 and PHY 132 and looks like I have! I walked away with an A+ in PHY 132 Physics II Lab and somehow an A in PHY 131. Very surprised about my PHY 131 grade and by my math should have been a little lower but the professor made some adjustments that bumped me up a bit. I’ll take it!
PHY 131 is a challenging course and at 7.5 weeks and 11 chapters it is a lot to absorb. I am glad I didn’t try and take another course this semester so I could focus on it. It sets the stage for a lot of topics that EE will study in greater detail. To be successful you really need to understand the concepts. You can’t expect to be able to just plug in values and solve for unknowns. Those type of problems don’t come out very often. Electricity and magnetism is so important, its made possible so many technological advances and brought on this information age we now live in.
I found reviewing the past exams, working through the conceptual questions and end of chapter exercises very helpful to prepare for the final exam. I re-read the chapters and focused in on sections I was struggled with and then once again found Michel Van Biezen’s youtube videos helpful, in addition to Walter Lewin’s MIT physics lectures good supplements. The PHY 131 videos are very good in my opinion, but for me sometimes hearing something explained helps reinforce what I’m studying.
The PHY 132 final lab was on Faraday’s Law of Induction. We used a new KET simulator for it and then LoggerPro and a little MS Excel. The lab wasn’t as complicated as previous labs, but had three parts to work through. Biggest issue with the physics labs is the amount of time it takes to type everything up. Error propagation can also be a bit tricky, but the professor and TA had a couple of handouts that helped explain the topic. This lab didn’t have any propagation to deal with which was nice.
Next up for me is a little rest and relaxation. Session B starts up official on March 13th and I am taking PHY 241 – Physics III and finally EEE 202 Circuits I! For EEE 202 the professor sent out a materials list of parts we’ll need for the labs. Luckily it is the same set of materials we used for EEE 120. We are once again using the Digilent Analog Discovery USB Oscilloscope, their analog parts kit, multi-meter and a breadboard.
I had to laugh, I had finished up my PHY 131 exam and was sitting at my desk, just enjoying the feeling of being done with all course work and not 15 minutes later the EEE 120 professor emails the class with the materials list. No rest for me I suppose!