2018 FYEE Conference

Full Paper: A First-Year Electronics Lab Project—Design of Basic Voltmeter plus Soldering Tutorial

Presented at Technical Session VI

Recent National Science Foundation (NSF) research, aimed at improving the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) curriculum across all four years, makes strategic use of laboratory projects. The “spiral model”, adapted from other research, introduces certain lab component themes (in the freshman year) and revisits them with increased sophistication and interconnection in the following years. Thus, labs are used as a “cohesive framework” that connects and integrates individual courses. The three themes used in this research are centered on video (and image), sound, and touch sensors. In this paper, and a companion paper, we present our own design of two new lab projects (within the video/image theme). Specifically, this paper reports on the design of a microcontroller-based voltmeter with measured voltage values shown on a liquid crystal display (LCD). The companion paper presents the design of a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-based embedded processor to control an LCD. Both projects can include a soldering tutorial/review session—and simple videos were made to illustrate soldering of the voltmeter components. The contribution of this paper is to provide a fully-working, easy-to-use, first-year lab project within the video/image theme of the spiral model approach to improving the ECE curriculum. The project design code will be made available for downloading on the internet, via the Bitbucket web-hosting service, and the soldering tutorial videos via YouTube.

  1. Dr. Rod Blaine Foist California Baptist University [biography]
  2. Dr. Xuping Xu California Baptist University [biography]
  3. Mr. Timothy Gage California Baptist University
  4. Seth Truitt California Baptist University
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