ET 151 Circuits 1


ET151 CIRCUITS I C 3, P 2, CR 4

The fundamentals of DC circuit analysis are introduced. This includes the definition of various electrical quantities and their relationships. Topics include series and parallel circuits, Kirchhoff's Laws, Thevenin's Theorem, Norton, superpositioning, maximum power transfer and nodal and mesh analysis. Proper usage of laboratory equipment is stressed.

Corequisites: ET153 Introduction to Electronics, MA121 Fundamentals of College Mathematics (or MA120 where appropriate), or permission of the instructor.


Texts: Introductory Circuit Analysis 12E, R. Boylestad Prentice Hall Publishing Company
Tools: A scientific calculator with trig, exponential and polar to rectangular functions, preferably with matrix functions; small hand tools such as a wire stripper, small screwdriver, long nose pliers, and an electronic breadboard.

Laboratory Manual for DC Electrical Circuits (pdf)


The student will demonstrate a firm understanding of the behavior of DC electrical circuits.

The student will demonstrate analytical skills and insights that will be expanded and applied to more advanced circuits encountered in later courses.

The student will use a mathematical and problem solving approach for introductory circuit analysis, based on fundamental DC circuit principles and math concepts. This will include the use of computer simulations.

The student will demonstrate facility at constructing and trouble shooting basic DC circuits in the laboratory with proper use of test equipment.

The student will demonstrate the command of appropriate communication skills, particularly technical reports through the laboratory.

The student will demonstrate the ability to work as part of a technical team, particularly in the laboratory.

Course Assessment Standards



Success in this course requires a good working knowledge of algebra. This is an introductory course, and as such, it assumes that you know very little about electricity. No previous course work in electricity or electronics is required. Basic electrical concepts such as voltage, current, power, and resistance are introduced and examined for DC (direct current). Fundamental laws and relationships such as Ohm's Law and Power Law are developed. Analysis techniques include series-parallel simplification, Thevenin's, Norton's, and Superposition Theorem, and Mesh and Nodal Analysis. This is one of the most important courses you will take in the electrical sequence because it creates the foundation for all of the others. It is virtually impossible to be successful in this program without mastery of the material presented in this course. Treat it appropriately. For lab, you'll need the standard array of goodies as used throughout this program (breadboard, DMM, small handtools, hook-up leads, etc.) Unless otherwise specified, all lab exercises require a non-formal report due no later than one week after the exercise. Late penalty is one letter grade for the first half week, two letter grades for the second half week. Reports are not accepted beyond two weeks and receive a grade of 0. Remember, plagiarism is grounds for failure.

Link to the Boylestad website for more info, self-test materials, etc.

An on-line resource covering a variety of electrical circuit topics and reference material may be found at: A free on-line circuit simulator is available at

Week-by-week progress and assignments
The problem numbers are for the 12th edition of the text. If you have another edition of the text, please note that there are some changes in the problem numbers. The laboratory manual may be downloaded as a doc or pdf file at the bottom of this page.


An introduction to units, conversions, and measurement schemes. This is very important background material. Chapter 2 then introduces some basic electrical quantities and properties.

  • Reading: Chapter 1 and first half of chapter 2. Read the Science Intro Notes and the essay on the Metric System.
  • Problems: Chapter 1: 5, 15, 17, 21, 23, 25, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 41, 53. Chapter 2: 3, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19.
  • Lab: We start the semester with proper lab safety procedures, then we'll review mathematical operations and scientific calculator procedures. The first lab is The Electrical Laboratory

This week we define conductors, insulators, and semi-conductors. We also look at DC power supplies and some basic interrelationships such as Ohm's Law and introduce the concept of resistance.

  • Reading: Finsh chapter 2 and start chapter 3.
  • Problems: Chapter 2: 23, 25, 29. Chapter 3: 9, 11, 21, 23, 27.
  • Lab: DC Sources and Metering

We continue with the interrelationships and examine the concepts of energy and efficiency, as well as Power Law.

  • Reading: Finish chapter 3 and begin chapter 4.
  • Problems: Chapter 3: 41, 47. Chapter 4: 1, 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, 19, 21, 25, 29, 33, 37, 39, 41.Try the intro worksheet
  • Lab: Resistor Color Code

We finish energy and power calculations by mid-week. Once chapter 4 is finished, we will have our first test. We then launch in on chapter 5, which covers series circuits. Make sure that you at least read over the first few chapter sections before reading the lab exercise.

  • Reading: Finish chapter 4. After the test, start on chapter 5.
  • Problems: Chapter 4: 45, 53, 57. Chapter 5: 1, 3, 5, 7.
  • Lab: Ohm's Law

This week we start putting a few things together and form the simplest sort of circuits: series circuits. We also begin an examination of parallel circuits.

  • Reading: Complete chapter 5 and begin chapter 6.
  • Problems: Chapter 5: 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 21, 25, 27, 41. Chapter 6: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9.
  • Lab: Series DC Circuits

We continue with parallel circuits and by week's end, we introduce the combination series-parallel circuit in it's most basic forms. There are an infinite variety of series-parallel circuits. Do not attempt to memorize pat solution forms. Doing so will only get you into trouble later.

  • Reading: Complete chapter 6 and begin chapter 7.
  • Problems: Chapter 6: 12, 15, 17, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 31, 35. Chapter 7: 1, 5, 7, 9.
  • Lab: Parallel DC Circuits

We finish our work with basic series-parallel circuits (although we are by no means done with the topic-there are numerous circuits that will require the more sophisticated techniques presented shortly). At this point, we will have our second test.

  • Reading: Finish chapter 7.
  • Problems: 13, 15, 17, 23, 27, 29, 31.Try the first couple of problems on the series-parallel worksheet.
  • Lab: Seies-Parallel DC Circuits

The next four or so weeks will involve examination of various theorems and solution techniques. If you haven't already done so, make sure that you read through your calculator's manual and learn how to perform simultaneous equation solutions. We do chapter 9 before 8 in order to align the simulataneous equations material with math class (MA121). We begin our work with current source conversions and lead directly into theorems in chapter 9, including Thevenin's Theorem and Superposition Theorem. Note that superposition requires that the circuit be linear, thus non-linear circuits (such as those that exhibit saturation or rectification) cannot be solved using superposition. This is often forgotten by the beginning student.

  • Reading: First part of chapter 8 on source conversions, then first part of chapter 9. Read the Source Conversions Proof.
  • Problems: Chapter 8: 1, 3, 7, 13. Chapter 9: 1, 5, 9, 13.Try the final couple of problems (Superposition) on the series-parallel worksheet.
  • Lab: Ladders and Bridges

Norton's Theorem, Maximum Power Transfer Theorem, and Millman's Theorem round out our discussion.


And we're back to chapter 8, introducing branch current analysis and mesh analysis.


We spend most of this week on Nodal Analysis. Some people prefer nodal over mesh. Some people prefer mesh over nodal. Either one can be used to solve a given circuit, however, you may find that the solution of a given circuit is easier or faster using one technique in favor of the other. Time and practice will bear this out.

  • Reading: Finish chapter 8.
  • Problems: 41, 51, 57, 61. Finish the mesh-nodal worksheet.
  • Lab: Thevenin's Theorem

We finish any remaining details on network analysis and theorems. Once we finish up, we will have a test. From there, we begin a discussion of inductors.

  • Reading: Begin chapter 11.
  • Problems: 3, 5.
  • Lab: Maximum Power Transfer

We continue with inductance and at week's end, introduce magnetic circuits.

  • Reading: Complete first half of chapter 11 and begin the first part of chapter 12.
  • Problems: Chapter 11: 35, 39. Chapter 12: 5, 7, 9.Try the magnetic circuit worksheet
  • Lab: Mesh Analysis

The discussion of magnetic circuits concludes this week, and time permitting, we introduce capacitors.

  • Reading: Continue chapter 12 (throught first half), start chapter 10.
  • Problems: Chapter 11: 12, 13. Chapter 10: 3, 11.
  • Lab: Nodal Analysis


Capacitor circuits concludes our discussion for the semester. Time permitting, we have our last in-class test.

  • Reading: Finish first half of chapter 10 and section 10.13.
  • Problems: 12, 49, 53.
  • Lab: Capacitors and Inductors


Metric System Essay

Science Intro Notes

Intro Worksheet

Series-Parallel Worksheet

Source Conversions Proof

Maximum Power Transfer Proof

Series-Parallel and More Self Test

Simultaneous Equations Notes

Mesh-Nodal Worksheet

Magnetic Circuit Worksheet


Laboratory Manual for DC Electrical Circuits (doc)

Laboratory Manual for DC Electrical Circuits (pdf)

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