ES 291 Electrical Circuits

(If you are an instructor, feel free to use this page as a guide for your own DC/AC engineering circuits course)



This course presents a calculus-based introduction to linear circuit analysis for Engineering Science majors. Topics include electrical laws, quantities, and DC and AC circuits. Analysis techniques include mesh and nodal approaches, Thevenin, Norton, superposition, and source transformation, as well as phasor analysis. Balanced three-phase and transformer circuits are presenteded, analysis techniques are discussed, and computer-based simulation tools are introduced.

Corequisites: MA253 Analytical Geometry and Calculus 3, PH26 Engineering Physics 2


Texts: Electrical Circuits 10E, James Nilsson, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company
Tools: An electronic protoboard/breadboard and a scientific calculator with trig, exponential and polar to rectangular functions, preferably with simultaneous equation solution capability.

Laboratory Manual for DC Electrical Circuit Analysis, James M. Fiore (OER):  PDF   ODT   HTML  PRINT 
Laboratory Manual for AC Electrical Circuit Analysis, James M. Fiore (OER):  PDF   ODT   HTML  PRINT

Supporting Texts:
DC Electrical Circuit Analysis: A Practical Approach, James M. Fiore, a free OER text:  PDF   ODT  HTML  PRINT
AC Electrical Circuit Analysis: A Practical Approach, James M. Fiore, a free OER text:  PDF   ODT  HTML  PRINT

Video: See the AC and DC Electrical Circuit Analysis playlists on my YouTube channel: ElectronicsWithProfessorFiore 

Course Assessment Standards



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) and AC (alternating 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 theorems; and mesh and nodal analysis. A good scientific calculator with simultaneous equation solution capability will be of great use and is strongly recommended. Further, smart devices will not be allowed during tests. Unless otherwise specified, all lab exercises require a technical 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.

An on-line resource covering a variety of electrical circuit topics and reference material may be found at: Check out my home page for free circuit simulators and other OER (Open Educational Resources).

Week-by-week progress and assignments (note that the problems are found in the OER texts, not the Nilsson text, unless stated otherwise)


We begin with an introduction to electrical quantities such as charge, current, voltage, power, resistance, conductance and impedance. We define voltage and current sources, both independent and dependent.

  • Reading: Chapter 1 and start chapter 2. Check out the Concise Introduction to TINA prior to our first lab.
  • Problems: We begin with the DC Electrical Circuit Analysis text for practice problems. DC chapter 2: 7, 11, 13, 15, 17, 21, 23, 25, 27. 
  • Lab: We start the semester with proper lab safety procedures and then we'll review technical report requirements. The first lab is The Electrical Laboratory and DC Sources and Metering (exercises for weeks one through nine are found in the DC Lab Manual)

We look at basic interrelationships such as Ohm's law, power law and Kirchhoff's laws, and begin series circuits.

  • Reading: Finsh chapter 2 and start chapter 3.
  • Problems: DC chapter 2: 53, 55, 57; DC chapter 3: 9, 19, 23, 33, 35, 43, 46, 49,  53, 56, 59, 62. Try the Intro Self Test
  • Lab: Ohm's Law and Series DC Circuits

We continue with the interrelationships and examine parallel and series-parallel networks for the DC case.

  • Reading: Finish chapter 3, read the Delta-Y Conversions Proof.
  • Problems: DC chapter 4: 7, 13, 15, 19, 29, 35, 39, 42, 47; DC chapter 5: 5, 13, 15, 19, 25, 29, 39, 45.
  • Lab: Parallel DC Circuits

We finish our discussion of basic series-parallel networks for the DC case and introduce the concept of source conversions.


We begin network analysis techniques, namely mesh and nodal analysis.

  • Reading: Complete chapter 4 through section 9. Refresh your brain by reading the notes on Simultaneous Equations.
  • Problems: DC chapter 7: 3, 11, 15, 19, 23, 27, 43, 47, 51, 59, 63, 71. Try the DC Mesh-Nodal Self Test.
  • Lab: Nodal Analysis

We continue with network analysis including superposition. We also introduce Thevenin's theorem and maximum power transfer theorem.


We finish our work involving the analysis of resistive DC circuits. At this point, we will have our midterm test.

  • Reading: Study for midterm!
  • Problems: DC chapter 6: 65 with 94, 53 with 92. 
  • Lab: Superposition Theorem

We begin discussion of reactive circuit elements, namely inductors and capacitors.

  • Reading: Chapter 6.
  • Problems:  AC chapter 1: 7, 11, 27, 29, 33, 35, 37, 39. 
  • Lab: Thevenin's Theorem

We continue our discussion of inductors and capacitors, and investigate the natural and step responses.

  • Reading:  Chapters 7 and 8. Read the derivation of the Natural Response of Capacitors.
  • Problems: DC chapter 7: 1, 3, 9, 11, 13, 17, 23. DC chapter 8: 1, 3, 5, 15, 23, 29. 
  • Lab: Maximum Power Transfer

We begin sinusoidal steady state analysis. We begin with a review of complex numbers and consider polar, rectangular and exponential formats.

  • Reading: Begin chapter 9. Check out the Sine Wave Notes and also read the notes on Fourier Analysis and Overtones.
  • Problems:  We shift to the AC Electrical Circuit Analysis text for practice problems. AC chapter 2: 5, 7.
  • Lab:  Basic RL and RC Circuits (all lab exercises from here on are in the AC Lab Manual)

We introduce the concept of phasors.We introduce steady state sinusoidal excitation of RLC circuits. When this is completed, we will have our second test.

  • Reading: Complete chapter 9. Read the Parallel-Series Transform Proofs.
  • Problems: AC chapter 2: 9, 11, 33, 39,49, 66; AC chapter 3: 13, 21, 27, 33, 39, 43; AC chapter 4: 9, 13, 19.  
  • Lab: The Oscilloscope

We continue steady state sinusoidal excitation of RLC circuits. This includes the power triangle, power factor and maximum power transfer for the AC case. 

  • Reading: Start chapter 10.
  • Problems: AC chapter 5: 7, 17, 21, 29, 33, 41, 53, 57, 77; AC chapter 6: 1, 13, 23, 31, 41, 45.
  • Lab: Series RLC Circuits

We examine sinusoidal steady state power calculations including instantaneous power, RMS value, "complex" power, and the like.


We examine balanced three phase circuits and transformers.

  • Reading: Chapter 11.
  • Problems: AC chapter 9: 1, 3, 9, 15; DC chapter 10: 15, 17, 22, 23.
  • Lab: AC Maximum Power Transfer, Passive Crossover, or Loudspeaker Impedance Model depending on class interest.

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