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 and MA121 Fundamentals of College Mathematics (or alternate math courses MA122, MA125, MA150 or MA151).


Text: DC Electrical Circuit Analysis: A Practical Approach, James M. Fiore, a free OER text:  PDF   ODT   HTML   PRINT
Tools: A scientific calculator with trig, exponential and polar to rectangular functions, preferably with simultaneous equation solution capability; small hand tools such as a wire stripper, small screwdriver, long nose pliers, and an electronic breadboard.

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

Video: See the DC Electrical Circuit Analysis playlist on my YouTube channel: ElectronicsWithProfessorFiore 


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. 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. 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 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.

Check out my free books page for free circuit simulators and other OER (Open Educational Resources).

Week-by-week progress and assignments.


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. 
  • Problems: Chapter 1: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25. 
  • Video: Introduction, Scientific Notation, and Electrical Fundamental Part 1 from the DC Electrical Circuit Analysis playlist.
  • 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 basic quantities such as current, energy, voltage and power. We also examine basic interrelationships such as Ohm's law and power law.

  • Reading: Start chapter 2.
  • Problems: Chapter 2: 1, 3, 5, 7,  9, 11, 13, 15, 19, 21, 27, 29, 55.
  • Video: Electrical Fundamental Part 2 and Sources, Grounds & Battery Life from the DC Electrical Circuit Analysis playlist.
  • Lab: DC Sources and Metering

We introduce concepts such as efficiency and continue with the interrelationships. We also examine resistance, conductance and laboratory instrumentation.


We finish energy and power calculations by mid-week. We then launch in on chapter 3, which covers series circuits. Make sure that you at least read over the first few chapter sections before reading the lab exercise.


This week we start putting a few things together and form the simplest sort of circuits: series circuits. Around here we will have our first test. We also begin an examination of parallel circuits.

  • Reading: Complete chapter 3 and start chapter 4.
  • Problems: Chapter 3: 13, 15, 19, 21, 23, 25, 29, 31, 35, 37, 39, 43, 49, 59.  Chapter 4: 1, 5, 7, 9.
  • Video: Voltage Divider Rule, Parallel Resistors, Parallel Circuits Part 1 from the DC Electrical Circuit Analysis playlist.
  • Lab: Series DC Circuits

We continue with parallel circuits and by week's end, we introduce the combination series-parallel circuit in its 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 4 and start chapter 5.
  • Problems: Chapter 4: 11, 15, 17, 19, 27, 29, 31, 35, 37. Chapter 5: 1, 5, 13.
  • Video: Parallel Circuits Part 2, Series-Parallel Circuits Part 1 from the DC Electrical Circuit Analysis playlist.
  • 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). 


The next three 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 begin our work with current source conversions and lead directly into theorems, 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.


Norton's theorem and maximum power transfer theorem  round out our discussion of theorems. At week's end we introduce mesh and nodal analysis from chapter 7. We will start with nodal analysis. 


In chapter 7, we work through nodal analysis and mesh analysis, first using the general approach and secondarily using the format approach. 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. Around here we will have our second test.


We finish any remaining details on network analysis and theorems, including dependent sources. Once we finish up, we launch into a discussion of reactive components, beginning with capacitors.


We continue with capacitance and at week's end, introduce transient response.


The discussion of RC circuits concludes this week and we introduce inductors.


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

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