University of Alabama at Birmingham
Electrical Engineering Students

revised April 3, 2012
Professor Kenneth A. Kuhn

This is the main page for students in Professor Kuhn's EE351 and EE431/EE531 classes at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
UAB Student Academic Page For convenience this is a direct link to the UAB student academic page and has a link to the final exam schedule.
UAB E&CE Intranet This is a direct link to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Intranet site. 
BlazerNet Login Screen          (init, cs1) This is a quick link to the BlazerNet login.
EE351 Information This page has specific class information, the text material, and the laboratory exercises.
EE431 / EE531 Information This page has specific class information, the text material, and the laboratory exercises.
Information, Policies, etc.
Profile of your Instructor Your instructor is on the adjunct faculty and has been employed doing electronic circuit design for over thirty years.
Email Contact Info Feel free to email your instructor with questions, etc. anytime.  Unless it is extremely urgent, email is probably the best method as I check it often. 
General Information Instructor contact information, if a class is canceled, and anti-cheating policies.
Test Rules and Policies  All of the things to be aware of and consider when taking a test.  There is a strict electronic devices policy.
How Grades are Computed The raw calculation, round-up, earned low-grade forgiveness, scaling, etc.
Lab Equipment Manual Links  Here is information on the lab equipment you have in the electronics lab.
Resources for Students

The following links contain useful information for students that may be helpful in my classes or any endeavor.  I plan to add more as time permits.

IEEE Potentials published an essay I wrote, "An Engineering Career begins with Childhood Inspiration".

Go to this link and search for IEEE Potentials, Volume 31, 2012, Issue 3, pages 8-9

Sources for electronic parts This link has a number of good sources for electronic, mechanical, optical, etc. parts for student projects.  This is a short list now but I will be adding to it as I have time. This link has a wide variety of electronics information for students and engineers alike.  Material is always being added to the site so check back often.

Note that there in an underscore rather than a space in the file names below.
esymbols_logic.vss -- includes negative logic and common TTL
esymbols_cmos.vss (coming soon)
esymbols_common_ics (coming soon, short list now but will be growing)

esymbols.pdf  (a print out of all the symbols -- coming soon)
example_schematics.vsd (coming soon)
Visio Stencil Files for drawing small schematic diagrams:

This is a set of electronic schematic symbol shape stencils for Visio useful for small and simple diagrams for reports, etc.  I will be using these as I update hand drawings in class notes and labs.  I developed these myself to my specifications because I do not like the standard symbol set.  I will add more to these as I have time.  Put the .vss files in your My Shapes folder and from Visio go to File | Shapes | My Shapes and select the particular file(s) (you can have more than one active at a time) and load.  The shapes will appear on the left side of the screen.  Any symbol can be dragged and dropped onto your drawing.

Visio can make great drawings but the stupid wizards in it keep guessing what you are doing and make geometry decisions for you (or should I say "to you").  I hate software like this where the "help" is worse than nothing and it takes longer to do something than it should. Visio would be really great if it could function more like a real CAD system.  The following tips should help.
*  Use U.S. Imperial drawing page with fixed grid set at 0.0625 inches.
*  Tightening the Snap pixel widths generally helps -- Visio is bad about snapping to any place except where you want to.
*  Do your drawings zoomed in a lot as snapping is too coarse when viewing the whole page.  Snapping works well when set properly.
*  Skip the Routing Tool (I omitted connector points on the symbols because experiments with that tool went badly -- I had too much "help" with "smart" routing).  Use regular lines instead.
*  The signal lines on the symbols are drawn with the second line weight so use that when drawing lines. This is a link to a java circuit simulator that runs in the browser.
The Science of Design   This article illustrates the mathematics of design.  Design is not some magical power.
Introduction to Design Reviews   This article introduces the concepts of design reviews with an emphasis on preparing for faculty reviews of a senior project.
Introduction to H-bridges You will need this if you are going to drive a DC motor in some sort of robotic project.

Introduction to line tracking (coming when I have time)  Students often make this more difficult than it need be.

How to do a project (coming when I have time) Students often start a project the wrong way and the rush to show progress does not help.  Bad decisions are made and time is wasted.  This note is about a number of philosophical points that need to be understood.

Note: Go to the Electronics page on this web site for general electronics information for engineers and students.  There are a number of articles that could be useful such as filter design, PID servo, etc.  I add more as time permits.
These are links to documents that may be useful for senior design projects.  I will be adding to this list as time permits and based on questions from students.
s plane summary

Frequency Response in s
s-plane summary
International Units Notes on the International System of Units applied to electronic quantities.
Standard Component Values Standard 5% component values for resistors, capacitors, and inductors.  The sequence is based on 24 values per decade.
Standard 1% Resistor Values Standard 1% resistor values as derived from the 96 values per decade.
Crystal Radio Engineering    This is a collection of articles written by Prof. Kuhn that forms a text book concerning crystal radios that should be very useful to EE421 students doing a crystal radio project.  Each article (or chapter) focuses on the type of engineering research that engineering students should become accustomed to doing.  There is a lot of data and information and the mathematical basis for designing an excellent crystal radio. Also, see the link below for more information on Crystal Radios.
This is a link to some great technical articles on electronic circuits written by Ramon Vargas who teaches at a university in Peru.  Many of the pdf articles near the bottom of the link are in English so do not let the Spanish you will initially see scare you away.  Even those articles that are in Spanish are highly mathematical and since math is the universal language you can easily tell what is going on.  Definitely check these out.  The information in these articles is of the sort that is hard to find but highly useful.  The other link is the personal web site of Ramon Vargas and has more very informative articles about electronics.  I highly recommend these two web sites!  You will find a lot of additional information about Crystal Radios.
Thermal lecture notes

Aavid-Thermalloy web site

Heat sink selection guide

These links contain various information concerning thermal calculations and the use of heat sinks.
Electronics Information This is a link to another portion of this web site that has a variety of information students may find useful.  Controls students will find a lot of practical information in the PID C file.
A Guide for Finding a Job  Many students have asked me for advice in finding a job after graduation.  I thought it would be a good idea to write my thoughts down.  This is a work in progress and I am posting the draft here so that students can read it and ask more questions about things I did not include.  Feel free to email me with any questions or comments and I will make additions and revisions.
Editorials Related to Education
The following are straight talk minus moronic political correctness.  Some readers used to nicey-nice talk may be offended.  Like it or not, these are things you need to understand if you are going to succeed in life.
The State of Education Today and the American Dream New EE351 students should read this first.  I was going to present this in class but we do not have the time.  In the name of "helping" you the socialists have rigged the education system for you to fail in life by falling into their trap which ends up enriching them.  You can defeat the socialists and succeed in life by being a good student.
Things Students Should be Aware of These are lifetime observations by your instructor concerning education and students in general.
A Brief Sermon on Education  I wrote this following the academic disaster that occurred in my Fall, 2002, Electronics class.  There were five F's and seven D's in a class of about 25 students.
The Quality of Students Today  Contrary to popular belief, the quality of good students today is as good as that of good students years ago.  Read to learn about the real difference today.
Student and Life Observations Here are some various observations on students of all schools and life in general I have made over the years.
A (politically incorrect) Commencement Address If I were ever asked to give a commencement address, this is what it would be.  There is no danger of me being asked.
StoryCorps: Inspirational Story This is a link to an inspirational and heart warming story that takes place in the 1940s about a young black student whose father wanted him to carry on the family cotton farm.  But he wanted to go to college instead.  He only had ten dollars but a lot of spirit.  Listen to him tell his story about how he made it through college.  It is only about three minutes.  This is a classic story about results versus excuses.
Story Corps: Daughter Becomes mechanical Engineer This is a link to an interesting short story (about 3 minutes) about a family of engineers.  The young daughter decided to become a mechanical engineer.  Her father resisted initially but then fully supported her.