need a bound lab notebook for recording and
analyzing your experimental results. The
recommended lab book is a spiral-bound,
quad-ruled 8-1/2” x
11” or larger notebook
with at least 70 sheets. Your name and
laboratory section should be written on the
front cover. Leave a few pages blank for an
index. Sketches, diagrams, and simple graphs
may be drawn directly in the notebook.
However, for more detailed graphs you could
plot them using a computer, and then tape,
glue or staple the printed graphs into your
notebook. You will also need a calculator.
expected to do the lab work during your
scheduled lab period, handing in your
completed lab notebook at the end of the
period. Only under very special
circumstances, say an illness, will you be
allowed to do the lab at a time different
from your scheduled time. You
should email your TA to make arrangements
for an alternate time to do the lab. Except
in case of illness, this email should be
sent prior to the scheduled lab period.
you come into the lab with a copy of the lab
writeup. The lab writeup should be read and
studied before you come into the lab. Most
weeks there will be a worksheet that you
must complete prior to the laboratory period
and turn in at the beginning
of the laboratory. This
will be graded as part of your lab.
Lab 1: DC Instruments and
Lab 2: Oscilloscopes and AC
Lab 3: DC Circuit Theorems
Lab 4: RC, LC, and RLC Filter
Lab 5: DC and AC Bridge Circuits
Lab 6: Transient Response of a Series
Lab 7: Fourier Analysis of a Square
Lab 8: Diode Characteristics and
Lab 9: Bipolar and Field Effect
Lab 10: Single Transistor Amplifiers
Lab 11: Linear Op-Amp Circuits
Thanksgiving — no lab
Lab 12: Nonlinear Op-Amp Circuits
Lab 13: Digital Logic Circuits
Notebooks and Grading
notebooks need not be elaborate, but several
points are worth noting:
1. Your lab
notebook should be organized and well
The lab notebook should be
2. In other
words, it should be possible for another
person to read your notebook and be able to
understand what you did, without reference
to the experiment writeup.
notebook should contain a brief header on
each section that says what you’re trying to
do below. All
circuit diagrams relevant to a particular
part of the experiment should be neatly
drawn, with all necessary calculations
4. It is
important to draw circuit diagrams before
building the circuit. You
can label points on the diagram where
voltages or currents are measured and use
these labels to easily and accurately
identify recorded data.
at least once on each page, to have a
short sentence stating what you are trying
to do in the following section.
6. Read and
follow the suggestions on tabulating data
and plotting graphs which are given in the
appendix. Make sure you tape, glue or staple
all the graphs, relevant to a part of the
experiment to the page that contains work
for that part.
If this is not possible, provide page
references in both directions. Pages
will be graded out of 10 points. In grading
the lab books, the following factors will be
taken into account:
1. Is the lab
writeup neat, well organized, and well
2. How much
of the lab been completed?
3. Is the lab
writeup clear and understandable?
4. Were the
measurements done carefully, and are the
results reasonably accurate?
5. Are the
tables and graphs well organized, and do
they contain all the relevant information?
6. Have you
explained how the various quantities were
measured and shown how the analysis was
7. Are the
conclusions briefly but clearly stated?
mind that your overall understanding of the
material in the lab is of equal importance
to your lab notebook: try to learn
something. I will help you learn and
Most of all, don’t worry too much
about the grades (unless you are losing more
than 50% of the grade). Labs
are designed for interactive learning. You
will have as much opportunity as you need to
ask questions and receive help. Finally,
the labs! Physics is an experimental
science: make it yours. Suggestions
for improving the labs are always welcome.
MORE NOTES ON NOTEBOOKS
too much. You don't
need to put in extensive discussions of the
theory or "purpose'' of the experiment.
Equipment lists are not required in this lab.
words — More Pictures!
write anything on scrap paper. Do scratch
calculations in your notebook. You can cross
them out later (or reserve the left hand page
everywhere for scratch calculations etc.). If
you bring in some work you prepared outside
(eg derivation of an equation, circuit
diagram etc ), then tape it
in your notebook as soon as your get to
should always always
ALWAYS have a circuit diagram of the
circuit you are working on. (If you wish you
can Xerox the one from the write-up and tape
it in.) You should always get the circuit
diagram in your notebook first,
then build the circuit — following the
diagram. (If you are using Integrated Circuits
("ICs''), then put the IC pin numbers on the
wiring the circuit.)
about circuit symbols you don't recognize.
Measuring instruments are not usually shown.
(It is assumed that you are close enough to
the ideal case where the instrument does not
perturb the circuit - make careful note of
what you did when this is not the case.) You
can show the point where a meter or scope is
connected — see 7. below.
5. Signals go generally left to
right. Power supply line at the top,
ground at the bottom (except for push-pull
circuits, where ground is in center,
positive supply at the top and negative
supply at the bottom). Wires are just
lines. Crossing lines do not
imply an electrical connection
unless the intersection is enhanced by a
large solid dot.
6. Typical Ground
often have more than one kind of ground — then
the distinction between these may be
important. Until then — don't worry about it.
you wish to refer to the voltage at a
particular point in the circuit, then just
label it. Then you need only use the label.
Note that the voltages are always potential differences
between two points. Whenever
there is a reference to the "voltage at a
point'', it is implied that this is the
from the circuit ground,
which is usually marked with one of the above
plotting graphs, be sure to label the axes
appropriately, to put the measurements on the
graph as discrete data points (do not
“connect the dots”), and to plot a theoretical
or notional fit, where applicable, as a
(The idea is that you only know the
measurements where you took them, but in
principle you could calculate the model for
any point — even if you actually only
calculated it at a few discrete points, you know
from the formula that it will go smoothly