ECE Fundamentals 1

Developed in collaboration with the University of Virginia, the Fundamentals series redefines how the core electrical and computer engineering topics of circuits, electronics, and signals and systems are taught with an innovative, breadth-first approach. They follow a systematic approach that gradually deepens a student's understanding while keeping individual laboratories manageable. These labs make extensive use of the capabilities of the NI VirtualBench and allow experiential lab work to be performed in studio-style lecture rooms. Fundamentals 1 covers virtually all topics that might be found at the first level of electrical and computer engineering.
by The University of Virginia


  • Students will explore the theory behind various circuits and electronics applications at an introductory level
  • Students will complete exercises to simulate, create, and test circuits with specific analysis methods such as nodal analysis, superposition, and Thevenin Equivalents


Level University
Topic Introduction to Electrical Engineering
Style Laboratory
Prerequisite Skills None


This lab serves as an introduction to the laboratory environment. The goal of this lab is to provide an introductory walkthrough of basic laboratory procedures, tools, circuit components, and equipment.
This is a design lab that explores the ins and outs of one of the core electrical circuits: the voltage divider. This lab teaches students to consider constraints and develop the appropriate approach to solving a circuit.
Diving deeper into concepts of circuit analysis, this lab focuses on nodal analysis through KCL (Kirchhoffs Current Law) to calculate circuit characteristics.
This lab delineates some of the different types of resistive sensors and further develops the student's understanding of circuit element concepts. A thermistor, photoconductive cell, and potentiometer are introduced as various forms of resistive components
The following lab plays a large part in simplifying larger circuits. Thevenin and Norton equivalent circuits are a reduced representation of a circuit through an equivalent single source and impedance.
Digital to Analog Conversion is a lab that draws comparisons between the digital and analog world. In the lab, students use DC sources to create several different node voltages in order to simulate an analog output
Introducing capacitors and AC (alternating current) sources in Resisistor-Capacitor (RC) circuits, this lab covers an array of concepts such as time constants, low and high pass filters, and cut-off frequencies.
A fundamental element of the circuit is the operational amplifier (op amp). Used for several functions, such as derivin, integrating, filtering, and inverting and non-inverting amplifying, the op amp has a set of unique characteristics that allow for simple design while providing high gain.
A non-linear component, the diode is often found in circuits as a discrete component, an LED, or even as part of BJT and MOSFET configurations. This lab explores how to use a diode, the electrical characteristics of a diode, as well as the typical diode I-V Curve.
When dealing with a circuit, a Fourier Series, or Fourier Analysis, can portray many of the circuits characteristics by looking at the output signal. Often times a Fast Fourier Transform is used to see how a circuit functions over a wide frequency range. This is applied commonly when dealing with filters and can be invaluable for filter design, reading bode plots, and understanding the concept of a phasor.
In this lab, students learn to build an analog summing amplifier that adds multiple sources using an inverting amplifier in order to get a summed output.
In this lab, students will configure op-amps in an integrator configuration to solve differential equations.
This lab works through a circuit made up of a series of three sub-circuits that students have seen before by breaking down each one into their basic parts. Students learn to identify circuits within a larger circuit, allowing them to understand how each circuit influences the next.
This final project has students creating a four-input, equally-weighted, summing amplifier. Students will be introduced to the process of creating a PCB and optimizing circuit designs for manufacturing.


Multisim is a circuit simulation tool built for educators to teach analog, digital, and power electronics by connecting simulation to experimentation. 


VirtualBench All-in-One Instruments offer efficient circuit design, debugging, and validation by combining a mixed-signal oscilloscope, a function generator, a digital multimeter, a DC power supply, and digital I/O into a PC- or iPad-connected device.

Required Software

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  • Multisim 14.0 or later (Requires license)

Required Hardware

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