The objective of the laboratory is to teach the fundamentals of computer technology and to build experience in design by example and exercise. This will give the scientist or engineer the ability to custom design and assemble hardware and software systems for data acquisition, data analysis and process control applications. The objectives are summarized as follows:

  1. To teach computer fundamentals.
  2. To provide practice in design and problem solving.
  3. To provide practice in project management and documentation (report writing).

In the rapidly changing world of computers, there is much to learn and not sufficient time to cover it all. The laboratory follows the belief that there is little that should be committed to memory. Understanding is the key to learning. Secondly, learning is achieved by doing. In other words, by doing the exercises and understanding what you are doing, we hope that you may go away with the confidence and satisfaction that you have learnt something.

Topics to be covered

Term I

Term II


The labs are located in Burke Sciences Building, Room B157. Attendance is compulsory, once a week from 2:30 to 5:20 p.m., on the afternoon that you have been assigned. Reasons for absence from a lab session must be submitted in writing to the laboratory Teaching Assistant. There is no provision for "make-up labs" at any other times besides your assigned lab period. Switching to another lab day will not be allowed without prior permission from the TA.

The laboratory exercises are designed to help students understand, experiment with and explore fundamentals of digital systems. Students are encouraged to attempt all of the suggested exercises or to pursue related topics on their own. Each student is required to have a laboratory note book into which all lab related notes, rough work, design ideas, drawings and exercises are recorded. Note books will be reviewed from time to time and marked at the end of term.

The Physics Note Book (black - WPH 190) with graph paper and blank pages is required.

The purpose of your Note Book is to promote and develop good habits in note taking. All rough work, notes, exercises, etc. should be recorded and dated in your note book. All work conducted in the lab must be recorded while doing the lab exercise and not at some later time.

Students must develop the habit of recording information as observed. For example, a time duration measured on the oscilloscope and determined to be 12.5 ms may have been observed and thus recorded as 2.5 div × 5 ms/div = 12.5 ms.

A capacitor with a marked value of n10 or a resistor with the colour code yellow-purple-red-gold should thus be recorded until you are quite confident with the code conversion. Recording information in this manner will give you the opportunity to correct mistakes that might have occurred due to erroneous transcription.

Project reports are to be submitted separately and must be produced from a computer printer.

About the Lab Manual

This manual has been completely rewritten in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) in order to take advantage of web browsers. Using a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, one has the ability to connect sections via links or to search for words and phrases. Other advantages are reduced cost, less paper wasted, and access from the computer or internet. Because this information is being distributed on CD-ROM, many more substantial documents, data books and programming examples have been included.

All HTML files were created using Symantec Visual Page Version 2.0. Drawings were created with Corel Presentation Version 8.0. Photographs were recorded using a Sony MVC-FD7 digital camera. Data sheets were scanned using Corel PhotoHouse Version 1.1.

Device data sheets supplied by manufacturers are in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to be viewed. If you wish to install Version 4.0 on your computer, uninstall any older version first. Then go to the folder named Adobe on the CD-ROM and open the file called ar40eng.exe.

At the time of writing, tests were conducted using the following software packages:

Because of the nature of the material and the relatively large amount of text, splashy web pages have been avoided. Colour and images are used sparsely except where it is felt they can be beneficial. Links to relevant sections are used to ease navigation. Using your browser's forward and backward buttons will also assist you in navigating through the material. Technical terms that are of importance are highlighted in bold typeface when they appear for the first time or when being defined. For the time being these are not links but someday may be linked to a glossary and index.

Bug Report

The following are known problems as of 2000 Sep 08.

1. Photos in JPG format not drawn correctly on 4D6 Lab computers.


1999.08.30 - These have been removed to save disk space.

2000.09.08 - Now available on upgraded 4D6 computers.

2. WP MathA font not available on 4D6 Lab computers. Characters affected are LTE (appears as #), GTE (appears as $), OR, XOR.

Status: Not fixed.

3. Overline type style not displayed, thus negated symbols are not shown as negated.


2000.09.08 - Displayed correctly on upgraded 4D6 computers.

4. Graphics not placed correctly

in Lecture Notes - Chapter 3 - Fundamental Devices and Lab Manual Chapter 5.

occurs with Internet Communicator 4.51.

Status: Not fixed.


The Art of Electronics, Paul Horowitz & Winfield Hill, TK7815.H67 1980, ISBN 0-521-23151-5

Digital Design, M. Morris Mano, TK 7888.3.M343 1984

Logic and Computer Design Fundamentals, M. Morris Mano, TK 7888.4.M36 1997

Digital Fundamentals, Thomas L. Floyd, TK 7868.D5 F53, ISBN 0-13-094200-6

Microcontroller Technology: The 68HC11, Peter Spasov, TJ223.M53S63 1999, ISBN 0-13-901240-0

Data Acquisition and Process Control with the M68HC11 Microcontroller, Driscoll, Coughlin, Villanucci, TS156.8.D75 1994, ISBN 0-02-330555-X

The Personal Computer from the Inside Out, Murray Sargent & Richard Shoemaker, QA76.5S21774, ISBN 0-201-62646-2

The TTL Data Book, Texas Instruments, TK7874.5.T87 1988 (Ref.)

The TTL Data Book Vol. 2, Texas Instruments, TK7871.89.L6T48 (Ref.)