Physics 234:  Digital Electronics (MW section)

Fall 2017

Jed Brody (N308, 7-5580,






Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.

—Mr. Spock 



In digital electronics, voltages are restricted to just two values, represented as 0 and 1.  Amazingly, combinations of these two numbers govern all modern technology.  This course introduces combinational and sequential logic.  Students will acquire and apply a detailed understanding of all of the following:  Boolean algebra, K maps, combinational circuits including multiplexers and arithmetic logic units, sequential circuits containing flip-flops and counters, and circuits that transmit and receive serial data.  Students will develop skills in Verilog, a hardware description language used in industry to implement circuits containing thousands or millions of logic gates.  


            Grades will be determined as follows:


            Project 1:  due October 18                                           25%

            Project 2:  due December 8                                          25%

            Test 1, Test 2                                                               25% each


Click here for the lab manual.


Statement from the Department of Physics:  We are all here in this class for the same reason:  to learn physics.  It is unacceptable to judge your fellow students by gender, race, or anything else.  Please treat your classmates with respect both in and out of the classroom.  If you have any concerns please talk with the teacher or the department chair, Prof. Eric Weeks. 

DateTopicsBook chaptersClass activity
Aug. 23Logic gates1, 2.1Lab 1
Aug. 28Boolean algebra2.2, 3.1Lab 1
Aug. 30Implementing truth tables2.3, 2.4Lab 2
Sept. 6Transistors4.1, 4.4Lab 2
Sept. 11K maps3.2Lab 3
Sept. 13Binary arithmeticAppendix BLab 3
Sept. 18Multiplexers5.1Lab 4
Sept. 207-segment displays5.2Lab 4
Sept. 25Shifters and comparators5.3, 6.3Lab 5
Sept. 27Adders and subtractors6.1, 6.2Lab 5
Oct. 2TEST 1:  Combinational logic
Oct. 4Glitches and latches7.1, Example 11Project 1
Oct. 11Flip-flops7.1Project 1
Oct. 16Counters7.4Project 1
Oct. 18Clock dividersExample 52Lab 6
Oct. 23Switch debouncersExamples 47, 48Lab 6
Oct. 25Multiplexing displaysExample 14Lab 6
Oct. 30Moore machines8.1, 8.2Lab 7
Nov. 1Mealy machines8.3Lab 7
Nov. 6Receive serial dataLab 7
Nov. 8Transmit serial dataLab 8
Nov. 13Transmit multiple bytesLab 8
Nov. 15Receive data in PythonLab 8
Nov. 20TEST 2:  Sequential logic
Nov. 27Memory11Lab 9
Nov. 29Microprocessorsde Pablo et al.Lab 9
Dec. 4Instruction setsde Pablo et al.Project 2
Textbook:  Haskell and Hanna, Digital Design Using Digilent FPGA Boards—Verilog/Active-HDL Edition, Second Edition, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9801337-7-6.


Supplemental texts:


Cole, Real Digital.  Free ebook published by Digilent.

de Pablo et al., "A very simple 8-bit RISC processor for FPGA."  Contains complete Verilog instructions for a microprocessor.

PicoBlaze 8-bit Embedded Microcontroller User Guide.  Of possible interest to students with a strong background in computer science.

Vonk, IntroGuide to FPGA's