EE Science II Laboratory #5
RC Circuits and Time Constants
All electronic circuits have some resistance and some capacitance. The resistance and capacitance seen at the input of
an electronic system controls how quickly that system can respond to a change to the signal being applied to the
system, e.g. when the input signal is changing from a 0 to a 1. The characteristic time response is generally referred
to as the time constant or rise time.
In this laboratory you will measure the behavior of RC circuits, determine the time constant of a given RC circuit
using an oscilloscope, and investigate some common applications of RC circuits. You will start by building a first
order series RC circuit and measuring the charging and discharging of the capacitor. The charging and discharging
curves will be measured by providing a pulsed DC input to your RC circuit and measuring the voltage across the
capacitor using an oscilloscope. The pulsed DC input will be generated using a function generator. You will compare
the measured output to the values calculated in the pre-lab and determine the time constant from the oscilloscope
display. You will also measure the behavior of the circuit given different input waveforms and frequencies and
investigate applications such as low pass filters, timing circuits, integrators and differentiators in an optional section
of the lab.
For this lab you will need to use the procedure from Lab 3 and it is recommended that you review the same before the
lab session. The procedures of this lab will be used in Lab 6.
Use an oscilloscope to measure charging and discharging of the voltage on a capacitor in an RC circuit.
Determine the time constant of the RC network using an oscilloscope
Study the behavior of RC circuits such as low pass filters, timing circuits, integrators, and differentiators
Equipment and Software
Resistor, R = 2.2 kΩ, and C = 1 μF
University of South Florida
EEL3472C: EE SCIENCE II - EM
Lab: __#___Title:__(10 pt font)_____
Name: ____(10 pt font) ________
Lab Partner(s):__(10 pt font)__________
SUMMARY OF RESULTS AND DISCUSSION (PARAGRAPH STYLE , 12 PT FONT, SINGLE SPACE )
In this section, you should summarize and analyze your results. In other words, tell me what you
learned and what the results mean to you.
Things to avoid:
Don’t write EVERY step you did in class (I connected the function generator to the
oscilloscope, then I turned it on…etc)
Do not rewrite the lab manuscript
Things to include
Knowledge about the equipment and attachments (Eg: “Channel 1 of the oscilloscope is
connected across the input of the circuit and channel 2 across the capacitor. The
configuration allows you to compare the output with the input.”)
Understand results (what each or group of values mean to you)
If there are too many results you can create a table
Graphs and equations are also acceptable (reference them in your text)
Guide me though the whole lab exercise using your own words and understanding
Something in the lab that you did not understand or results not clear to you
EXPERIMENTAL QUESTIONS (PARAGRAPH STYLE , 12 PT FONT, SINGLE SPACE )
Answer/complete any additional questions asked during/ at the end of the lab experiment
LAB IMPROVEMENTS (THIS IS OPTIONAL , BUT HELP US IMPROVE THE LABS!)
Tell us what went wrong and what can be done to avoid those mistakes in the future
Mention any lab procedures that were confusing
Minimum of 1/2 page written (be creative, I don’t want to see reports less than one full page)
Maximum of 1 page written (include figures/graphs/tables on extra pages)
Body Format: font size - 12pt (Times New Roman), Spacing - Single
This post lab report must be stapled on the front of the completed lab experience. Additionally, a
copy of this report must be submitted online via canvas (you do not have to submit the
completed lab experience online).
Maximum grade of 50% (5/10) if signed lab experience not included.
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