Basic Electronics

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your accredited online learning program includes ten Instruction Sets designed to take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you’ll employ in your new career in Electronics.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted, and other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Note: Graduates of this program also earn 12 college credits toward an Associate Degree in Industrial Electronics and Electrical Maintenance Technology or 3 credits toward an Associate Degree in Engineering Technology at Penn Foster College.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

Here is an overview of what you’ll learn and the order in which you’ll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: The program provides students with the necessary skills for entry into the field of electronics. Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible to sit for the Electronics Technicians Associations (ETA) International Certification Exam.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Identify the important functions, terms, tools, and skills used in various roles in the basic electronics field and the benefits of certifications and professional affiliations
  • Identify the fundamental concepts of electricity, electrical symbols used in schematic diagrams, and the nature of electricity and how we use it
  • Describe the difference between conductors and resistors and cells and batteries, circuit analysis, and Ohm’s law with essential calculations
  • Discern how to use electronics equipment including multimeters, soldering equipment, ohmmeters, and different types of switches and relays
  • Summarize the properties and applications of magnetism, electromagnetism, and electromagnetic induction, various types and usage of capacitors and inductors, and basic functions of diodes and transistors
  • Summarize the various properties of alternating current (AC), functions of capacitors and inductors in AC and DC circuits, different types of transformers, and their functions
  • Distinguish the functions, behaviors, and some applications of resonant circuits (RC)
  • Identify the functions and operations of advanced electronic components including rectifiers, power supplies, amplifiers, oscillators, optoelectronic and fiber-optic components
  • Discern the use of electronic components as sensors and as parts in instrumentation and control systems, modulation and detection circuits, electronic devices and amplification in industrial electronic systems, and the basic controls and functions of an oscilloscope
  • Describe the types of transmission media such as audio frequency (AF), radio frequency (RF), and direct current (DC) signal transmission as well as the role of oscillators and power sources of electrical and electronic systems

Instruction Set 1 (Delivered Online Only)

Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. Understand how to use your Student Portal. Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers. Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

Introduction to Electronics
In this introduction to basic electronics, you'll start with an orientation to online learning. This will help you to identify important tools and study aids to assist you in completing your online coursework.

The first lesson in your electronics program will explore the fascinating world of technology that’s made possible by modern electronics. You’ll take a look at the important electronics terms that you should know, and you’ll review the use of specialized tools and measuring instruments that are used in this industry. As you master the basics presented in this lesson, you’ll build the foundation of knowledge that you’ll need to progress through the more in-depth lessons later in the program. You'll also learn about some of the job opportunities that will be available to you in the electronics field as well as the skills that you’ll need to qualify for them.

Objectives:

  • Identify tools and resources for a successful online learning program
  • Describe important functions, terms, tools, and skills used in basic electronics

Instruction Set 2

Nature of Electricity
In this course, you'll learn all about the nature of electricity, starting with the operation of a simple circuit. You'll learn about the dangers and benefits of static electricity and study the flow of electricity as you learn the difference between direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC).

You'll be introduced to resistors and relays and learn the difference between a series and a parallel circuit. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Describe the nature of electrical current and the properties of resistance
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aids:

  • Electronics Practice Kit 1
  • Resistor Color Guide

Instruction Set 3

Conductors and Resistors
In this course, you'll learn all about conductors and resistors. In the first lesson, you'll learn about the conductors that connect circuits together and the types of insulation used to cover conductors. You'll also learn more about cells and batteries, the important storage devices used as both power supplies and backup power sources for many industrial devices and systems. Next, you'll learn about circuit analysis and Ohm's law. Circuit analysis is one of the fundamental jobs of an electrician or electronics technician. Ohm’s law will be used to identify the amount of current, voltage, or resistance that’s in a circuit. You'll also learn how to take basic meter readings in circuits and develop a basic understanding of the multimeter. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Analyze the types and the properties of various conductors, insulators, and batteries
  • Explain circuits and Ohm's Law
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aids:

  • Electronics Practice Kit 2
  • Digital Multimeter

Supplements:

  • Circuit Formulas (Quick Reference Card)
  • Multimeter Operation Manu

Instruction Set 4

Electronic Hardware and Test Equipment
In this course, you'll learn all about electronic hardware and test equipment. In the first lesson, you'll learn more about using a basic multimeter, which can measure voltage, resistance, and current values in a circuit. You'll review basic circuit properties and concepts as well as the features, controls, and uses of both analog and digital VOMs. In the next lesson, you'll learn about electronics hardware. You'll study the connectors that join wire or cables to components, and you'll learn how to mount components to various types of circuit boards.

In the lesson on switching devices, you'll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using mechanical and electronic switches, how switches function, and how they're used in electronic circuits. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Identify the basic circuit quantities associated with electrical circuits
  • Distinguish between the various electronic hardware used in assembling electronic circuits and systems
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of different types of switches and relays
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aids:

  • Electronics Practice Kit 3 (Soldering kit)
  • Soldering Iron
  • Desoldering Pump

Supplement:

  • Soldering and Desoldering

Instruction Set 5

Passive and Active Electronic Components
In this course, you'll learn all about passive and active electronic components. First, you'll learn about magnets and electromagnets, which are important components in industrial controls and automation devices. Next, you'll learn how capacitors and inductors operate in DC circuits, as they're used in many types of industrial power supplies, motor drive systems, and on most industrial electronics printed circuit boards.

To understand and work with electronic circuits, you must understand the use of components and how electronic circuits work. You'll learn about the electronic component called the diode, which is a type of semiconductor that's often used in electronic circuits as a rectifier. You'll also learn about the transistor, a three-terminal, solid-state, semiconductor component that's used to control the flow of electricity in a circuit. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Analyze the properties and applications of magnetism, electromagnetism, and electromagnetic induction in various electrical components
  • Point out the various types and usage of capacitors and inductors in a DC circuit
  • Analyze the characteristics and the functions of diodes
  • Point out the basic functions of transistors
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 4

Instruction Set 6

AC Circuits
In this course, you'll learn all about AC circuits. In the first lesson, you'll learn about the basic characteristics of alternating current and the values used to describe AC cycles. You'll then be presented with information on single-, split-, and three-phase AC current. Next, you'll learn about capacitors and how they function in AC circuits. In the following section, you'll learn how to calculate capacitive reactance and see how capacitors operate in series and parallel resistor/capacitor, or RC, circuits. Later in this course, you'll learn how inductors operate in AC circuits. You'll also learn about capacitors and how they function in AC circuits. You'll learn how to calculate the total capacitance of series- and parallel-connected capacitors as well as how to calculate capacitive reactance. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Analyze the various properties of alternating current in single-phase and polyphase systems
  • Categorize the functions of capacitors in AC and DC circuits
  • Show the various functions of inductors in series and parallel RL circuits
  • Compare the operations of different types of transformers and the functions of their various components
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 5

Instruction Set 7

Resonant Circuits
In this course, you'll learn all about resonant circuits. In the first section, you'll learn how resistors, capacitors, and inductors are the basic building blocks of all electronic systems and how these building blocks behave when connected to form basic circuits. A resonant circuit is a special kind of reactive circuit in which the generator current and voltage are in phase. When a circuit is resonant, it may be used to either accept or reject a particular frequency or a band of frequencies. You'll learn about some of the applications of resonant circuits related to coupled circuits, traps, filters, and transmission lines. This lesson will give you the opportunity to review the maximum power transfer theorem, a number of design equations, and a few design applications. You'll also practice writing conjugate impedances. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Analyze how resistors, capacitors, and inductors behave in different circuits
  • Categorize the functions of resonant circuits in different electronic systems
  • Analyze the application of resonant circuits in coupled circuits, traps, filters, and transmission lines
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 6

Instruction Set 8

Advanced Electronic Components
In this course, you'll learn all about advanced electronic components. In the first lesson, you'll learn about the process of converting AC voltages to DC voltages called rectification. You'll learn how different types of power supplies work, and you'll learn some of the important troubleshooting techniques that are used to keep them in operation.

You'll also learn about amplifiers, oscillators, and optoelectronics. Amplifiers are a fundamental component of communications that require electronic circuits. The oscillator can handle demands for low-, intermediate-, or high-frequency signals and can produce one of a variety of output waveforms. Optoelectronics is a recent, high-technology branch of electronics that includes many applications of lasers, LEDs, and LADs. Your exploration of the field includes the basic theory of modern applications, such as compact disks and bar code readers. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Point out the functions of rectifiers and voltage-regulating devices in power supplies
  • Analyze the functions of basic amplifier circuits
  • Categorize the operations of oscillators with LC and RC feedback circuits
  • Analyze the basic theories related to optoelectronic and fiber-optic components
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 7

Instruction Set 9

Electronic Sensors and Devices
In this course, you'll learn all about electronic sensors and devices. Electronic sensors are used to collect and process both physical and chemical information. Many institutions rely on electronic instruments to monitor and control thousands of processes. In this lesson, you'll learn how certain electronic components are used as sensors and as parts in instrumentation and control systems. You'll also learn about modulation and demodulation (or detection), which are two of the functions that make electronic communications both possible and practical. Later in this lesson, you'll get an in-depth view of amplification—specifically, the nature of amplification and various types of industrial amplifiers. An overview of electronics diagrams will prepare you to sketch, use, and interpret diagrams in your daily work. You'll be introduced to the basic controls and functions of an oscilloscope. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Point out the applications of transducers in various electronic systems
  • Distinguish between the various functions of bandwidth modulation and detection circuits
  • Distinguish between the various functions of bandwidth modulation and detection circuits
  • Categorize the various types of oscilloscopes and their purposes
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 8

Instruction Set 10

Electronic Circuits and Power
In this course, you'll learn all about circuits and power supply systems. The first section covers audio frequency (AF), radio frequency (RF), and direct current (DC) signal transmission, placing emphasis on the types of transmission media that are suitable for industrial use. You'll learn about telephone, hardwired, fiber-optic, and sound systems. Next, you'll learn about oscillators, which are used in transmitters and receivers and have applications in virtually every type of electronic device. All electrical and electronic systems require a power source. You'll learn about some of the basic components and circuits that are used to produce DC power from available AC input sources. You'll also learn about voltage regulators and the operation of industrial power supplies. Finally, you'll be able to practice what you've learned with some hands-on practical exercise activities.

Objectives:

  • Compare among audio frequency, radio frequency, and direct current signal transmissions
  • Analyze the functions of oscillators in various types of electronic devices
  • Categorize the basic components and circuits used for producing DC power from AC input sources
  • Complete suggested basic electronics activities

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 9

 

Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.