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: 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' Association International (ETA) Certification Exam.

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

  • Identify the schematic symbols of several common electronic components and describe their functions; define terms used in electronics
  • Name several electrical shock hazards, and understand how to prevent electrical shocks through lockout-and-tag procedures, proper procedures, and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Discern the various types of conductors and their conductivity; determine the size of conductor needed for an application; identify types of insulating materials and list their temperature ratings
  • Calculate voltage, resistance, and current in series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits
  • Understand how to use electronics equipment, including multimeters, soldering equipment, and ohmmeters
  • Read circuit diagrams, and analyze basic relay ladder diagrams
  • List the various switch types, their uses, and the advantages and disadvantages of each type
  • Identify many types of wires, cables, connectors, and terminals, and specify the applications for each type
  • Determine the expected resistance of a wire, and estimate the change in resistance that occurs with changing wire characteristics
  • Discern the differences among simple, compound, and closed magnetic circuits
  • Determine the direction of magnetic lines of force around a conductor
  • Calculate the total capacitance of a circuit; calculate the time constant of a resistance-capacitance (RC) or resistance-inductance (RL) circuit; calculate the total inductance of a circuit
  • Explain how inductors are constructed, and describe how an inductor can regulate the flow of current in a DC circuit
  • Describe how diodes and transistors work and how to determine if they're working properly; list uses for diodes and transistors in 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
Conductors, resistors, and insulators; direct current and alternating current; job opportunities.

Instruction Set 2

Nature of Electricity
Dangers and benefits of static electricity; volts, amperes, and ohms; series and parallel circuits.

Learning Aids:
• Electronics Practice Kit
• Component Color Code Wheel

Practical Exercise 1

Instruction Set 3

Conductors, Insulators, and Batteries
Conductors and conductivity; insulating materials; safety precautions when using storage batteries.

Circuit Analysis and Ohm’s Law
Finding the voltage, current, and resistance; the use of Ohm’s Law.

Multimeter Usage Manual
Multimeter operation; AC and DC voltage measurement.

Learning Aids:
• Electronics Practice Kit
• Circuit Formula Quick Reference Chart
• Digital Multimeter

Practical Exercise 2

Instruction Set 4

Basic Measuring Instruments
Analog or digital VOMs; using VOMs to measure voltage; safe handling of a multimeter.

Electronic Hardware
Mechanical connectors; types of solder tools.

Switching Devices
Types of switches; basic relay ladder diagrams.

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit

• Soldering Iron
• Desoldering Pump

Practical Exercise 3

Instruction Set 5

Magnetism and Electromagnetism
Simple, compound, and closed magnetic circuits; simple electromagnetic relays.

Capacitors and Inductors
Types of capacitors; how an inductor regulates the flow of current.

Basic Semiconductor Components: Diodes
How a diode works; selecting the proper diode for replacement in a circuit.

Basic Semiconductor Components: Transistors
Bipolar transistors; using an ohmmeter; basic troubleshooting.

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit

Practical Exercise 4

Instruction Set 6

Alternating Current
Characteristics of an AC cycle; calculating power.

Capacitors in AC Circuits
Reactance and impedance; how AC frequency affects impedance.

Inductors in AC Circuits
Applying Ohm’s law; understanding and calculating impedance; how inductors are made and how they operate.

Connecting single-phase transformers; operation of autotransformers.

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit

Practical Exercise 5

Instruction Set 7

Reactance and Impedance
Determining the reactance of a capacitor and inductor; finding phase angles between voltage and current.

Resonant Circuits
Serial and parallel resonance; calculating the value of the Quality Factor, Q.

Application of Resonant Circuits
Low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and band-reject filters; identifying power-supply filter designs.

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit

Practical Exercise 6

Instruction Set 8

Rectifiers and Power Supplies
Basic types of electronic rectifiers; operation of power-supply filters.

Transistor amplifier operations; determining biasing conditions.

Oscillator circuits; effects of temperature on oscillator circuits.

Fiber Optic and Optoelectronic Components
Basic theory of light communications; electron microscopes; how fluorescent lights operate.

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit

Practical Exercise 7

Instruction Set 9

Electronic Sensors
Bridge circuits; concepts of “stress” and “strain” in electronics.

Modulation and Detection Circuits
Degrees of modulation; AM and FM signals; modulation and detector circuits.

Electronic Devices and Amplifiers
Passive and active devices; determining amplifier gain.

Using Basic Oscilloscopes
Operation of an oscilloscope; performing low-voltage measurements.

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit

Practical Exercise 8

Instruction Set 10

Audio and RF Circuits
Tone frequencies used in control systems; virtues of AM, FM, and SSB transmission.

Oscillator and Feedback Waveforms
Oscillator circuits; how waveforms are created.

Electronic Power Supplies
Basic operation of DC and AC conversion equipment; selecting the proper type of battery.

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit

Practical Exercise 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.