Fall 2015 -- ECEN 3030 Circuits for Non-Majors


Lecture Room ECEE 1B32


Last Revisions on 6/24/2015

On occasion this page maybe updated or enhanced.


Course Overview

This course is predominantly meant for Architectural and Civil Engineering students.

It covers the fundamental electrical circuits and related concepts without the use of Laplace Transforms.

The topics covered are also typical FE exam topics.


Occasional references to the NEC (of the NFPA) and NESC will be given when appropriate.


This course is a pre-requisite for AREN 4570 Building Electrical Systems Design.


Below is a set of examples that shows what can happen when there is no

NEC (National Electrical Code) and/or NESC (National Electrical Safety Code)

Scary to say the least.



Compare that to a group of components meeting NEMA standards and are wired/installed per the NEC.



Course Pre-requisites

APPM 2360 Introduction to Differential Equations with Linear Algebra


ECEN 3030 - Topics covered

1. Basic circuit theory, electrical charge, energy, power, voltage, current and resistance, KVL, KCL, DC circuits, voltage and current division.

2. DC circuit analysis, Superposition, Thevenin/Norton Theorems, node and loop analysis, source transformations

3. The dynamics of circuits, capacitors and inductors, RL, RC and RLC circuit transients with differential equations.

4. The analysis of AC circuits, complex mathematics, Eulers Identity, Phasors, Frequency domain, Impedance.


5. Power and energy in AC circuits, effective value, phasor diagrams, real and reactive power, intro to single-phase transformers, residential AC power, electrical safety.

6. Electric power systems, 3-phase circuits, average, complex and apparent power, power distribution systems, intro to 3-phase transformers and electric motors

7. Intro to Electronics, semiconductors, ideal diode, rectifiers, ideal transistors

8. Analog Electronics, freq. domain analysis, Bode plots, filters, bandwidth, op-amps

9. Linear systems, complex frequency, the system or transfer function, RL, RC and RLC circuits revisited.

10. Electromechanics, flux linkage, electromagnetic energy conversion

11. Electro-Magnetic structures, transformers and their equivalent circuits

12 Synchronous and Induction machines.



Two Required Textbooks


Foundations of Electrical Engineering

J.R. Cogdell, Pearson - Prentice Hall



Electrical Engineering for Non-Electrical Engineers

S. Bobby Rauf, PE, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis





 Course Vitals

      Instructor: Harry Hilgers

hhhilgers@mesanetworks.net Office: OT 352

Regular office-hours: M/W/F -- TBD

I will not be on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For those days see the TA office-hours schedule.

      Teaching Assistant

Joshua Woodward Joshua.Woodward@Colorado.EDU

Office: OT 352

Office Hours: Tu/Th -- TBD

      Lecture material

There is only enough class time to lecture just the core points.

So it stands to reason that you read the material before coming to lecture and study it thoroughly afterwards.

I will predominantly (but not always) lecture from the text books.

I therefore urge you to bring your text books to the lectures so you can make notes in them as needed.

      During Lectures

I very much encourage questions. The only dumb question is the one not asked.

If question are not enough on point or the answers become too time-consuming, I may hold off the answers until office hours.

      Homework Assignments

Approximately one HW assignment per week.

You will scan your HW and drop it into the drop box on D2L prior to the due date/time.

Late HW receives zero credit. No exceptions.

Make sure you do and turn in ALL HW assignments.


Three 50 minute mid-term exams

A 2.5 hr. final exam

      The Final grade is computed as follows:

Each of three midterm exams: 15%

Final exam: 25%

(Almost) daily quizzes: 15% (I will drop the lowest five scores)

HW: 15% (I will drop the lowest score)

      Class web-page

This will be on D2L

It will be used for HW assignments, announcements, calendar, exam dates, etc.

      Some final comments

I recognize that the amount of material is very large.

Therefore by necessity some material will only be covered on the surface.

It is impossible for you to become an expert at it in a short semester.

So it is my goal to introduce the material to a level so that later, when you need to apply it, you will have enough background and will not be afraid to open a book and study the different aspects in detail.

On occasion I will present some hard core examples from my career as a licensed professional engineer in the State of Colorado.

The United States Uniform Building Code, of which the NEC is a subset, is a very well developed code. During my career I have seen many examples that make me thankful for having this code to adhere to.

I have also seen the loss of life that was a direct result of the code not being applied or when there simply is no code.

      Back in the seventies, the wife of one of my best friends was electrocuted when touching the metal casing of a simple cooling fan, that was plugged-in (to an ungrounded electrical system) but was not running. The hot wire had come loose and touched the metal casing. If this would have been a grounded system, the metal casing would have been connected to the ground wire resulting in an immediate short circuit current that would have blown the fuse/breaker. For this ungrounded system there was no current return path until she touched the frame and her body and the ground she was standing on became the return path for the current to find its way back to the power supply. This current instantaneously killed her. A current of 50 milli-Amps at 120VAC can stop a beating heart.

      Last but for sure not least

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed.

Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. (303-492-8671, Willard 322)

Every effort will be made to reasonably and fairly deal with students who have serious religious observances that conflict with scheduled exams, assignments, etc.

Please notify me well in advance, so that there is time to make adequate arrangements.

The Boulder campus policy can be read at http://www.colorado.edu/policies/fac_relig.html

All students will be expected to comply with the Boulder campus honor code.

This honor code can be viewed at http://www.colorado.edu/academics/honorcode/

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment.

Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline.

Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, gender variance, and nationalities.

The campus policy can be read at http://www.colorado.edu/policies/classbehavior.html