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EECS16A Lab Equipment Guide
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 EECS16A - Lab Equipment Guide

This guide serves as a reference for students in EECS 16A lab to familiarize themselves with the equipment present in the lab. Read carefully so you do not accidentally damage the equipment and potentially hurt yourself.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Computer Tower

Logging In

Ports

Permissions

Changing Password

Opening Lab Notebooks

Lab Kit

MSP

Handling Instructions

Connecting to a computer

Energia

Deciphering Ports

Uploading Code

Troubleshooting Energia Upload

Serial Communication

Components

Breadboard

Jumper Wires

Breadboarding Wires

Op Amp

LEDs

Ambient Light Sensor

Resistors

Potentiometer

Capacitors

Tools

Wire Stripper

Wire Gauge

Stripping Breadboarding Wires

Cutting

Breadboarding Guide

Precision Wire Cutter / Diagonal Angle Cutters

Soldering Iron

WARNING

Sponge

Solder

Clamp

Tinner

Oxidation

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

Types of cables / leads

Different Channels

PSU Ground vs Earth Ground

Current Limiting

Multimeter

Cables / Leads

Different Modes

DC V (Voltmeter)

DC I (Ammeter)

Ω (Ohmmeter)

⊣⊢ (Farads)

Range

Oscilloscope

Probe

Taking Measurements

Function Generator

Remote vs Local

Cable

General Usage

TinkerCAD for EECS 16A

Overview

Creating a TinkerCAD account and accessing your dashboard

Getting familiar with TinkerCAD

Walking through an example


Computer Tower

Logging In

Create an EE16A account by logging into acropolis with your CalNet ID. Click “Create an Account” for EE16A and wait for the page to create an account. You will be presented with an ee16a account and a password and prompted with an option to send the account information to an email. Please email this account information to yourself. Use the account credentials to log into a lab computer.

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Ports

USB - There are USB ports on the front panel of the computers for you to use during the lab. However, due to extended use, some of the USB ports may not work 100% of the time. If one port does not work, try switching to a different one.

Audio - There are two audio jacks on the computer - one microphone and one headphone. Each have a symbol on top of the jack to indicate which one they are. Make sure that your equipment is fully pushed into the jack and test before using the ports.

GPU - Each computer is outfitted with a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to drive  the monitors. In the imaging module, we make use of the HDMI port on the GPUs to connect our computers to handheld projectors - the HDMI cable must be plugged into the GPU as opposed to the motherboard to function correctly. You should not need to be unplugging and plugging in cables to the lab benches.

Permissions

Installing Software - We have restricted access to most of the C:// drive on the Windows machines to prevent tampering with the installed software. We carefully select packages and versions to ensure a smooth lab experience - please do not install different versions of software to avoid breaking any dependencies. As a user, you have full access to the Downloads folder, so please use that folder for all your lab needs.

Syncing Files - The U:// drive is where you can store files in the University’s cloud space if you need to access files across computers.

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Changing Password

On a Windows computer, you can change your password by hitting Control + Alt + Delete and selecting “Change Password”. Follow the prompt to permanently change your password. If you ever forget the password that you set, you can reset it by going to acropolis and resetting the password associated with that account.

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Opening Lab Notebooks

Remote

To open a lab notebook, go to the class website and click on the Datahub Link for the corresponding lab. You should be prompted to log into Datahub. Then, click on the `.ipynb` file to open the notebook.

In-Person

To download the lab, go to the class website and download the lab to your Downloads folder. All the labs come zipped in a compressed archive format and need to be uncompressed. To do this, open the file explorer, go to the Downloads folder, right click the lab zip file, and extract all. Open the extracted folder. There are 2 ways to proceed from here.

  1. Every lab includes a .BAT file (batch script) that will help you launch the lab. Double click “Launch Notebook.BAT” to execute the script to open the lab notebook - if there is a popup “How do you want to open this file?”, close the dialog to continue running the script. If there is a pop up that says “Untrusted Source”, click “More Options” and hit “Run Anyway”. If there is a popup that says “Search for app in the Store?” hit No to continue running the script.

  1. Alternatively, right click and select “Git Bash here”. Type “jupyter notebook” into the terminal and hit Enter.

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Lab Kit

MSP

Handling Instructions

The MSP comes in an anti-static bag to protect it; you can keep it in this bag if you want to keep it extra safe, but keeping it in the box is also fine. As with all electronics, do not expose it to water and be gentle with it. Do not modify a circuit that the MSP is connected to while plugged into the computer. This can potentially permanently damage the MSP to the point where it may not function.

Connecting to a computer

 Use a micro-USB to USB cable to connect the MSP to the lab station or in your Launchpad Box.  You should see a Green LED light up near the micro-USB port to indicate that it is working.

Energia

Energia is the software TI has provided us to interface with the MSP. It is built off of the more well known IDE, Arduino, and allows us to program the MSP, as well as read data off of it. To launch it, go to your desktop and double click the Energia icon.

To install Energia on your personal machine, navigate to the Energia homepage and download the installer of your operating system. Once Energia is installed, you can head to the OS specific setup instructions. Some tips from us:

Deciphering Ports

When using the MSP, we need to figure out which port it is assigned to on a computer. Whenever a USB device is plugged into a computer, it is enumerated by the OS and assigned some port name. In Windows, it looks like COM#, in Linux it looks like /dev/ttyACM*, and in MacOS looks like /dev/cu.usbmodem#####

        

Uploading Code

To upload code, you must

  1. go to Tools > Ports > Device#, where Device# is the name you found in the “Deciphering Ports” section above, and select the correct port
  1. Remember that if you have a Mac, the port number will be of the form /dev/cu.usbmodem##### and will not end in a 1.
  1. Once the correct com port is selected, you can load in the code by going to File > Open and finding the file for the lab.
  2. Now that Energia is set up to upload code, you can hit the right arrow button to upload the code. Watch the logs on the bottom of the window to make sure it completes. Once it is done hit the RESET button on the MSP. If you are having trouble uploading, please call over a TA or ASE.

Troubleshooting Energia Upload

Serial Communication

There will be points in the lab where it asks you to open up the Serial Monitor. To open the Serial Monitor, go to Tools > Serial Monitor OR use the shortcut ‘Control’/’Command’ + ‘Shift’ + ‘M’.


Serial Communication allows us to get data from the MSP. However, there are a few rules that the Serial Monitor needs to abide by in order for us to visualize the data properly. Firstly, there can only be one Serial Port open per device on a computer - if you try to open multiple instances of Serial to communicate to the MSP, only the first one will work. Secondly, Serial needs to agree on a speed for it to communicate. Make sure you are selecting the correct
Baud Rate for each lab (can be found within each lab) and setting that in the Serial Monitor menu.

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Components

Breadboard

Used to make circuits.

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Jumper Wires 

Nicely packaged wires to connect your breadboard to peripherals - very useful when prototyping or making small circuits. Make sure to tear apart your jumper wires before using them (similar to string cheese before eating). There are three different configurations - Pin to Socket, Pin to Pin, Socket to Socket. Note that this terminology is nonstandard and you may encounter the terms “Male” and “Female” in industry or on datasheets (check out the wiki article here). Pay close attention to what your circuit requires when choosing a jumper wire. Jumper wires are not to be confused with breadboarding wires. Breadboarding wires are not in your kit and can be used to create cleaner breadboards by cutting and stripping to required lengths. Do not cut or strip your jumper wires.         

Breadboarding Wires 

Like jumper wires, breadboarding wires are single-core copper wires insulated with plastic. However, they don't have any pins and thus, we can freely cut and strip them to any length. 2 breadboarding wires are included in your kit and can be used to create cleaner breadboards by cutting and stripping to required lengths. Instructions on doing this can be found here.

Op Amp

You will learn more about what an Op Amp is used for later in the course. It can be used in many different circuit configurations for a variety of analog and digital applications. This particular Op Amp (LMC6483) has two Op Amp circuits in it.

LEDs

Light Emitting Diodes are special circuit elements that only conduct unidirectionally, i.e. they are polarized. If there is enough voltage across the LED and minimal current is supplied, it will emit light. The Longer Leg is Positive, and the Shorter Leg is Negative.

        

Ambient Light Sensor

A sensor that changes electrical properties based on the amount of light present. We will be using the Ambient Light Sensor (ALS) to create our imaging system. Though it shares a resemblance with the LED, the polarization is the opposite: Shorter Leg is Positive, and the Longer Leg is Negative.

Resistors

We have included a few resistors for you to use. In your lab kit, you should have the following:

  1. Brown-Black-Yellow-Gold 100k Ohm (x2)
  2. Orange-Orange-Brown-Gold 330 Ohm (x2)
  3. Brown-Black-Red-Gold 1k Ohm (x6)

Potentiometer

A potentiometer is a variable resistor with 3 terminals and a knob. As we turn the knob, the resistance between the middle terminal and either of the end terminals changes; as the resistance to one end terminal increases, the resistance to the other decreases. However, the resistance between the end terminals stays constant. We have included one 10k Ohm potentiometer in the lab kit for you to use.

Capacitors

We have included two types of capacitors for you to use. In your lab kit, you should have the following:

  1. [22] Short, round 22pF
  2. [104] Taller, small 0.1uF

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Tools

Wire Stripper

Wire Gauge

The breadboarding wires we use in the lab are 22 gauge (0.65mm), so you will need to use that slot to strip these wires. You can read about the sizing here where it explains the wire size as well as how much current can be sourced through them.

Stripping Breadboarding Wires 

Breadboarding wires come with a layer of insulation that needs to be stripped away before using a breadboard or soldering. To strip a wire, you must first identify which wire gauge you would like to strip to, and place the wire in the selection. You typically only need to strip off a centimeter (shorter length of your pinky nail) to get it to work with your breadboard. For a video demo, watch this video.

Cutting

The wire stripper is also outfitted with a wire cutter close to the fulcrum. This will be useful when cutting wires to the correct length while breadboarding.

Breadboarding Guide

Keeping your breadboard circuit planar - In EECS16A, we enforce a planar breadboarding rule. This means that your breadboard cannot have wires in long loops above your breadboard. The wires in your circuit should be cut to the appropriate length so the breadboard looks clean and organized. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started on planar breadboarding.

  1. Measure out your wires before cutting them. Strip and insert one end of the breadboarding wire into one of its spots and measure out how long it needs to be to reach its destination. Crease where you would like the wire to end. In this example, we are trying to connect the two grounds on each side of the breadboard.

  1. Cut the excess wire but leave enough (1 cm) for the wire to plug into the board).

  1. Remove the entire wire from the breadboard and stripe the wire from the crease point to the end. Plug it back into the board and it should fit exactly in place.

  1. If you need to connect adjacent rows with either a resistor or wire, use the “U-method” to make your life easier and save real estate. Bend your wires or resistor into a small U and trim them so they do not stick out too much from the breadboard. Do not cut LEDs or else you will not be able to differentiate between cathode and anode.