Electronics KS5


Electronics KS5 will ensure that students have the electronic and mathematical knowledge and electronic engineering skills to solve problems. It should enable students to appreciate how many problems in society can be tackled by the application of the scientific ideas in the field of electronics using engineering processes.


Electronics KS5

Objectives and aims:

Our Electronics KS5 solution meets the needs to develop understanding, skills and knowledge required for students at KS5 level. We incorporate fun and intriguing technologies to teach some of the toughest electronics concepts. Electronics KS5 will ensure that students have the electronic and mathematical knowledge and electronic engineering skills to solve problems. It should enable students to appreciate how many problems in society can be tackled by the application of the scientific ideas in the field of electronics using engineering processes.

Electronics KS5 Contents:

Use of apparatus:

  • the construction of digital and analogue electrical circuits
  • making measurements on electrical circuits using multimeters (on voltage,
    current and resistance ranges), timing equipment, logic probes and
    oscilloscopes (or computers configured as oscilloscopes)

System synthesis:

  • the structure of electronic systems in terms of inputs, processes and outputs and possibly feedback
  • the representation of complex systems in terms of sub-systems
  • the analysis and design of systems using system diagrams

Logic Systems:

  • the identification and use of NOT, Schmitt inverter and 2 and 3 input AND, NAND, OR, NOR, XNOR and XOR logic gates, singly and in combination
  • the use of truth tables for these gates and simple combinations of them
  • the use of combinations of one or more types of gate to perform other logic functions including NAND-gate simplification.
  • logic-system simplification using Boolean algebra, Karnaugh maps and multiplexers.
  • the design and construction of electronic circuits containing logic gates, with consideration to sourcing, sinking, pull-up and pull-down resistors

DC Electric Circuits:

  • Understand and use the definitions of sine, cosine and tangent for all arguments; the sine and cosine rules; the area of a triangle in the form 1/2(absinC)
  • standard circuit symbols to interpret and draw circuit diagrams
  • the definition of resistance and the effect of resistors in circuits
  • the effective resistance of series and parallel combinations of resistors
  • the analysis of circuits using Kirchhoff’s laws and Thevenin’s theorem for a single power supply
  • appropriate values of resistor, selecting from the E24 series
  • the conditions for the balance of a bridge circuit.

Energy (E) and Power (P):

  • the relationship between energy, power and time: P =E/T
  • the power relationships:
    P=VI = I (squared)R = V (squared)/R
  • rms voltage and current and their use in power calculations in a sinusoidal AC circuit

Input and Output sub-systems:

  • the design and construction of analogue sensing systems using photosensitive devices, negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermistors and switches
  • the interpretation and use of characteristic curves for the above devices, and their experimental determination
  • the use of a Schmitt inverter to provide signal conditioning
  • the use of a variety of output devices including a buzzer, a loudspeaker, a motor, a solenoid, a relay, a mechanical actuator (servo) and a seven segment display in a system
  • the use of the slotted discs (for sensing rotational speed) and encoded discs (for sensing angular position)
  • the comparison of the Gray coding of encoded discs with binary coding
  • the use of bridge circuits with thermistors and with strain gauges]

Semiconductor Components:

  • the uses of light-emitting diodes, silicon diodes and Zener diodes in electronic systems, including carrying out relevant calculations on circuits containing these components
  • the use of bipolar and field-effect transistors as switches, using data to design suitable circuits


  • the definition of the voltage gain of an amplifier
  • the characteristics of an ideal op-amp and their comparison with those of typical op-amps
  • the dependence of the output state of an op-amp on the relative values of the two input states
  • the concept of a virtual earth
  • the characteristics of the following op-amp circuits, including recognising, drawing and performing calculations: inverting amplifier, non-inverting amplifier, summing amplifier, comparator and voltage follower circuits
  • the design of single stage amplifiers based on inverting and non-inverting voltage amplifiers
  • the relationship between the gain and bandwidth of an amplifier
  • clipping distortion and the slew-rate limit
  • the op-amp difference amplifier circuit, including recognising, drawing and performing calculations
  • the analysis and design of instrumentation amplifiers based upon the opamp difference amplifier circuit.

Timing Circuits:

  • Locate roots of f(x ) = 0 by considering changes of sign of f( x) in an interval of x on which f( x) is sufficiently well-behaved.
  • the definition of the capacitance of a capacitor and the effective capacitance of series and parallel combinations of capacitors
  • charging and discharging graphs for capacitors, including the use of log graphs
  • the use of capacitors as the basis of timing circuits and in debouncing switches, including the time constant (T) for an RC circuit (T = RC)
  • the use of the exponential charging and discharging equations for a capacitor and the use of suitable approximations for effective charge and discharge times.
  • the properties of monostable circuits and their use in time-delay circuits
  • the properties of an astable circuit and its use as a pulse generator
  • the design of an astable circuit based upon a Schmitt trigger
  • the analysis of monostable and astable circuits based upon a 555 timer IC, the drawing of these circuits and calculations of their characteristics including pulse duration, frequency and mark-space ratio

Sequential Logic Sub-systems

  • [Use vectors in two dimensions] and in three dimensions
  • [Calculate the magnitude and direction of a vector and convert between 12 component form and magnitude/direction form]
  • [Add vectors diagrammatically and perform the algebraic operations of vector addition and multiplication by scalars, and understand their geometrical interpretations].
  • [Understand and use position vectors; calculate the distance between two points represented by position vectors].
  • [Use vectors to solve problems in pure mathematics and in context, including forces] and kinematics.

Sequential Logic Sub-systems

  • a Set-Reset (SR) latch based on NAND gates, including the design and description of the action
  • the significance of propagation delays in sequential systems
  • the construction and use of timing diagrams to explain the operation of sequential logic circuits
  • the characteristics and uses of the inputs and outputs of D-type flip-flops in the context of transition gates, frequency divider circuits, asynchronous counters, [parallel-in, series out (PISO) and series in, parallel out (SIPO) registers and synchronous counters]
  • the design of systems that use a dedicated 4-bit counter and combinational logic to produce a sequence of events
  • converting between binary, decimal, hexadecimal and binary-coded decimal (BCD) number systems.


  • Interpret diagrams for single-variable data, including understanding that area in a histogram represents frequency.
  • the analysis and design of flowchart programs for micro-controllers
  • programming micro-controllers using a flowchart program
  • [the nature of micro-controllers as programmable assemblies of memory, input ports, output ports, CPU and clock
  • the use of interrupts to allow an external device to be serviced on request
  • the applications of a micro-controller
  • the design and analysis of systems with a micro-controller sub-system
  • programming micro-controllers using assembler language

Signal Conversion

  • the need for signal conversion between analogue and digital form in communications and microprocessors
  • the use of a digital-to-analogue (DAC) converter for converting digital into analogue signals; the analysis and design of a DAC based upon an op-amp summing amplifier to meet a given specification
  • the use of an analogue-to-digital (ADC) converter for converting analogue into digital signals and the analysis and design of a flash converter ADC based on comparators to meet a specification
  • the analysis and design of a priority encoder to meet a specification
  • the difference between digital ramp and flash ADC

AC Circuits and Passive Filters

  • the use of V-t, I-t and P-t graphs for resistive loads and the relationship between rms and peak values
  • the relationship between current and potential difference for capacitors and inductors, reactance and the impedance of RC and RL series circuits
  • the analysis and design of high-pass and low-pass RC passive filters and LC passive band-pass filters
  • displaying the outputs of filters using linear-log and log-log graphs
  • the advantage of buffering passive filters

Communication Systems

  • the relationships between bandwidth, data rate and information-carrying capacity
  • the necessity for multiplexing a number of signals and the principles of frequency and time-division multiplexing
  • the distinction between noise and distortion
  • the significance of attenuation for the signal-to-noise ratio and its expression in dB.

Digital Communications

  • the analysis and design of Schmitt trigger circuits to regenerate a digital signal
  • the production and analysis of graphs to illustrate pulse modulation techniques: pulse width modulation (PWM), pulse amplitude modulation (PAM), pulse code modulation (PCM)
  • the operation of a PCM communication system including block diagram
  • the relationship between the required sampling frequency and the highest frequency in the signal
  • the use of time-division multiplexing (TDM) to improve the capacity of PCM communications link
  • the limitation on the number of channels that can be incorporated into a PCM communications link, using TDM.

Wireless Transmission

  • the use of the different regions of the radio spectrum for data transmission, including in terms of bandwidth requirements and available frequency channels
  • the principles of amplitude and frequency modulation

Optical Communication

  • the long distance transmission of signals in optical fibres related to the refractive properties of glass
  • the effects of dispersion, attenuation and radiation losses in optical fibre communication
  • the principles of the operation of circuits for converting between electrical and optical signals

Principles of semiconductors

  • the conduction processes in n- and p-type semiconductors in terms of mobile electrons and holes
  • conduction processes at a p-n junction and the operation of a LED and a photodiode
  • the properties of an n-channel MOSFET in terms of the pinching of the conducting channel

Audio Systems

  • the structure of a simple audio system
  • the analysis and design of a multi-stage voltage preamplifier to meet bandwidth and gain requirements
  • the analysis and design of a mixer circuit based upon a summing amplifier
  • the operation of first order active filters (bass boost, treble boost, bass cut, treble cut) including calculation of the break frequency
  • the maximum power transfer theorem
  • the properties of emitter and source follower power amplifiers and pushpull power amplifiers consisting of either emitter or source followers
  • cross-over distortion and its removal using negative feedback
  • the gain of a power amplifier expressed in dB
  • the process of digitizing audio signals and the effects of sampling rate and resolution

Mains Power Supply Systems

  • the use of diodes for half-wave and full-wave rectification
  • the effect of capacitors and loads on the rectified output of a simple power supply
  • Zener-regulated power supplies, including their design, and graphs to show the effect of loading
  • the distinction between load regulation and line regulation
  • the analysis and design of a voltage regulator based upon a Zener diode, an emitter follower and a non-inverting amplifier

High Power Switching Systems

  • the design of a DC thyristor switching circuit and an explanation of theprocess of capacitor commutation
  • the circuit diagram and graphs for an AC phase control circuit, using an RC network, a triac and a diac and calculations of the phase shift between the supply voltage and capacitor voltage]