Become a Digital Designer!

Welcome to the site of ECE 2031, taught within the Digital Design Laboratory.

On this site, relevant downloads are provided for the lab exercises as supplements to the lab manual and other course materials.

Information for the Fall 2017 semester

Most of your questions about the course (what you need before the first class, etc.) are answered in the FAQ. Check it out. As far as specifics for the upcoming semester are concerned, watch for updates here.

If a lecture period or lab section is full when you attempt to sign up, then it is full. The limits are defined based on what the rooms and equipment can handle. So it doesn't matter how good a reason you have to request an overload — if the rooms could handle one more student, the limits would be one higher!

Labs do NOT meet in the first week of the semester, but there is a required exercise prior to lecture. Do that exercise (to be posted here soon) and come to lecture prepared to learn more about the course.

Required books

There are two required books, as well as a downloadable PDF (the "Syllabus and Course Information," under the sidebar "General Information"):

  • Digital Design Laboratory Manual Second Edition, by Thomas Collins and Christopher Twigg (ISBN: 978-0-7575-7157-2). Available at the bookstore or directly from the publisher (including an eBook option). You CAN use a used copy of the lab manual. Some "checkoff" pages may be torn out, but you can use these printable versions when needed. We did not allow this for years, but we are now allowing it for two reasons: 1) There are now significant changes to Lab 6, reducing the value of the printed lab manual, and 2) We have a new understanding with the publisher about keeping costs down, even when printed in smaller quantities.
  • Rapid Prototyping of Digital Systems SOPC Edition, by Hamblen, Hall, & Furman. The "SOPC" edition is the required edition. Used copies are acceptable, and if you are financially strapped, you can get by with sharing a copy of this book (used mostly in Lab 1, Lab 6, and Lab 7). You do NOT need the CD that may be missing in a used textbook.

Other required items

  • Chip Set — A selection of chips to be used in various laboratory exercises (Alternative sources are Eta Kappa Nu, Campus Bookstores, and more in the FAQ). During the current semester, it is possible to use older (LS) chips or the HCT (or HC) chips described in the lab manual. According to the latest information, most of the needed chips are included in the ECE2020 chip set, if you still have it, but you will need to acquire a 4-input NAND gate, the 74xxx20.
  • Protoboard — This board will be used in this and other ECE labs. (Again, see Eta Kappa Nu/Campus Bookstores/FAQ)
  • Wire Kit — The wires in this kit are pre-stripped and pre-bent for easy insertion into the protoboard. (Again, Eta Kappa Nu/Bookstore/FAQ)
  • GT Computer Account — An account that allows you to log in to a campus Windows computer using a GT Active Directory (AD) account & password.
  • Free download of Altera Quartus II, version 9.1, Service Pack 2 (installation procedure is part of first lab)


Optional items

  • DE2 Development Board, with academic pricing from Altera and Terasic. Students who wish to work extensively at home, or those who wish to have the FPGA hardware platform available for future projects (including senior design), may wish to purchase the DE2 board. Choose either the DE2 or DE2-70, unless you want to explore more powerful hardware and deal with the translation of lab exercises to a different platform.

What to expect

Lecture is first held late in the week during the first week of classes, and only one thing takes place before then -- a self-pace introduction to course logistics and an online quiz. After the first lecture, your first lab meeting is officially scheduled for the FOLLOWING week — NOT the first week of classes. You will know from the first week's lecture what is expected at that first lab meeting.

EVERY item above is needed for the first and/or second lab. The bookstore WILL OFTEN run out of things, so get yours first and let that be somebody else's problem. If a textbook or lab manual is out of stock during the first week of class, the bookstores can reorder in time to get it for you before you need it. But if you wait until the first lecture or longer, then find out it is out of stock, you will be in trouble. Better yet, order the lab manual in advance from the publisher (including an eBook option for the last minute!)

Each student is required to read the laboratory and perform any prelab exercises before coming to the lab, since most exercises will consume the full three-hour lab session.

The laboratory exercises often require parts of the in-lab setup of a computer-based digital design system, an oscilloscope, a logic analyzer, Altera's DE2 university board, and a CADET II digital design station.

There are alternate sources for some of the equipment that you have to buy, and you can get the textbook (Hamblen, et al.) shipped from your favorite online bookseller.

General Information

Fall 2017 Syllabus and Course Information. Includes the syllabus and a lot of other important information.

Lab Schedule The repeating weekly details, not the semester calendar.

Fall 2017 Calendar. On the same page as the repeating weekly schedule, you will find links in the sidebar to the calendar for the entire semester, including an electronic version available to import into your own calendar here.

The 2031 FAQ, including directions to Dr. Collins's office

Lab Manual Errata

Printable checkoff sheets For students with used manuals, or to replace a lost sheet.

Hardware and Software Tips