Journal Title

121st ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Publication Date



Digital logic design is often taught from the bottom up starting with the simplest components (transistors and gates), proceeding through combinational and sequential logic circuits, and if there is time may finish up with the basic components of microprocessors. With the bottom up approach, it may be a fairly long time before students see a complete system that performs a recognizable function. Most of the standard example circuits, such as binary adders, decoders, multiplexers, etc., are parts used in a larger system. While knowledge of the standard circuits is crucial for building more complex circuits, these standard circuits might not capture the students’ interest as much as a complete system. Therefore, this paper describes three proposed example circuits that are simple enough to cover in the first logic design course, but yet are complete systems that perform useful functions. The proposed circuits are a game show buzz-in system that determines which of two contestants rings in first, a standard 12-hour digital clock, and a car alarm that could honk a car horn if someone enters the car without resetting the alarm. The proposed circuits can be used as examples or homework problems in addition to the standard circuits to increase students’ interest in the material and to show how useful the design techniques can be. Surveys were given to the students after the proposed circuits and the standard circuits were covered to assess the level of student interest generated by the examples. The results of the surveys are presented in the paper along with detailed descriptions of the circuits.


Engineering--Study and teaching--United States; Logic design--Methodology; Undergraduate students

Publication Information

121st ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, 2014, 1-14.

© 2014 American Association for Engineering Education

Archived version is final published version.



Document Type

Conference Presentation