The Circuit Navigation System in schools

This article is available as PDF document in english and in german language.

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Introduction

Understanding and teaching abstract concepts like currents and voltages has always been difficult, since we can not touch or see electricity.

Mechanical engineers have it a bit better: Not only can you touch and see a steel construction, but our colleagues also have computer programs with which they can view their constructions. They can see directly which parts belong together and how they work together.

In electrical engineering, we can also draw circuit diagrams with computer programs. But analyzing how the parts of the circuit work together used to be possible only with paraphrases and line diagrams.

electric current is invisible and cannot be touched. Therefore, electrical engineering as a whole seems abstract.

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There are exceptions. This current can be seen, and those who are stup... brave, can even touch it.

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And voltage curves from electrical engineering simulation programs are unfortunately not nearly as intuitively understandable as the FEM simulation shown from a cell phone.

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electric current is invisible and cannot be touched. Therefore, electrical engineering as a whole seems abstract.

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For pupils and students

 

A normal circuit diagram...

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... and the line diagrams barely show how a diode rectifier works

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It is even easier when you have multiple of such images, as video. E.g. at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clJJMBWNeaI

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A normal circuit diagram...

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Have you ever been in a lecture about a circuit and got stuck just because you didn't know what which line stood for? Or because it was not clear to you why the course of one curve influences the course of another curve as shown?

Don't worry, it's often like that - many of your classmates have the same problem. And it was the same for me at school. And then in my studies, too. And afterwards, in my work as an electrical engineer, too.

Most of the time this getting stuck on these meanings of curves costs more time and nerves than all the rest of the schematic analysis together. This annoyed me so much that at some point I wrote an own schematic analysis program. But this new program should not only output lines, but it should show you where which voltage is applied, and which current flows along where. So that we can understand circuits and how they work faster and easier.

After all, it is not our job to assign values and components to each other. Machines can do that much more reliably and much faster. Our task is to understand the circuit from these assigned values. And then to create something better from what we have understood. That's what we humans are good at.

For teachers, tutors and professors

 

How often have you explained a circuit, but then realized that hardly any of your students follow along with the lecture? And that you then explain the same thing again in more detail, but even more words only help a bit?

 

Often the problem of understanding in electrical engineering is not the circuit itself. The biggest problem is the assignment of lines to components:

Most of the time it is not clear to the students which current curve stands for which current through which connection of which component. Or which voltage curve represents which voltage drop across which component. It is then even more difficult to recognize correlations between the curves and to understand the operating principle of the respective circuit.

 

This problem exists in all areas of electrical engineering. No matter if you explain the basics, or a certain digital circuit or an OpAmp circuit. Or analyzing a motor control unit with your colleague. You almost always get hung up on the waveforms and the associated assignment and interpretation.

Creating an animation with the CNS requires only a few clicksand the CNS draws voltages and currents where they belong in the circuit diagram.

Show your students the animation, then a brief explanation of why the voltages and currents behave as shown will suffice.

So you can save yourself a lot of work if you don't have to explain each circuit several times, but let the computer explain the most cumbersome part for everyone. And you can achieve a better understanding among your students despite the saved work.

Electrical science is taught with cumbersome paraphrases.

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And unfortunately, you look at confused faces far too often as a teacher.

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But it would be best for all involved if the repetition were not necessary at all.

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Electrical science is taught with cumbersome paraphrases.

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For those whose curriculum has been thrown into disarray by Corona

 

Laboratory appointments cancelled particularly frequently during the pandemic

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That's a shame, because you acquire a more lasting understanding of a technical device when you set it up and then see it work.

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This allows you to analyze each circuit even more precisely and understand it even better.

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Laboratory appointments cancelled particularly frequently during the pandemic

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Use the Circuit Navigation System to create animated films about circuits.

If you use the animation of the CNS in lectures about electrical circuits, you save more work in explaining than you need to create the animation.

And those who create a circuit and the corresponding animation themselves in exercises not only have the learning effect of setting it up themselves, but also get their own overview of all currents and voltages.

It is even easy to create your own animation video with the CNS, as it is explained in
our HowTo video.

Conclusion

 

Use the Circuit Navigation System to create animated films about circuits.

If you use the animation of the CNS in lectures about electrical circuits, you save more work in explaining than you need to create the animation.

And those who create a circuit and the corresponding animation themselves in exercises not only have the learning effect of setting it up themselves, but also get their own overview of all currents and voltages.

It is even easy to create your own animation video with the CNS, as it is explained in
our HowTo video.