Module Title:Electrical Fundamentals
Language of Instruction:English
Credits: 10
NFQ Level:6
Module Delivered In 3 programme(s)
Teaching & Learning Strategies: Teaching will be conducted using lectures, tutorials and practicals. The Institute MLE will be used to evaluate the students’ understanding of the basic concepts during each section, using multiple choice questions. At the end of each section, self-test question sheets will be issued to the students. The practical sessions will be used to back up the theory.
Module Aim: The aim of this module is to give students an understanding of the principles of electric circuits, electric motors and generators
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to:
LO1 Describe the basic measurement units and their pre-fixes, used in electrical engineering
LO2 Perform calculations to permit the analysis of an electrical circuit (AC/DC).
LO3 Build and test a circuit in a laboratory environment
LO4 Describe how electricity is generated
LO5 Describe how AC and DC motors operate
Pre-requisite learning
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is recommended before enrolment in this module.

No recommendations listed
Incompatible Modules
These are modules which have learning outcomes that are too similar to the learning outcomes of this module.
No incompatible modules listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is mandatory before enrolment in this module is allowed.
No requirements listed

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Electron Theory
Structure and distribution of electrical charges within: atoms, molecules, ions, compounds; Molecular structure of conductors, semiconductors and insulators
Static Electricity and Conduction
Static electricity and distribution of electrostatic charges; Electrostatic laws of attraction and repulsion; Units of charge, Coulomb's Law; Conduction of electricity in solids, liquids, gases and a vacuum.
Electrical Terminology
The following terms, their units and factors affecting them: potential difference, electromotive force, voltage, current, resistance, conductance, charge, conventional current flow, electron flow
Generation of Electricity
Production of electricity by the following methods: light, heat, friction, pressure, chemical action, magnetism and motion.
DC Sources of Electricity
Construction and basic chemical action of: primary cells, secondary cells, lead acid cells, nickel cadmium cells, other alkaline cells; Cells connected in series and parallel; Internal resistance and its effect on a battery; Construction, materials and operation of thermocouples; Operation of photo-cells.
DC Circuits
Ohms Law, Kirchoff's Voltage and Current Laws; Calculations using the above laws to find resistance, voltage and current; Significance of the internal resistance of a supply.
Resistance and affecting factors; Specific resistance; Resistor colour code, values and tolerances, preferred values, wattage ratings; Resistors in series and parallel; Calculation of total resistance using series, parallel and series parallel combinations; Operation and use of potentiometers and rheostats; Operation of Wheatstone Bridge. Positive and negative temperature coefficient conductance; Fixed resistors, stability, tolerance and limitations, methods of construction; Variable resistors, thermistors, voltage dependent resistors; Construction of potentiometers and rheostats; Construction of Wheatstone Bridge;
Power, work and energy (kinetic and potential); Dissipation of power by a resistor; Power formula; Calculations involving power, work and energy.
Operation and function of a capacitor; Factors affecting capacitance area of plates, distance between plates, number of plates, dielectric and dielectric constant, working voltage, voltage rating; Capacitor types, construction and function; Capacitor colour coding; Calculations of capacitance and voltage in series and parallel circuits; Exponential charge and discharge of a capacitor, time constants; Testing of capacitors.
Theory of magnetism; Properties of a magnet; Action of a magnet suspended in the Earth's magnetic field; Magnetisation and demagnetisation; Magnetic shielding; Various types of magnetic material; Electromagnets construction and principles of operation; Hand clasp rules to determine: magnetic field around current carrying conductor. Magnetomotive force, field strength, magnetic flux density, permeability, hysteresis loop, retentivity, coercive force reluctance, saturation point, eddy currents; Precautions for care and storage of magnets.
Faraday's Law; Action of inducing a voltage in a conductor moving in a magnetic field; Induction principles; Effects of the following on the magnitude of an induced voltage: magnetic field strength, rate of change of flux, number of conductor turns; Mutual induction; The effect the rate of change of primary current and mutual inductance has on induced voltage; Factors affecting mutual inductance: number of turns in coil, physical size of coil, permeability of coil, position of coils with respect to each other; Lenz's Law and polarity determining rules; Back emf, self induction; Saturation point; Principle uses of inductors
DC Motor/Generator Theory
Basic motor and generator theory; Construction and purpose of components in DC generator; Operation of, and factors affecting output and direction of current flow in DC generators; Operation of, and factors affecting output power, torque, speed and direction of rotation of DC motors; Series wound, shunt wound and compound motors; Starter Generator construction.
AC Theory
Sinusoidal waveform: phase, period, frequency, cycle; Instantaneous, average, root mean square, peak, peak to peak current values and calculations of these values, in relation to voltage, current and power Triangular/Square waves; Single/3 phase principles.
Resistive (R), Capacitive (C) and Inductive (L) Circuits
Phase relationship of voltage and current in L, C and R circuits, parallel, series and series parallel; Power dissipation in L, C and R circuits; Impedance, phase angle, power factor and current calculations; True power, apparent power and reactive power calculations.
Transformer construction principles and operation; Transformer losses and methods for overcoming them; Transformer action under load and no-load conditions; Power transfer, efficiency, polarity markings; Calculation of line and phase voltages and currents; Calculation of power in a three phase system; Primary and Secondary current, voltage, turns ratio, power, efficiency; Auto transformers.
Operation, application and uses of the following filters: low pass, high pass, band pass, band stop.
AC Generators
Rotation of loop in a magnetic field and waveform produced; Operation and construction of revolving armature and revolving field type AC generators; Single phase, two phase and three phase alternators; Three phase star and delta connections advantages and uses; Permanent Magnet Generators.
AC Motors
Construction, principles of operation and characteristics of: AC synchronous and induction motors both single and polyphase; Methods of speed control and direction of rotation; Methods of producing a rotating field: capacitor, inductor, shaded or split pole.
Assessment Breakdown%
Continuous Assessment10.00%
End of Module Formal Examination70.00%
Special Regulation
It is mandatory that learners successfully complete the practical assessment.
Continuous Assessment
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Examination Learners will engage in at least 1 formative task within the first 6 weeks and at least 2 forms of summative assessment shall be used in the module. 1,2,4,5 10.00 Week 6
No Project
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Practical/Skills Evaluation Practical Assignments: Learners will undertake a series of practical tasks in order to complete a Manual of laboratory reports. Practical tests: Learners will complete practical tasks for summative assessment. 2,3 20.00 Every Week
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Formal Exam No Description 1,2,4,5 70.00 End-of-Semester

ITCarlow reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Every Week 3.00
Practicals Every Week 3.00
Tutorial Every Week 1.00
Independent Learning Every Week 4.00
Total Hours 11.00

Module Delivered In

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
CW_EEAER_B Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Aerospace Engineering 1 Mandatory
CW_EEACS_D Bachelor of Engineering in Aircraft Systems 1 Mandatory
CW_EEPLT_D Bachelor of Science in Pilot Studies 1 Mandatory