Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson

I am a Reader in Electrical Engineering, teaching electronics and electrical machines and supervising student projects. I also work in the planning and design of engineering education.

Location United Kingdom


  • Not an essential pre-requisite, it depends what you wish to do. Sometimes we only need very little power from a sensor in which case ensuring you get optimum voltage transfer is best. To do that, you want the input impedance of your amplifier to be much greater than the output impedance of the sensor.

  • Yes that method helps with management of the flow of people, but would be hard to fit retrospectively on an underground line.

  • And when it does work - nobody notices!

  • The volt amps thing comes into play with AC power, certain types of motor are a good example. The current supplied has to provide power both to do work and to set up the magnetic field. The magnetic field energy is "borrowed" in the sense that when the motor is turned off, the magnetic field collapses and the energy flows back to the source. But in use we have...

  • What gives it away Eduardo?

  • Do you know the reason why power ratings are given in VA?

  • When I first came across this example I was struck how many different physical processes have to be considered. It makes for really interesting projects.

  • Please follow the link

  • Resistance is the ratio of voltage across something to the current through it. We are often told that it is a measure of how much a material opposes the flow of current, but that definition leads to confusion. There is no opposition to the flow of current in a wire. The amount of current is determined by the properties of the metal and the length and diameter...

  • The resistors are needed to get the chip to amplify the signal. We have to choose the values to get the size of output signal we want. Impedance matters because it affects the power transferred through the system. Imagine you are in a room and you start shouting. Because the walls have a different impedance to the air, your shouts get reflected back to you...

  • Would anybody like to help Phil?

  • This is an excellent example of how we tend to take engineering for granted. Stuff works, so we don't think about it.

  • That's true - connecting things together requires consideration of the input and output impedances, if we wish to transfer maximum power for example. Put a short circuit on the output of many electrical systems, to take an extreme example, and you may be in trouble!

  • That's very well put, thank you.

  • I would say yes - an actuator that is driven by an electric motor to create movement is converting electrical energy to mechanical energy (probably with a magnetic field as the intermediary).

  • Yes, and you can use a loudspeaker (or at least the principle) backwards as a microphone

  • I'd say it is where you convert energy from one form to another in a small scale for use locally. A very old fashioned example would be a dynamo to power the lights on a push bike. There are many more modern examples - could you use the movements of your running shoes to charge your phone for example? The challenge in such applications is to convert energy...

  • In the past I've had students take computer keyboards apart. it's really interesting to see how the mechanical design of a keyboard can be used to give effective feedback on the data entry process. of course you can't check the that the data makes sense but you can confirm that data was entered through the feel and sound of the keys. You can also see how the...

  • The output of a sequential logic system is determined by both the present values of the inputs and sequence of events that led to those present values. Is that better?

  • In my teaching I try not to use the phrase "opposes the flow of current" because all conventional electrical conductors have some resistance. Without the conductors, wires etc, there would be no current flow. So I think it is better to interpret Ohm's law in this way: The resistance of a component determines the current that flows from a voltage source. Or if...

  • A lot of excellent ideas here. John's suggestion of the Futurelearn course as a system for learning was wonderful; you're all providing inputs and processing each other's inputs. Sometimes another learner evaluates and provides feedback on your input which leads to a refinement of everybody's understanding as an output. Comparing all the examples, we can see...

  • Yes, that's a good way to put it.

  • I think this is a useful way to look at what we design. Often we expect our technology will act in accordance with the way we think. When we come across something new, we may have to re-evaluate - we have to learn. A really novel product inspires us to learn and be able to do things we never expected or imagined. On the other hand, a product that confounds our...

  • Thank you Shareef for helping out your fellow learners

  • Yes, it helps to know what people are talking about in all branches of engineering.

  • That's where I started too, there's lots more to the subject as you'll see

  • I hope you enjoy the course.

  • There is a type setting error in the speed, which is 10(6) m s-1. Then the calculation of the current density is correct.

  • Alan, thank you for your feedback about this.

  • Thank you Renate, I'm glad you have enjoyed it.

  • Thanks Paul

  • Thank you John for adding a lot of contextual information to the course. It has been interesting to me and I'm sure to others too to hear your thoughts. We hoped to show Engineering as something that happens in society, that is done by people and that has impacts on other people; we didn't want to just cover some technical material. Your comments make me think...

  • We often say to our students that the way they learn, and how to learn, are as important as what they're learning. I pointed out to some of them that they'll still be working in the second half of the 21st century - I'm not sure they all liked that message!

  • I did guess you had some experience!

  • That's good to see Kathryn

  • Yes, too short. There's so much we could have done.

  • I'm glad you enjoyed the course Chris, and thanks for your feedback

  • The more you look into these things, the more amazing they seem

  • That's good to see Gustavo

  • I'm glad you've enjoyed it Stuart

  • Yes, and system failure should lead to a safe state

  • At this stage it is interesting to go back to what we all thought the system should achieve. Are we meeting those requirements. Are we giving enough information to all the users?

  • When writing this section, I found it useful to write down exactly what we wanted to achieve in short phrases expressing one idea at a time. Such phrases often match to the definition of one of the logic gates.