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Definition for electronic workbench


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electronic workbench 4.0

An electronics tutor that teaches the principles of analogue and digital circuitry.

At a time when school budgets are 9 under increasing pressure IE3 Electronics Workbench 4.0 is a very welcome package that puts a complete electronics laboratory on every student`s Mac for just 500.
Version 3.0 of Electronic Workbench was recommended highly but suffered from a few significant omissions. In version 4.0 all but one of these niggles have been ironed out and there are a number of very welcome improvements.
Perhaps the most important addition to the package is that it now supports mixedmode circuits; analogue and digital components sit sidebyside in a single easytouse interface. The revamped opening screen breaks down into three key areas: a workspace where the bulk of the circuitbuilding takes place a parts bin containing a catalogue of several hundred components and an impressive line up of test instruments below the Mac`s tool bar.
Building a circuit with Electronics Workbench is straightforward. All you have to do is click on the required components in the parts bin drag them into the workspace and connect them together by dragging out a wire between terminals.
A wide range of passive active and IC components are supported so that as well as the usual suspects resistors capacitors inductors transistors diodes and so on version 4.0 comes with an eclectic assortment of multiplexers shift registers and over 140 integrated circuits.
Other welcome additions include the provision of multiple input gates on all logic circuits. The developers have also paid attention to criticisms of the earlier version and included variable resistors capacitors and inductors for performing whatif analysis on tuned circuits. Although it is disappointing that it is still not possible to attribute tolerances to passive devices making this package of limited use for developing realworld applications.
Once a circuit is complete analysis can be carried out very quickly using an impressive array of virtual test equipment that would normally cost tens of thousands of pounds.
On the analogue side an oscilloscope multimeter ammeter and voltmeter are provided for analysing simple passive and tuned circuits together with a Bode plotter for testing frequency response.
The power of this mixandmatch approach is that it allows students to develop a sophisticated understanding of any circuit under analysis very quickly. The digital module works in much the same way providing a respectable range of offtheshelf logic gates timers and integrated circuits which can be cobbled together quickly and tested with a variety of complex analysis tools.
Digital tools on offer include a word generator for simulating complex digital inputs a logic analyser for sampling outputs and a wholly virtual tool called the Logic Converter which generates logic circuits automatically from truth tables or conversely recreates the truth table from any logic circuit.
Included in the package are 50 or so prebuilt circuits a couple of Radio Shack project books and a comprehensive wellwritten manual. There is enough here to take students from the basics to a very sophisticated understanding of a variety of electronic components and circuits.
As with any realworld discipline there is no substitute for actual experimentation. Nevertheless Electronic Workbench is a very impressive package that both relieves the pressure on education budgets and greatly accelerates learning.

Electronic Workbench 4.0
**** 1/2

Pros Easy to use

Idealised components mean the package is limited when developing realworld applications
Manufacturer Interactive Image Technologies
Price 199; school site licence 500; 10 user licence 1500
Support Free
Contact Robinson Marshall 01203 2332

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