Electrical Engineering is one of the optional subjects of the IAS mains examination conducted by the UPSC civil service authority. Aspirants commonly choose it with a background in electrical engineering in their graduation. There are two papers in the examination on this subject – paper 1 and paper 2. Each paper carries 250 marks each, with time duration allotted as three hours for each one of them.
Electrical Engineering Syllabus for UPSC
Electrical Engineering Optional Paper I Syllabus
- Circuit Theory: Circuit components; network graphs; KCL, KVL; circuit analysis methods: nodal analysis, mesh analysis; basic network theorems and applications; transient analysis: RL, RC and RLC circuits; sinusoidal steady state analysis; resonant circuits; coupled circuits; balanced 3-phase circuits; Two-port networks.
- Signals & Systems: Representation of continuous-time and discrete-time signals & systems; LTI systems; convolution; impulse response; time-domain analysis of LTI systems based on convolution and differential/difference equations. Fourier transform, Laplace transform, Z-transform, Transfer function. Sampling and recovery of signals DFT, FFT Processing of analog signals through discrete-time systems.
- E.M. Theory: Maxwell’s equations, wave propagation in bounded media. Boundary conditions, reflection and refraction of plane waves. Transmission line: travelling and standing waves, impedance matching, Smith chart.
- Analog Electronics: Characteristics and equivalent circuits (large and small-signal) of Diode, BJT, JFET and MOSFET. Diode circuits: clipping, clamping, rectifier. Biasing and bias stability. FET amplifiers. Current mirror; Amplifiers: single and multi-stage, differential, operational, feedback and power. Analysis of amplifiers; frequency response of amplifiers. OPAMP circuits. Filters; sinusoidal oscillators: criterion for oscillation; single-transistor and OPAMP configurations. Function generators and wave-shaping circuits. Linear and switching power supplies.
- Digital Electronics: Boolean algebra; minimization of Boolean functions; logic gates; digital IC families (DTL, TTL, ECL, MOS, CMOS). Combinational circuits: arithmetic circuits, code converters, multiplexers and decoders. Sequential circuits: latches and flip-flops, counters and shift-registers. Comparators, timers, multivibrators. Sample and hold circuits, ADCs and DACs. Semiconductor memories. Logic implementation using programmable devices (ROM, PLA, FPGA).
- Energy Conversion: Principles of electromechanical energy conversion: Torque and emf in rotating machines. DC machines: characteristics and performance analysis; starting and speed control of motors; Transformers: principles of operation and analysis; regulation, efficiency; 3-phase transformers. 3-phase induction machines and synchronous machines: characteristics and performance analysis; speed control.
- Power Electronics and Electric Drives: Semiconductor power devices: diode, transistor, thyristor, triac, GTO and MOSFET-static characteristics and principles of operation; triggering circuits; phase control rectifiers; bridge converters: fully controlled and half-controlled; principles of thyristor choppers and inverters; DCDC converters; Switch mode inverter; basic concepts of speed control of dc and ac Motor drives applications of variable speed drives.
- Analog Communication: Random variables: continuous, discrete; probability, probability functions. Statistical averages; probability models; Random signals and noise: white noise, noise equivalent bandwidth; signal transmission with noise; signal to noise ratio. Linear CW modulation: Amplitude modulation: DSB, DSB-SC and SSB. Modulators and Demodulators; Phase and Frequency modulation: PM & FM signals; narrowband FM; generation & detection of FM and PM, Deemphasis, Preemphasis. CW modulation system: Superhetrodyne receivers, AM receivers, communication receivers, FM receivers, phase locked loop, SSB receiver Signal to noise ratio calculation for AM and FM receivers.
Electrical Engineering Optional Paper II Syllabus
- Control Systems: Elements of control systems; block-diagram representation; open-loop & closed loop systems; principles and applications of feed-back. Control system components. LTI systems: time-domain and transform-domain analysis. Stability: Routh Hurwitz criterion, root-loci, Bode plots and polar plots, Nyquist’s criterion; Design of lead-lad compensators. Proportional, PI, PID controllers. State variable representation and analysis of control systems.
- Microprocessors and Microcomputers: PC organization; CPU, instruction set, register set, timing diagram, programming, interrupts, memory interfacing, I/O interfacing, programmable peripheral devices.
- Measurement and Instrumentation: Error analysis; measurement of current, voltage, power, energy, power-factor, resistance, inductance, capacitance and frequency; bridge measurement. Signal conditioning circuit; Electronic measuring instruments: multimeter, CRO, digital voltmeter, frequency counter, Q-meter, spectrum-analyzer, distortion-meter. Transducers: thermocouple, thermistor, LVDT, strain-gauge, piezo-electric crystal.
- Power Systems: Analysis and Control: Steady-state performance of overhead transmission lines and cables; principles of active and reactive power transfer and distribution; per-unit quantities; bus admittance and impedance matrices; load flow; voltage control and power factor correction; economic operation; symmetrical components, analysis of symmetrical and unsymmetrical faults. Concept of system stability: swing curves and equal area criterion. Static VAR system. Basic concepts of HVDC transmission.
- Power System Protection: Principles of over current, differential and distance protection. Concept of solid state relays. Circuit breakers. Computer aided protection: Introduction; line bus, generator, transformer protection; numeric relays and application of DSP to protection.
- Digital Communication: Pulse code modulation (PCM), differential pulse code modulation (DPCM), delta modulation (DM), Digital modulation and demodulation schemes: amplitude, phase and frequency keying schemes (ASK, PSK, FSK). Error control coding: error detection and correction, linear block codes, convolution codes. Information measure and source coding. Data networks, 7-layer architecture.
Preparation tips for Electrical Engineering optional subject in UPSC mains examination
Electrical engineering is a purely technical subject with lots of numerical and problem-solving questions. Candidates with sound knowledge and foundation in the subject with a specialization degree should ideally opt for it. Trying to learn concepts in the last hour without any background knowledge in it is not suggested. Here are some useful preparation tips for the subject:
- On the outset, there is no readymade content for answers or solutions available for the subject; most of the topics need good researching from standard reference books.
- This subject is a core technical specialization, needs immense problem-solving skills.
- Own a good collection of reference books that provide solved example problems. The more you have for reference, the better.
- Keep a huge list of all important formulae that you will need to refer to and keep revising them often to avoid confusion.
- After getting a stronghold on the conceptual part, solve the unsolved problems in reference books by yourself. Practice more questions to gain good confidence.
- Speed and accuracy in problem-solving are as essential as writing descriptive answers for electrical paper.
- Problems are often lengthy and elaborate. Chances of making errors and mistakes are very high. Be wise and prudent in your choices and attempt those questions that will fetch you higher marks than attempting questions attached to risk factors.
- Between devices, motors, and circuits, the chances of concepts getting overlapped and confusion arising in problems is relatively high. Try and avoid such problem areas.
- Derivations are an essential part of electrical engineering paper. They can be expected questions too.
- Advantages, disadvantages, and comparison types of questions can also be quite expected, as you can see in many previous papers.
Suggestive books for reference
- Reference book on Electrical Circuits by authors Hast & Kimberly, from TMH Series.
- Book on Electromagnetic Theory written by Saddique, by Oxford Publications
- Textbook on Electromagnetic Waves written by Jordan & Balmian
- Reference book on Analog and Digital Communications by author K. Sam Shanmugam
- Textbook on Micro electronics by authors Milliman and Grabe
- Textbook on Digital Electronics by author R P Jain.
- Book on Electrical Machines by Nagrath and Kothari
- Textbook on Power Electronics by author P.S.Bhimbra
- Textbook on Signals and Systems from Schaum Series
- Book on Modern Control Systems written by Nagrath and Gopal
- Reference book on Non Conventional Energy resources. Written by G.D.Rai for Khanna Publications
- Textbook on Power Systems by author Ashfaq Hussein
- Textbook on 8085 Microprocessor written by Ramesh S Gaonkar
- Concept explanation of ‘ Electrical Engineering Materials’ by authors Seth & Gupta