# Plotting a unit step function without heaviside.

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Hannah Chamberlain on 4 Feb 2017
Commented: Adam Turton on 3 Oct 2019
So for my class I need to be able to plot
Xg(t)= u(t+1)-2u(t-1)+u(t-3)
Xh(t)=(t+1_u(t-1)-tu(t)-u(t-2)
and a whole other host of things but for these ones I'm confused on how to do it without the heaviside function. I got an answer for just u(t) was:
t = (-1:0.01:5)';
unitstep = t>=0;
plot(t,unitstep)
This worked.
When I tried to get it to shift instead the line became more of a ramp function.
t = (-1:0.01:5)';
unitstep = t>=0;
u1 = unitstep.*(t+1)
plot(t,u1)
What am I doing wrong?

noushad moosa on 17 Apr 2018
>> t = (-1:0.01:5)'; unitstep = t>=0; plot(t,unitstep) >> t = (-1:0.01:5)'; unitstep = t>=1; plot(t,unitstep) >> t = (-1:0.01:5)'; unitstep = t>=0; plot(t,10*unitstep) >> t = (-1:0.01:5)'; unitstep = t>=0;unitstep1 = t>=1; plot(t,unitstep);figure;plot(t,unitstep1) >> plot(t,unitstep-unitstep) >> plot(t,unitstep-unitstep1)
Ulfah Nizam on 19 Dec 2018
what does 0.01 means in
t =(-1:0.01:5)';
Adam Turton on 3 Oct 2019
Matlab has an issue with jump discontinuities, so 0.01 makes it so that it "updates" the function to the correct placement, allowing what would otherwise plot as a ramp function to show as a near vertical line.

Chad Greene on 4 Feb 2017
Edited: Chad Greene on 4 Feb 2017
Hi Hannah,
Your unitstep contains only zeros and ones. So when you plot
plot(t,unitstep)
it's a Heaviside function, just as you expect. But when you multiply unitstep by t, you end up plotting zeros wherever unitstep is zero, and the values of t (not ones!) wherever unitstep is one. If you're trying to move a simple Heaviside function left or right, try this:
t = (-1:0.01:5)';
unitstep = zeros(size(t));
% But make everything corresponding to t>=1 one:
unitstep(t>=1) = 1;
plot(t,unitstep,'b','linewidth',3)
% Repeat, with everything shifted to the right by 1 unit:
unitstep2 = zeros(size(t));
unitstep2(t>=2) = 1;
hold on
plot(t,unitstep2,'r:','linewidth',2)
box off Chad Greene on 6 Feb 2017
Run this:
% Define some nominal unit step:
t = (-1:0.01:5)';
unitstep = zeros(size(t));
unitstep(t>=1) = 1;
% Plot the unitstep twice:
plot(t,unitstep,'k-','linewidth',2)
axis([-2 5 0 1.5])
hold on
h = plot(t,unitstep,'b');
% Change the location of the unitstep:
for k = 0:30:1000
% Create a new unitstep:
newunitstep = zeros(size(t));
newunitstep(t>=(1.5*sind(k)+1)) = 1;
% Update the blue line with the new unitstep:
set(h,'ydata',newunitstep)
% Pause 0.2 seconds so you can see it:
pause(0.2)
end
Hannah Chamberlain on 6 Feb 2017
Thanks so much for the help. I think it wasn't working earlier because the value of t was too small. The only thing I still need to do is be able to add the functions together. So I need to do Xg(t)= u(t+1)-2u(t-1)+u(t-3). Here is my attempt. I don't think this is what it's suppose to look like.
t = (-2:0.01:5)';
unitstep = zeros(size(t));
% But make everything corresponding to t>=1 one:
unitstep(t>=-1) = 1;
%plot(t,unitstep,'b','linewidth',3)
% Repeat, with everything shifted to the right by 1 unit:
unitstep2 = zeros(size(t));
unitstep2(t>=1) = 1;
%hold on
unitstep3 = zeros(size(t));
unitstep3(t>=3) = 1;
Ut= unitstep+unitstep2+unitstep3;
plot(t,Ut)
axis([-2 5 0 4])
Chad Greene on 7 Feb 2017
Perhaps you wanted to multiply the unitsteps together rather than add them?

Les Beckham on 6 Feb 2017
You are very close to the first half of your goal.
Ut= unitstep+unitstep2+unitstep3;
should, I believe, reflect what you are calling Xg in your original problem. You might want to rename it to help you remember the connection between the code and the original equation. Also, you need to look at what the multipliers/coefficients are in your original Xg definition. u(t-1), which you are calling unitstep2 in your code, is multiplied by -2 when assembling the total Xg. This is not reflected in your code.
I think you can figure it out from here.

Hannah Chamberlain on 7 Feb 2017
Thank you so much for you help!! It was enough that I was able to finish the rest of the assignment on my own.
Les Beckham on 8 Feb 2017
You are quite welcome.

sandeep singh on 27 Mar 2018
Edited: Chad Greene on 19 Apr 2018
plot(t,unitstep)
t = (-1:0.01:5)';
unitstep = zeros(size(t));
% But make everything corresponding to t>=1 one:
unitstep(t>=1) = 1;
plot(t,unitstep,'b','linewidth',3)
% Repeat, with everything shifted to the right by 1 unit:
unitstep2 = zeros(size(t));
unitstep2(t>=2) = 1;
hold on
plot(t,unitstep2,'r:','linewidth',2)
box off