Control system experiments at home

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Most mechanical engineering curricula include courses in system dynamics, controls, mechatronics, and vibrations, but these courses often do not have a laboratory component. Even if there is such a component, laboratory access is often limited, and thus there is a need to increase students' laboratory experience. This paper addresses the development and testing of instructional material in the form of take-home hardware kits and software that can be used to perform control system experiments at home. The students are given a compact, low-cost hardware kit and software with which they can perform an experiment at home using only their PC/laptop. The kit consists of three components. These are: a hardware interface board which interfaces with the student's PC and with the experiment hardware, a Windows-based user interface program that the students download to their computer, and the experimental setup. Five experiments have been developed. Here we report on two of these experiments that involve control systems: a DC motor/tachometer system and a heater/temperature sensor system. Administration of the kits in several mechanical engineering courses has shown that the kits were effective in improving student understanding of key concepts. © 2011 IEEE.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE