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A Controller Implementation using FPGA in LabVIEW Environment

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Computer Hardware and Simulation

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.36.1 - 23.36.11

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Paper Authors


Biswanath Samanta Georgia Southern University

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Dr. Biswanath Samanta is in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga. His expertise and research interests include broad areas of system dynamics and control,
robotics, mechatronics, intelligent systems, advanced signal processing, prognostics and health management, and applications of computational intelligence in engineering and biomedicine. Dr. Samanta has developed
and taught numerous courses in these areas and supervised students at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He has more than 100 refereed research articles published by professional bodies like
ASME, IMechE, AIAA, and IEEE. The papers are regularly cited by independent researchers in their publications (more than 1,500 citations). He is a member of ASEE, ASME and a senior member of IEEE.

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Jonathan Gregory Turner Georgia Southern University

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Jonathan Turner is a control systems engineer at Genetec Technology Automation in Greenville, South Carolina. He earned his master of science in Applied Engineering from Georgia Southern University in 2012. His research interests include intelligent and artificial neural network based control systems engineering; specifically the application of intelligent control systems in autonomous and mobile applications. His educational interests include supporting the integration of a unified arts and embedded electronics curriculum in early childhood education.

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A Controller Implementation using FPGA in LabVIEW EnvironmentAbstract: There is a wide-spread interest in field programmable gate array (FPGA) basedimplementation of controllers in industrial applications. To better prepare the engineeringstudents in this technology, especially those in control systems area, there is a need to provideaccess to FPGA based platforms with a high level programming language support in a laboratorysetting. To satisfy this need, FPGA based data acquisition and control systems form NationalInstruments (NI) along with LabVIEW were introduced in the Mechatronics and IntelligentSystems laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the author’s university. Thepaper presents the design and implementation of a control system using LabVIEW software andFPGA based hardware. As a project activity in a graduate Mechatronics course, a PID controllerwas developed to control the linear position of a rectilinear position control plant configured as acart and pendulum system. Details of control system design and implementation were presentedcovering (i) system identification, (ii) PID controller design, and (iii) implementation of thecontrol algorithm in LabVIEW software using NI PCI-7831R FPGA based reconfigurable dataacquisition (DAQ) hardware.A bump test was performed in which a 2 V step input was given to the system and the dataacquisition system was used to measure its response. The response of the system was used todevelop a mathematical model of the system which was in turn used to develop a PID controller.The controller performance specification was selected in terms of its transient responsecharacteristics, namely, the maximum overshoot and the settling time. The PID controller wasdesigned analytically and simulated to verify that the controller met the desired specification.The control algorithm was implemented in real time in LabVIEW. The FPGA based cardoperated in tandem with the computer in a host and worker configuration. A LabVIEW VirtualInstrument (VI) was developed for configuring the data acquisition ports, collecting data fromthe quadrature encoder attached to the cart, sending the signal to the motor amplifier, andcommunicating with the host computer. A second VI was developed to run on a host PC thatpreformed control calculations. The calculated control data were passed via the FPGA VI togenerate the appropriate control voltage to the motor driving the cart-pole system. The responseof the system under PID control and the control voltage were recorded using the host VI. Theresults verified that the system was meeting the design criteria. The control system performancewas also studied under varying external conditions. The full paper will present the details of theexperimentation, the VI development, and the results. The future activities and plans to includethis in a senior level undergraduate course will also be discussed.

Samanta, B., & Turner, J. G. (2013, June), A Controller Implementation using FPGA in LabVIEW Environment Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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