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A Laboratory Based Instrumentation Course For Non Ee Majors

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.30.1 - 5.30.9



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Paper Authors

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Stephen C. Crist

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2559

A Laboratory-Based Instrumentation Course for Non-EE Majors

Stephen C. Crist Department of Electrical Engineering Western New England College


An instrumentation course that is required of second semester sophomores majoring in mechanical and industrial engineering at Western New England College is described. It is intended that students completing this course can easily learn to use more sophisticated electrical and computer-based measuring systems in junior and senior level mechanical and industrial engineering labs, and if necessary design their own measuring systems for project work in the senior year. Courses of this type run the spectrum of specialized electronics courses similar to what EE’s might take to courses utilizing sophisticated software packages and ready-made interfaces. This course is best described as being in between these two extremes. The students are not expected to be experts at electrical design or computer interfacing upon completion, but they will have experienced first-hand some of the issues involved. This will hopefully make them more intelligent and effective users of the available tools for measurement that are currently available. The first half of the course covers electrical signal conditioning, including simple filters, bridges, and difference amplifiers. The properties of the transducers are also studied. Students are given laboratory exercises where they design such circuits to convert signals from thermistors, strain gauges, and thermocouples to signals suitable for digitization. Students must not only learn the principles of the transducers and simple circuits; they must deal with having only certain parts available. The second half of the course covers the digital side of measuring systems. Students learn the basics of A-D and D-A conversion, and do one or two experiments using these devices. They also learn the basics of handshaking I/O. In the last experiment, students write a simple BASIC program to accomplish handshaking input with their A-D converter using two simple ports. The paper includes details on the experiments, a description of the student reporting requirements, and feedback from students and engineering faculty on the course.

Crist, S. C. (2000, June), A Laboratory Based Instrumentation Course For Non Ee Majors Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8529

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