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A Microprocessor Based Control System Project For An Integrated Freshman Curriculum

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Embedded Computing

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.56.1 - 14.56.17



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Paper Authors

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Michael Swanbom Louisiana Tech University

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Davis Harbour Louisiana Tech University

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Hisham Hegab Louisiana Tech University

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Danny Eddy Louisiana Tech University

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

Microprocessor-Based Control System Project for Integrated Freshman Curriculum


A project has been developed and implemented in which the temperature and salinity are controlled in a small volume of water which is circulated using a small pump. A conductivity sensor measures salinity, and a Resistance Temperature Device (RTD) monitors temperature, providing data to a BASIC Stamp controller. Two relays are used to operate solenoid valves that release either fresh or salty water into the system, and a third relay is used to activate a heating element used to control temperature. A cascaded switching arrangement utilizing transistors allows the BASIC Stamp to drive these high-current devices. A DC motor-driven pump continuously circulates water through a fluid loop into which the conductivity sensor is integrated. Students fabricate an inline conductivity sensor (using a 555 timer), the RTD (using photolithography), a heating element (using a high-wattage resistor) and a wooden platform to which all of the components are mounted. The students develop programs to accomplish closed- loop control of the system, as well as provide a user interface where key system parameters are displayed. As part of our integrated freshman curriculum, this project provides hands-on experience to accompany traditional approaches to teaching science and engineering fundamentals including conservation of mass and energy, basic salt-water chemistry and electric circuitry. Assessment of the skills imparted through this project is provided using before and after survey data measuring student confidence in designing, fabricating and testing a working electro-mechanically controlled system.

Swanbom, M., & Harbour, D., & Hegab, H., & Eddy, D. (2009, June), A Microprocessor Based Control System Project For An Integrated Freshman Curriculum Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5300

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