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A Modeling And Controls Course Using Microcontrollers

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Controls, Mechatronics

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.58.1 - 10.58.7



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

A Modeling and Controls Course using Microcontrollers

Hugh Jack, Associate Professor School of Engineering, Grand Valley State University


Microcontrollers are being used to support the laboratory and project components of a junior level mechanical/manufacturing engineering course in system modeling and control. Previously the course primarily used Labview and Data AcQuisition (DAQ) cards with Personal Computers. However, upon completion of the course students were not able to design and implement practical control systems. Recently the course has been evolving towards low cost commodity hardware found in mass produced consumer products. This past year the course used custom designed cir- cuit boards based on the Atmel Mega32 microcontroller. While these new boards are low cost ($37), they support a much more relevant and mature set of pedagogical experiences.The objec- tive of the paper is to present enough information to allow other educators to evaluate the viability of the controllers for use in their own courses. All of the board designs, lab descriptions, sample programs and course textbook are available on the course home page [1].


EGR 345 - Dynamic System Modeling and Control is a course offered to junior level mechanical and manufacturing engineering students [1]. The course topics, listed below, include the model- ing, analysis, and control of mechanical and electrical systems starting with differential equations. Prerequisites for the course include EGR 261 - An introduction to C programming, EGR 226 - An Introduction to Digital Systems, EGR 214 - Circuit Analysis I, EGR 209 - Statics and Mechanics of Materials, and EGR 101 - CAD/CAM. • Translation • Bode Plots • Solving Differential Equations • Root Locus Plots • Numerical Methods • Non-linear Systems • Rotation • Analog IO • Transfer Functions • Sensors • Circuits • Actuators • Feedback Control Systems and Block Diagrams • Motion Control Systems • Phasor Analysis • Laplace Techniques

The lectures are supported by weekly laboratory exercises and a semester long project. Until 2002 the laboratory exercises were primarily based on Labview software and Data Acquisition Cards for measurement and control. This approach was convenient for rapidly prototyping simple sys-

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Jack, H. (2005, June), A Modeling And Controls Course Using Microcontrollers Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15559

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