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An L/C Meter Project Provides A Capstone Experience In Topics Of Applied Design Course

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Electrical ET Projects and Applications

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.206.1 - 11.206.14



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Paper Authors


James Everly University of Cincinnati

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James O. Everly is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at the University of Cincinnati. He received a BSEE and MSEE from The Ohio State University in 1969 and 1970, respectively. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a registered professional engineer in the state of Ohio. He is currently Chair of the IEEE Cincinnati Section, and in 1997 he received the IEEE Professional Achievement Award. He has held several research and management positions in industry working for such companies as Battelle's Columbus Laboratories, Rockwell International, and Claspan Corporation. He joined the University of Cincinnati in 1985.

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

An L/C Meter Project Provides a Capstone Design Experience in Topics of Applied Design Course


This paper focuses on both the analog and digital facets of an inductance-capacitance (LC) Meter Project designed as a capstone experience for pre-junior students in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at the University of Cincinnati. The capstone LC Meter Project is structured to support the course goals and objectives of "Topics of Applied Design" offered at the beginning of the junior year. The paper presents the analog and digital components of the "LC Meter concept" together with the theory of operation. A secondary goal of the project is to prepare students for the upcoming Senior Design Capstone Experience required for a baccalaureate degree in engineering technology. To this end, students are required to implement a product packaging concept and maintain a project journal to record ideas, data, test results, and experiences throughout the project. To date, student feedback on this project has been very positive and a representative selection of student comments is included in the paper.


The course "Topics of Applied Design" is offered autumn quarter of the junior year for students in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at the University of Cincinnati. Prerequisites for the course include three course sequences in electronics, electric circuits, and digital electronics. The third course in digital electronics is a course in assembly language programming. In essence, students have completed the requirements for an associate degree in engineering technology. The primary focus at the beginning of the junior year is to introduce students to a course in applied design utilizing a "capstone project" as a learning vehicle to bring together concepts previously introduced in both analog and digital electronics.

The analog component of the project consists of a 500 kHz oscillator implemented with an LM311 comparator integrated circuit, together with an LC "tank circuit" formed with inductance and capacitance elements that determine the oscillating frequency. At the outset of the course students are presented with a set of equations that characterize the unknown element, L or C, via a change in oscillator frequency. Initially hand calculations for the unknown L or C are encouraged. Subsequently, students are required to modify an existing Visual Basic program in order to rapidly implement solutions for unknown inductance or capacitance values. A group of 5% silver-mica capacitors are measured with a known standard instrument and the results are compared with the "frequency-shifted oscillator method." These measurements are tabulated and "percent error" is used as a figure of merit for accuracy comparison.

The digital component of the project features an Atmel AVR AT90S2313 microcontroller programmed in assembly language to determine the oscillator frequency and to compute the value of the inductor or capacitor under test. Finally, the paper discusses the project prototype which is constructed using "Manhattan Style" building techniques described by Adams [1]. This technique consists of gluing isolated pads of printed circuit board material to a base copper-clad

Everly, J. (2006, June), An L/C Meter Project Provides A Capstone Experience In Topics Of Applied Design Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--615

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