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Automated Test & Measurement System for a Power Supply and Control Board

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Instrumentation Technical Session

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Paper Authors


David R. Loker Pennsylvania State University, Erie

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David R. Loker received the M.S.E.E. degree from Syracuse University in 1986. In 1984, he joined General Electric (GE) Company, AESD, as a design engineer. In 1988, he joined the faculty at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. In 2007, he became the Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Program. His research interests include wireless sensor networks, data acquisition systems, and communications systems.

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Stephen A. Strom Pennsylvania State University, Erie

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Stephen Strom is a lecturer in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology department of Penn State Behrend, and holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. His career includes over thirty years experience in designing and programming embedded systems and has multiple patents for both hardware designs and software algorithms

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As part of the requirements in a junior-level measurements & instrumentation course (for an Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology program), students are required to complete an end-of-semester team design project. One possible project is the design and implementation of an automated test & measurement system for a power supply and control board (PSCB). For this project, students design and build the PSCB to meet these requirements: one DC output voltage, one function generator output with user selectable waveform type (sinusoidal, triangular, square waveform) and user selectable amplitude and frequency adjustments, four simultaneous TTL outputs, and four simultaneous TTL inputs. The function generator is implemented using a Cypress Semiconductor Programmable System-On-Chip (PSoC) prototyping kit. Using a National Instruments data acquisition device with analog I/O and digital I/O capability, students design an automated test & measurement system for testing the PSCB. Software is implemented with a state machine using LabVIEW. The program provides instructions to the user, using pop-up windows and/or text indicators, during the test. The program also prompts the user for adjustments (pots, switches, etc.) during the test. Additionally, the program writes test data to a file on disk. The file contains the user name, time & date stamp, and the serial number of the PSCB. This paper provides a detailed listing of the engineering requirements for the project. For the software design, functional requirements and operating sequence are provided. A summary of the contents of student reference materials and the lab handout are also included. Assessment results showing grading statistics, lab report format, and grading rubric, are provided. An example of student work is included, along with a project assessment. Recommendations are shown to help ensure student success on the project.

Loker, D. R., & Strom, S. A. (2016, June), Automated Test & Measurement System for a Power Supply and Control Board Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26358

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