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Brushless Dc Motor Project In An Introduction To Electrical Engineering 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

Energy Curriculum Advancements

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.291.1 - 11.291.9



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Paper Authors


Stephen Williams Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Dr. Stephen Williams is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri in 1990 and has 20 years of experience across the corporate, government, and university sectors. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Wisconsin. He teaches courses in control systems, electronic design, and electromechanics.

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

Brushless DC Motor Project in an Introduction to Electrical Engineering Course

Abstract—Brushless dc motor project kits are used in teaching an introduction to electrical engineering course. The simple-to-construct motor kits provide exposure to elementary circuits, magnetics, electronics, and feedback systems. Students purchase individual kits along with assembly instructions for building a device that demonstrates elementary feedback operation. Feedback signals are generated using magnetic and optical sensors. The feedback signal causes an electromechanical switch or a power transistor to actuate an electromagnetic coil. Additional benefits are a personally-built class memento; an animated, physical manifestation of electrical engineering; and a recruiting tool for future students. Assessment results are included that indicate a high degree of student satisfaction with the project.

Introduction A new brushless dc motor project has been developed for a two-week assignment in a first- year electrical engineering course (EE-100 Introduction to Electrical Engineering) offered by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). In this new project, students build and test a brushless dc motor that utilizes a variety of feedback sensor and power switching technologies. Students assemble and modify individual kits to create their own systems with active sensor controlled switching.

Our main goal is to provide a platform for introducing fundamental electrical engineering concepts such as voltage, current, magnetic flux, motor operation, amplification, and transistor switching which will capture student interest and allow for further exploration. In this paper, the project is placed within the context of the EE-100 course1; the basic brushless dc motor kit is described; and student experiences and assessment results are summarized.

Motivation for the Course At MSOE, first-year electrical engineering students are required to take a course, EE-100, to acquaint them with the field of electrical engineering, to excite them about the profession, and to improve retention2. In support of these goals, several criteria were developed: • Introduce the EE field with the intent of career choice affirmation3. A possible outcome is that the student may decide to change programs. However, it is believed that the majority of students find their decision to be the correct one, and have added enthusiasm for the program. • Acquaint the students with key EE faculty. The course is team-taught by the four EE faculty who are the academic advisors. • Provide a sense of community within the EE program. The new students meet the other EE freshmen, making them feel more welcome, comfortable, and part of a team during their first quarter on campus. • Reduce first-quarter stress. The pass/fail type grading system reduces the pressure of grades while encouraging the emerging engineers to experiment, with little chance of criticism or fear of failure. That is, show them that electrical engineering is fun!

Williams, S. (2006, June), Brushless Dc Motor Project In An Introduction To Electrical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--655

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