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Developing An Advanced Digital Control Laboratory With A System On A Programmable Chip (Sopc)

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Instrumentation and Controls Laboratories

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.390.1 - 13.390.9



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Paper Authors


Faramarz Mossayebi Youngstown State University

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F. Mossayebi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Youngstown State University teaching in the area of digital systems including computer architecture and embedded systems, digital signal processing and controls. His primary area of interest includes modeling and simulation of nonlinear dynamical systems, digital signal processing, and control.

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Frank Li Youngstown State University

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Dr. Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Youngstown State University since 2006. He is the co-director of the Electromagnetic Field Research and Instrumentation Center. Dr. Li serves as a Co-PI for “High Power Magnetic Field Measurements of High Temperature Superconductor Magnetic Field Measurement” researches sponsored by Ajax Tocco Magnethermic Corporation. Dr. Li conducts research in the fields of microwave engineering, electron spin resonance, atomic force microscopy, superconductivity, and electromegnetic compatibilities.

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Eric Lombardo YSU

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Eric Lombardo received his B.E. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Youngstown state University in 2004 and 2006, respectively. He was an Industrial Control Systems Engineer at Schroeder Industries and presently employed by Mine Safety Appliances Company in Pittsburgh, PA.

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CHITRA RAJAGOPAL Kent State University, Tuscarawas Campus

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Ms Chitra Rajagopal is Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology at the Kent State University, Tuscarawas Campus, where she teaches electrical and electronic engineering technology courses in in-person and on-line formats. She is currently researching on embedded system design, microcontrollers and control system.

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

Developing an Advanced Digital Control Laboratory with a System-On-a-Programmable-Chip (SOPC)


To better prepare students in the areas of computer architecture, embedded systems and control systems, an advance digital control systems laboratory is currently under development as part of our strategic plan to offer a Computer Engineering Program next year. In order to bridge the gap between the computer engineering design courses and practical industrial control system courses we designed experiments, one example of which will be explained in details, to provide students with the ability to take what they have learned in digital design courses and apply it toward what has been learned in a control system courses. This approach also provides us with a more efficient use of our laboratory resources in terms of both space and equipments.


Control systems can be found almost everywhere, from automobiles to factories and home. The advancement of microcontroller’s technology and availability of microcontrollers with advance capabilities at low cost has resulted in the migration of control system from analog domain to digital one in the past two decades. At present, this advancement in technology has resulted in the availability of soft processing core at relatively cheep price. That is, an entire microprocessor core can be programmed and downloaded into a chip “on the fly”. This advancement has provided the opportunity to integrate and/or use laboratory resources traditionally used in advance digital laboratories for an advance control laboratory.

An integral part of our digital system laboratory experiments centers around the teaching of VHDL and programming Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and Complex Programmable Logic Devices (CPLDs). The primary platforms used, until last year, in our laboratory had been Altera’s UP2 boards, which we have had for the past several years. Recently we have purchased and employed a more advanced platform, the Altera DE2 Development and Education board. This board is equipped with a Cyclone II FPGA and is supplied with NIOS II, a customizable soft processing core with a 32-bit RISC instruction set as well as branch predictions, hardware multiplications and divisions. The DE2 boards are currently used in our embedded system design course for SOPC applications. The SOPC are a popular architecture that is widely used in the digital system design applications1-3. The resources available with this board are adequate for an advanced digital system laboratory, which we are presently in the process of developing and refining.

One of the experimental setups that we have successfully implemented, provide an empirical example of a Fuzzy logic controlled system and is the main subject of this report. The plant being controlled is a model of a heating and cooling process to maintain a constant air temperature in a confined space. Figure 1 shows the experimental setup, where the ambient temperature is increased with the use of a modified hair dryer blowing heated air into the enclosure and lowered by one DC fan blowing room temperature air into the enclosure and one

Mossayebi, F., & Li, F., & Lombardo, E., & RAJAGOPAL, C. (2008, June), Developing An Advanced Digital Control Laboratory With A System On A Programmable Chip (Sopc) Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4180

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