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Dsp Based Real Time Control Systems Design, Analysis, And Implementation For Reinforcement Of Controls Education

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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

Design of Laboratory Experiments

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.498.1 - 11.498.12



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Paper Authors

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Ahmed Rubaai Howard University


James Johnson Howard University

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James H. Johnson, Jr. received his B.S. from Howard University, M.S. from the University of Illinois and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. Currently, he is a professor of civil engineering and Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences at Howard University. Prior to this appointment, he was the chair of the Department of Civil Engineering and interim associate vice president for Research for Howard University. Dr. Johnson’s research interests include the treatment and disposal of hazardous substances, the evaluation of environmental policy issues in relation to minorities, the development of environmental curricula and strategies to increase the pool of underrepresented groups in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

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

DSP-Based Real-Time Control Systems Design, Analysis, and Implementation for Reinforcement of Controls Education


This article describes the development, implementation, and demonstration of a real-time laboratory platform for use in an undergraduate laboratory control course. The design, analysis, and implementation stages are carried out entirely using a dSPACE DS1104 digital signal processor (DSP)-based real-time data acquisition control (DAC) system and MATLAB/Simulink software tools. The control law is designed in Simulink and executed in real-time using the dSPACE DS 1104 DSP-board. Once the controller has been built in Simulink, the MATLAB Real-Time Workshop (RTW) routine is used to automatically convert the Simulink block-set to a machine code that runs on the DS1104 DSP processor. While an experiment is running, the dSPACE DS1104 provides a mechanism that allows the student to change controller parameters online. Thus, it is possible for students to view the real process while the experiment is in progress. Students are encouraged to compare their designs with those of other students. Students are enthusiastic about the lab; and, their comments are positive.


Recent observations confirm the escalating concern of the general engineering educational community about enhancing the teaching of traditional control theory courses. Simulation tools are frequently used as an educational aid in automatic control courses. While simulations are an important component for teaching students about general system behavior, they cannot always account for all the details that must be considered in designing and analyzing a physical system in an interdisciplinary, team-oriented environment. The need to control real hardware, and not just simulations, is known to all who design and build real control systems. Experimentation is widely accepted as an important part of control-system education1. Arzen, et al.2 describe the development of a control laboratory using real, rather than simulated processes. Their article presents the approach that the Department of Automatic Control at Lund Institute of Technology uses to maintain a high level of practical laboratory experiments. They claim that real-time systems help the students understand the theoretical material and they also help to increase the student’s motivation to learn. A new senior-level laboratory for networked digital control systems is proposed by Varsakelis and Levine3. This laboratory attempts to introduce students to the complexities of modern control systems, which are often ignored during early control education. A low-cost laboratory module for control systems design using either MATLAB’s intuitive programming language or in Simulink’s block diagrams is reported in4. The laboratory module is based on a simple second-order dc servo motor that allows student to perform a wide range of laboratory experiments. A real time controlled laboratory plant for control education is proposed by Saco, et al.5. The proposed approach supports automatic code generation using Simulink, MATLAB RTW and dSPACE. However, the problem of testing before final implementation is not discussed in any detail.

In this article, a laboratory platform for performing control systems design, analysis, and implementation is described. This real-time environment is implemented and demonstrated by

Rubaai, A., & Johnson, J. (2006, June), Dsp Based Real Time Control Systems Design, Analysis, And Implementation For Reinforcement Of Controls Education Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--221

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