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Electrical Engineering Concept Demonstrations And Laboratories Using A Power Relay System

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Energy Project and Laboratory Ideas

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.476.1 - 8.476.8

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Paper Authors

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Yanfeng Gong

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Mike Collum

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Noel Schulz

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

Session Number 3233

Electrical Engineering Concept Demonstrations and Laboratories using a Power Relay System Noel N. Schulz, Associate Professor, Mississippi State University Yanfeng Gong, Graduate Student, Mississippi State University Mike Collum, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories


Recent issues within the power industry, such as deregulation and California’s energy problems, are creating a renewed interest in careers within power engineering careers. Many schools are seeing increases in the number of undergraduates in power engineering elective courses. However, at many universities the field of power engineering is seen as a mature field with no exciting problems to solve or work on in the 21st century.

This paper and presentation will outline a joint effort between Mississippi State University and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) to develop several demonstrations for introductory EE courses and laboratories for the first power engineering course using a microprocessor controlled relay set-up. The goal of the project is to provide other universities with a set of demonstrations and laboratories to help integrate other electrical engineering concepts into the power curriculum to show students that power really involves many areas of core electrical engineering. Two developed laboratories will be discussed and future plans for other demonstrations and laboratories will be outlined.

Goals of the Collaboration

The decline in university support for power engineering programs across the U.S. has caused a decrease in available engineers with training on basic principles in power engineering. Additionally many entering engineers perceive power engineering as a mature field that does not relate to new topics such as computer engineering, digital signal processing, and fiber optics communications.

While electric utilities have had lower levels of hiring over the last ten years, support industries for electric utilities are becoming more prevelant on campus. Companies need students with a strong background in power engineering fundamentals coupled with other areas of expertise such as controls, computers, electronics and communications. Some high-tech power-related companies such as SEL are finding it more and more difficult to identify qualified engineers for their entry level positions. In some cases, power-related industries hire non-power engineers and provide training on power topics to bring entry-level engineers up to speed. In the case of SEL, the challenge is even tougher as they try to identify candidates with additional training related to protection and relaying. SEL has been supportive of educational initiatives to help power programs across the U.S. and world. In the summer of 2000, SEL sponsored a teaching workshop at the IEEE Power Engineering Summer Meeting to help power faculty be better teachers and hopefully attract more students.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Gong, Y., & Collum, M., & Schulz, N. (2003, June), Electrical Engineering Concept Demonstrations And Laboratories Using A Power Relay System Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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