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Fieldbus Networks Topic In Instrumentation And Control Systems Courses

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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

Instrumentation and Measurements: Innovative Course Development

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Page Count


Page Numbers

11.642.1 - 11.642.11

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Paper Authors


Sri Kolla Bowling Green State University

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Sri Kolla is a Professor in the Electronics and Computer Technology Program at the Bowling Green State University, Ohio, since 1993. He worked as a Guest Researcher at the Intelligent Systems Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, 2000-‘01. He was an Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University, 1990-‘93. He got a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Toledo, Ohio, 1989. His teaching and research interests are in electrical engineering/technology area with specialization in artificial intelligence, control systems, computer networking and power systems. He is a senior member of IEEE and ISA.

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Joseph Mainoo Bowling Green State University

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Joseph Mainoo is a graduate student in the Master of Industrial Technology degree at the Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He received his B.S. in Electronics and Computer Technology from the Bowling Green State University, Ohio, in 2004. He also has a Diploma in Management Information Systems from the Institute for the Management of Information Systems, London, UK. His academic interests are in the areas of information technology and electronics. He is a student member of ISA.

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

Fieldbus Networks Topic in Instrumentation and Control Systems Courses


Fieldbus networks are digital, two-way, multi-drop communication links that are used to connect intelligent control devices. These are currently introduced in the industry to replace the traditional 4-20 mA point-to-point connections. It is important to integrate fieldbus networks topic in technology courses to align the curriculum with the current industrial practices. This paper, therefore, presents how the fieldbus networks topic is integrated into ECT 441 Instrumentation and ECT 453 Digital Computer for Process Control courses in the Electronics and Computer Technology Program (ECT) at the Bowling Green State University (BGSU). The paper first gives an overview of the current state of fieldbus networks in the industry. It lists various advantages of using fieldbus networks over point-to-point connections for instrumentation and control system implementations. The generic communication protocol model is discussed and the deviations from this model for various fieldbus networks are identified. As an example of a fieldbus, Controller Area Network (CAN) overview is presented. CANoe, a CAN simulation software is outlined. Details of a CAN bus based laboratory development at BGSU that uses CANoe software and the CAN hardware are also presented.

I. Introduction

Digital communication networks such as AS-I, CAN, Devicenet, Ethernet, Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus are increasingly used in instrumentation and control system implementations these days [1]. Sensors, controllers, and actuators are connected as nodes in these networks instead of hardwiring the devices with point-to-point connections. These networks, collectively called fieldbus networks, reduce system wiring and provide easy system diagnosis and maintenance. It is important to integrate fieldbus networks topic in instrumentation and control system courses in order to make the content of these courses up-to-date with the current industrial practice.

There is significant literature available on fieldbus networks [1-3]. Hulsebos has been maintaining a comprehensive web site since 1999 that lists various fieldbus networks with links to official web sites of each fieldbus organization [4]. Integration of fieldbus topics into undergraduate curriculum is slowly taking places at various institutions. For example, Franz [5] reported the development of a National Center for Digital and Fieldbus Technology (NCDFT) under an NSF grant at Lee College, Texas. Also in Reference [6], Müller and Max Felser described how fieldbus concepts are adopted in control technology curriculum in Switzerland. A weather station instrumentation experiment that uses digital and wireless communication concepts was adopted in a Computer Engineering curriculum at University of Oviedo, Spain [7]. The concept of fieldbus networks such as Devicenet are also introduced in PLC courses at several institutions [8-11]. Further more, some institutions such as University of Main revised its traditional power courses into industrial automation and communication courses [12]. An in depth understanding of the literature reveals that there is still a greater need to integrate fieldbus topic into undergraduate engineering and technology curriculum.

Kolla, S., & Mainoo, J. (2006, June), Fieldbus Networks Topic In Instrumentation And Control Systems Courses Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois.

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