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Hands On Learning And Using Labview For Undergraduates In 13 Weeks

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Unique Laboratory Experiments & Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.657.1 - 9.657.17

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Alex See

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

Session number 2756

Hands-on learning and implementing using LabVIEWTM for undergraduates in 13 weeks

Alex See, PhD

Monash University Malaysia, School of Engineering and Science, No. 2 Jalan Kolej, Bandar Sunway, 46150, PJ, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia email:


Second year Mechatronics undergraduates, in the year 2003 at Monash University Malaysia (MUM) were taking a subject module known as Project and Practice. Students were exposed to National Instrument’s LabVIEWTM software and hardware for the first time. They were required to complete a given mechatronically oriented project in only 13 weeks. A team of 3 students was formed to design, develop and test a prototype solar- tracker, which involves two plane-parallel solar panels with position tracking system. This solar tracker built by these students consisted of two-axes. This system was capable of tracking the direction as well as the degree of inclination of the position of the sun throughout the day. The main objective of this project design was to always align the photovoltaic flat type solar panels towards the direction of maximum light intensity from the sun. The purpose was to obtain maximum solar irradiance and hence maximizing solar power extraction. As this was a laboratory prototype system, preliminary testing was conducted indoors. A 100-Watt light bulb from a conventional table lamp was used to generate sufficient light illumination. The sensing of light intensity was achieved by using four PIN photodiodes operating in photovoltaic mode. Prior to this project, the students had no previous experience in LabVIEWTM software at all.

This paper reports that National Instruments LabVIEWTM and MAX (Measurement And automation eXplorer) software may be employed as useful tools for practical teaching and learning for undergraduates in Mechatronics. The useful functions in LabVIEWTM allowed this group of students to appreciate the fundamentals of motion control for stepper motors, Analog I/O (input/output) and fundamentals of data acquisition. In this Mechatronics oriented subject, students learned about the various skills and acquired knowledge through a hands-on approach.

The students were provided with a motion controller card (model PCI-7334) and Universal Motion Interface (model UMI-7764) from National Instruments for this project work.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

See, A. (2004, June), Hands On Learning And Using Labview For Undergraduates In 13 Weeks Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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