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Intelligent Energy Conversion Laboratory For Undergraduate Power Engineering Education

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.362.1 - 3.362.6

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Peter Idowu

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

Session 1526

Intelligent Energy Conversion Laboratory for Undergraduate Power Engineering Education Peter Idowu, Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg,

Abstract This paper describes the development of the Intelligent Data-Acquisition and Control (IDAC) system -- a virtual instrumentation-based system for conducting experiments in the electrical machinery laboratory at Penn State - Harrisburg. The system as developed departs from the traditional approach in a power laboratory environment where measurements are manually logged from several meters, and followed by hours of calculations and plotting of results. Introduction of the IDAC system has offered the typical power engineering undergraduate a unique opportunity to learn the principles of real-time data acquisition, and to apply it in the study of electric machines.

1. Introduction A downward trend in enrollment in graduate and undergraduate electrical power engineering programs has been observed over the last decade or two 1-2. The causes have been attributed to shifting interests among the student population and stalling electrical load-growth dynamics, among others. Efforts to remedy the decline in interest have resulted in the wider use of computer simulation tools. This has significantly aided students in gaining a better understanding of power system devices and operations. Latest innovations in simulation systems revolve around improvements in man-machine interfaces, and reduction in the level of high level programming 3-5.

Another factor that is seldom cited as a probable cause of reduction in enrollment is the apparent lack of innovation in how the subject is presented to power engineering students. The range of experiments that a typical undergraduate energy conversion laboratory facility can support does not adequately prepare power engineering students for the digital-computer oriented 1990's power system industry. For instance, experiments on derivation of performance characteristics and equivalent circuits of a motor normally involve manually reading, recording, and tabulating measurements of voltage, current, power, speed, and torque as the energy conversion devices are subjected to loading or other test conditions. Data is later correlated, processed, and plotted on graph paper to determine parameters of interest. This approach to problem-solving and power engineering laboratory experience has been in place for decades and certainly has proven very useful. However, advances in digital computer technology have engendered a new generation of hardware and software concepts that enable routine and mundane tasks such as "meter-reading" and data logging to be automated, processed and presented in useful and desired formats. This frees the student to focus on intellectual aspects of the project. Furthermore, it ensures a significantly higher degree of accuracy in data analysis.

Idowu, P. (1998, June), Intelligent Energy Conversion Laboratory For Undergraduate Power Engineering Education Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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