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National Instruments Labview Software Fire Alarm Laboratory Class Taken By Students From Two Year Colleges

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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

Innovative Teaching/Learning Strategies

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.939.1 - 9.939.14

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Paper Authors

author page

Harry Franz

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

Fire Alarm Laboratory Class using LabVIEW Software taken by Students from Two-Year Colleges Prof. Harry Franz, P.E.1 University of Houston- Downtown Member ASEE, IEEE, ISA. NSPE, TAP Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the creation of a Safety and Fire Alarm Laboratory Course that uses LabVIEW and is taken by students that originate from two-year colleges.

The University of Houston – Downtown in Houston, Texas has recently instituted a Safety and Fire BSET program. One of the courses in the program is the “Fire Alarm” course. The challenge has been to create a laboratory that is within both budget and academic constraints, and which could be taken by a diverse mix of students from a variety of two-year colleges.

The “Fire Alarm” course laboratory requires the use of both software and hardware. The class students mostly work in a profession that is related to fire and safety. They are fire personnel, safety designers, and are of other related technical backgrounds. The students in the Fire Alarm course, however, have a greatly mixed level and background in math, computer science, and other academics.

The lab equipment and software must be readily useable to allow coverage of all material in the course in the time allocated. The LabVIEW software creates a laboratory that is within budget constraints and that is readily available and usable by students from two-year colleges that have differing academics. The software is used to both create standalone projects, and to design and interact with course hardware projects.

Innovative laboratory exercises to acquaint the safety and fire students with LabVIEW are used in the “Fire Alarm” course. The exercises both familiarize the students with the use of LabVIEW and the subject area of alarm systems.

The alarm systems software exercises incorporate the detection of fire signatures that include smoke, heat, and other changes in ambient conditions. The exercises also include the logic to activate alarms and fire suppression. Use of both digital logic and analog functions and systems are included in the exercises.

The exercises for the alarm systems laboratory start with very basic electrical and logic concepts that use fundamental LabVIEW features. The exercises quickly progress to more advanced concepts and advanced LabVIEW features. The students enjoy the software use and create colorful practical designs of panels and systems. The final course project design requires a working knowledge of both LabVIEW and alarm systems concepts.

Details of the innovative lab exercises that were created to help the Alarm System course students of mixed academic levels and backgrounds, to become proficient in the LabVIEW software, will be given and discussed. In addition, the outcome of the final courses projects the students designed and implemented are given in the addendum at the end of this paper. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Associate Professor Control & Instrumentation Electronics Design and Safety & Fire Engineering Technology, UH-Downtown, Houston, Texas, 77002

Franz, H. (2004, June), National Instruments Labview Software Fire Alarm Laboratory Class Taken By Students From Two Year Colleges Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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