Asee peer logo

New Lab Project for Non-EE Majors Provides Hands-On Experience with Analog/Digital and Programmable Temperature Controllers

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Laboratory Development in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1099.1 - 22.1099.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Patrick Kane Cypress Semiconductor Corp.

visit author page

Patrick Kane Bio

Patrick Kane is the director of the Cypress University Alliance Program. The Cypress University Alliance Program is dedicated to partnering with academia and universities to ensure that professors and students have access to the latest Cypress PSoC technology for use in education and research. Patrick joined the Cypress team in July 2006. Prior to joining Cypress Patrick spent 13 ½ years at Xilinx in a variety of roles including Applications Engineer, Aerospace and Defense, Automotive, Technical Training and managing the Xilinx University Program. He currently holds a BSEE and MBA degree.

visit author page

author page

Alexander Ganago University of Michigan

author page

Robert F. Giles University of Michigan

author page

Hongwei Liao University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Download Paper |


New lab project for non-EE majors provides hands-on experience with Analog/Digital, and Programmable Temperature ControllersAmong the challenges of teaching introductory courses in Electrical Engineering (EE) to non-EEmajors is the creation of laboratory projects providing hands-on experience with electronicdevices that combine analog, digital, and programmable circuits, which engineering students caneasily relate to projects in their field of major. The usual constraints include: conceptual(students should be able to understand how the device works), logistic (the project should becompleted within a limited time in the lab), technical (the lab equipment should allow students toverify and alter the functionality of the device), financial (the device should be of low cost), etc.Here we report the design and implementation ofa new laboratory project that addresses all of theissues listed above. During 2 hours in the lab,students (in teams of two) work with two prebuilttemperature controllers that use the same type ofthermistor as the sensor, and the same actuators: 3Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and a cooling fan.Both controllers have the same functionalityshown on the sketch:The first device (on which students work for ~hour) is the Analog/Digital (A/D) TemperatureController based on TC621 temperature controller IC and two ICs with logic gates – TC4467 andTC4468. The second device (on which students work for 1 hours or less) is the ProgrammableTemperature Controller based on PSoC EVAL1 (Rev D) evaluation kit that includes aProgrammable System on the Chip (PSoC) by Cypress Semiconductor, donated through theirUniversity Alliance Program. In each case, students connect the sensor and the actuators to thedevice, which emphasizes flexibility of the design: in other projects, students can use the sametypes of controllers with different resistive sensors and different actuators, to achieve control ofthe parameters such as displacement, strain, light intensity, etc. All key concepts of this projectare covered in lectures; many are transferable: hysteresis, use of Wheatstone bridge andcomparator for monitoring/control, use of MOSFET as a switch, A/D and D/A conversion, etc.Our learning objectives include: (1) Understand the block diagrams and principles of operationof the Analog/Digital and Programmable Temperature Controllers used in this Lab; (2) Verifytheir functionality by observations and measurements of pin voltages [only a voltmeter isneeded]; (3) For the A/D controller, demonstrate that the temperature set point is determined bythe setting of a potentiometer; (4) Demonstrate that the Programmable Controller’s functionalitydepends on the configuration of the input/output analog blocks and of the pins of the PSoC, aswell as on the C code; alter the C code to alter this functionality [students change only oneconstant in the code, thus no C programming experience is expected]. Note that both technicaland financial constraints are nonexistent: every lab has a DMM, and PSoC kits are donated.We offer this lab project to 200+ engineering students in our introductory course for non-EEmajors in the Fall 2010, and we will report their feedback.

Kane, P., & Ganago, A., & Giles, R. F., & Liao, H. (2011, June), New Lab Project for Non-EE Majors Provides Hands-On Experience with Analog/Digital and Programmable Temperature Controllers Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18555

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015