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Personal Lab Hardware: A Sine Wave Generator, Logic Pulse Signal, And Programmable Synchronous Serial Interface For Enhancing Education

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Software and Hardware for Educators II

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.951.1 - 15.951.11



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Paper Authors

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Jeffrey Richardson Purdue University

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James Jacob Purdue University

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Brant Price Purdue University

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Jeremiah Dole Purdue University

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

Personal Lab Hardware: A Sine Wave Generator, Logic Pulse Signal, and Programmable Synchronous Serial Interface for Enhancing Education

Abstract: This project developed a low cost solution to provide personally owned electronic test equipment to students in an advanced analog electronics course to enhance their learning associated with electronic laboratory experiments. The project included the development of a sine wave generator, logic pulse signal, and a programmable synchronous serial interface. The project is based a Cypress programmable system on a chip or PSoC and a LabVIEW PC application. The PSoC allows for a single chip solution of the sine wave generator by creating a programmable square wave that is then sent through an internal 4-pole filter to shape the desired sine wave. This approach is novel when compared to direct digital synthesis or look-up tables. The PSoC also creates a programmable logic pulse output to provide a variable duty cycle square when required. The programmable synchronous serial interface allows students to select the appropriate timing diagram and then specify the desired data to be transferred. The desired data is then transfer to the PSoC which ultimately controls the corresponding synchronous serial device eliminating the need for the analog student to write software to control the various devices. This feature allows students to study synchronous serial devices such as DAC’s, ADC’s, digital potentiometers, etc. without the confusion sometimes associated with programming a microcontroller to accomplish the task. This allows the students to concentrate on the analog electronics at hand, and not waste time attempting to create software. The project allows the students to focus their time and energy on the analog fundamentals and ultimately enhances their educational experiences. The overall design of the project, the educational benefits, and assessment data from the use of the project will be presented in this paper.

Introduction: Many engineering and technology programs rely on hands-on application of the topics studied in the classroom. During a normally scheduled laboratory, the electrical engineering and technology students demonstrate the operation of an electric circuit to their laboratory instructor. In an effort to better prepare the students for their laboratory session and reduce the amount of time the students and laboratory instructors spend in the formal laboratory environment, a system of personally owned, student hardware was created to allow students to perform any necessary work at the student’s individual residence at a low cost. This allows the students to spend as much or as little time on a topic as is required for mastery prior to attending their laboratory session. Competency is then demonstrated to the lab instructor in the department’s laboratories using professional-grade equipment.

The original project included the creation of a custom LabVIEW application and a custom circuit to provide a function generator and a two channel oscilloscope. To increase the capability and overall usefulness of the system, a programmable logic compatible square wave was created with a frequency range from 10Hz to 100kHz with an with adjustable duty cycle from 0 to 100%. In addition to the square wave generator, a programmable synchronous serial interface was also created. This feature allows students to study synchronous serial devices such as digital to analog converters (DAC’s), analog to digital converters (ADC’s), direct digital synthesis (DDS),

Richardson, J., & Jacob, J., & Price, B., & Dole, J. (2010, June), Personal Lab Hardware: A Sine Wave Generator, Logic Pulse Signal, And Programmable Synchronous Serial Interface For Enhancing Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16584

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