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Project Tuna The Development Of A Lab View Virtual Instrument As A Class Project In A Junior Level Electronics Course

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.509.1 - 5.509.10

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David M. Beams

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Project TUNA—The Development a LabVIEW Virtual Instrument as a Class Project in a Junior-Level Electronics Course David M. Beams, Ph.D. University of Texas at Tyler


The Department of Electrical Engineering of the University of Texas at Tyler has a required two- semester sequence in electronic devices and circuits. The second course of this series (EENG 4409, Electronic Circuit Analysis II) includes a traditional laboratory component with exercises in amplifiers, active filters, non-linear circuits, oscillators, and CMOS devices. The laboratory exercise in active filters required measurement of complex voltage gain (magnitude and phase shift) of various low-pass, bandpass, and high-pass filters, a state-variable filter, and an all-pass (phase-shift) filter. The tediousness and repetitiveness of manual measurement elicited student complaints and obscured the purpose of the experiment. An automated instrument to measure voltage gain was conceived in response to this problem. Development took place in EENG 4409 in the spring of 1999 as Project TUNA (Texas Universal Network Analyzer). The prototype instrument was used with success in the active-filter laboratory exercise prior to the end of the semester. Project TUNA allowed the course lectures to be enriched with material on phase- sensitive demodulation and design of constant phase-difference (quadrature) networks. The prototype has since been used as a laboratory instrument in other courses and construction of permanent copies is planned. This paper describes the Project TUNA instrument and the integration of its development into EENG 4409, including lessons learned along the way.

I. Introduction

Measurement of the sinusoidal steady-state frequency response of active and passive networks is performed in several electrical engineering laboratory courses at the University of Texas at Tyler. Voltage gain and input-to-output phase shift were computed from measurements of oscilloscope traces of the input and output signals. This was tedious and repetitive and particularly onerous in the laboratory exercise on active filters in EENG 4409 (Electronic Circuit Analysis II). This particular exercise involved construction and characterization of various active filters, including several Sallen-Key active filters, a state-variable filter, and an all-pass (phase-shift) filter. The drudgery of data taking obscured the purpose of the experiment.

Project TUNA (Texas Universal Network Analyzer) was launched in response to this problem. It was conceived as an instrument for automated measurement of voltage gain (magnitude and phase) of an external active or passive network in a range of frequencies from 1 Hz to 1 MHz. Each workbench in the electrical engineering laboratory is equipped with an NT workstation (Compaq, Houston, TX). Models E3631A Triple-Output Power Supply, 34401A Digital Multimeter (DMM), and 33120A Arbitrary Waveform Generator (Agilent Technologies, Palo

Beams, D. M. (2000, June), Project Tuna The Development Of A Lab View Virtual Instrument As A Class Project In A Junior Level Electronics Course Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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