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Providing An Updated Dynamic Systems And Controls Lab Experience

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.430.1 - 4.430.9

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Paper Authors

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Bill Diong

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

Session 2532

Providing an Updated Dynamic Systems and Controls Lab Experience

Bill Diong The University of Texas at El Paso


Both the undergraduate Electrical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering curricula at the University of Texas - Pan American (with which the author was affiliated until recently) include a required course in Automatic Control (it is optional for Mechanical Engineering students). Up till now, they have been taught in a lecture-only format. But recently, in keeping with the newly developed mission statements for all three programs, it was decided that students in these (and other) courses be provided with relevant hands-on laboratory experience. However, this decision was made at a time when control systems engineering was, and still is, undergoing significant changes.

Firstly, a paradigm shift is occurring with regard to the type of engineering graduates needed by today’s fast-paced and intensively competitive global economy; employers want graduates with broader focus who can contribute almost immediately. Secondly, the price to performance ratio of computing power is rapidly decreasing resulting in greater and more diverse use of microcontrollers, digital signal processors (DSPs) and microprocessors. In response to these changes, we felt that these courses needed to prepare students to be more multidisciplinary in their thinking, to familiarize them with a model-based, simulation-oriented approach to control systems design and development, and also to provide them with experience in implementing DSP- based controllers.

Last year, a proposal to achieve these goals resulted in an Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement grant from the National Science Foundation. We had proposed, firstly, that the students work with electromechanical systems to encourage multidisciplinary thinking. Secondly, that they needed to become adept at using common (in industry) software packages for system modeling, analysis, control design and simulation. Thirdly, that the students must learn how to use common (in industry) measurement instruments and techniques for frequency-domain modeling, analysis and control design purposes. Fourthly, that they needed to experience using a DSP development system to implement the control algorithms designed for the given electromechanical systems.

This paper details the objectives, tasks and accomplishments of this project. It will also provide preliminary findings on how this project has impacted student learning for the two Automatic Control courses. Last but not least, it will include ideas on how similar projects could improve on this present one.

Diong, B. (1999, June), Providing An Updated Dynamic Systems And Controls Lab Experience Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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