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Realistic Laboratory In An Eet Controls Course

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Electrical ET Labs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.969.1 - 8.969.7



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Paper Authors

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William Conrad

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Marvin Needler

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

Session 3549

Realistic Laboratory in an EET Controls Course

William Conrad Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Abstract. Prior to the addition of simulation and miniature models, the laboratory exercises consisted of realistic design problems. These problems were then implemented using an Allen Bradley SLC500 programmable controller. The programs were verified by using Rockwell 500 Emulation software, or by downloading the programs into the PLC. The downloaded programs were verified by watching the lights on the output module.

Even though the problems were realistic, the implementations of the problems were not. The students dissatisfied because the only way that they could determine if the program was working properly was to watch the output lights. As a result of this dissatisfaction, a search was conducted to determine if miniature models or PLC simulation software was available that could be implemented in the laboratory.

The results of the search resulted in the purchase of two different models and a simulation software package. This paper describes in detail the hardware, the simulation software, and the student evaluation of the updated laboratory experiments.

Objective. It is unrealistic to expect an industrial controls lab to be equipped with actual industrial machines. The cost, space requirements, and power requirements are a huge detriment for using actual industrial machines. A search was conducted for both realistic models and PLC simulation software that would provide a realistic substitute to be used instead of actual hardware.

Hardware selection. Several realistic miniature hardware models were found. A choice was made to purchase models from two different companies. We purchased three modules from Tim King Electronics1. The modules purchased were the raw material bins, the flexible processing line, and the finished goods bin. The Tim King models use Fischertechnik parts. The total cost of these three modules was $4500. We also purchased a model car wash from Staudinger for $4750. The car wash line was purchased from Germany because it was cheaper than if purchased from the USA distributor, Model A Technology2.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Conrad, W., & Needler, M. (2003, June), Realistic Laboratory In An Eet Controls Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12369

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