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Teaching Digital Communication using LabVIEW

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Instrumentation in Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1248.1 - 25.1248.14



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Paper Authors


Wei Zhan Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Wei Zhan is an Assistant Professor of electronics engineering technology at Texas A&M University. Zhan earned his D.Sc. in systems science from Washington University, St. Louis, in 1991. From 1991 to 1995, he worked at University of California, San Diego, and Wayne State University. From 1995 to 2006, he worked in the automotive industry as a System Engineer. In 2006, he joined the electronics engineering yechnology faculty at Texas A&M. His research activities include control system theory and applications to industry, system engineering, robust design, modeling, simulation, quality control, and optimization.

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Joseph A. Morgan Texas A&M University

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Joseph A. Morgan has more than 20 years of military and industry experience in electronics and telecommunications systems engineering. He joined the Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution Department in 1989 and has served as the Program Director of the Electronics and Telecommunications programs and as the Associate Department Head for Operations. He received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering (1975) from California State University, Sacramento, and his M.S. (1980) and D.E. (1983) degrees in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University. His education and research interests include project management, innovation and entrepreneurship, and embedded product/system development.

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Jay R. Porter Texas A&M University

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Jay R. Porter joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in 1998 and is currently the Program Director for the Electronics and Telecommunications programs. He received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering (1987), a M.S. degree in physics (1989), and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering (1993) from Texas A&M University. His areas of interest in research and education include product development, analog/RF electronics, instrumentation, and entrepreneurship.

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  Course Projects with a Focus on Digital Communication ProtocolAbstractIn response to the needs of the power industry, the Electronics Engineering Technology programat _____ University has been revamping the instrumentation course to focus on digitalinstrumentation in particular digital communication protocols.LabVIEW was extensively used in the laboratory sessions, which led to course projects that usedthe Modbus digital communication protocol. Two course projects were designed to familiarizethe students with virtual instrumentation, data acquisition, Modbus communication, and simpleclosed loop control. One involved the instrumentation and control of a brushed DC permanentmagnetic motor; the other involved the instrumentation and control of a small scale temperaturechamber. Students used one computer, functioning as a Modbus slave, to measure the motorspeed or temperature inside the chamber and to turn the motor or the light bulbs on and off.Another computer, functioning as a Modbus master, read the measurements using Modbuscommunication protocol via RS-485 wires, compared the measurements to the set points, madecontrol decisions, and sent the commands to the Modbus slave for actuation.After the successful completion of the LabVIEW based control systems, students were thentasked to design a printed circuit board, including a micro-controller on the board, to replace theLabVIEW based Modbus slave. Instead of using National Instrumentation’s Data AcquisitionCard (DAQ card), sensor circuits, signal conditioning circuits, and a micro-controller were usedfor data acquisition, Modbus communication, and controlling of the motor or light bulbs.Details of the course projects will be discussed in this article.As an effort to continually improve our education program, the effectiveness of the courseprojects has been quantitatively and qualitatively monitored through student and faculty surveys,feedback from former students, and results of examinations.

Zhan, W., & Morgan, J. A., & Porter, J. R. (2012, June), Teaching Digital Communication using LabVIEW Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22005

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