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Using A Dc Solenoid In A Closed Loop Position Control System To Teach Control Technology

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.502.1 - 1.502.8

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Paper Authors

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Narciso F. Macia

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

Session 2647

Using a DC Solenoid in a Closed-loop Position Control System to Teach Control Technology

Narciso F. Macia Arizona State University


A DC solenoid that is normally operated in two positions, is used to implement a closed-loop, position control system. The laboratory work supports and reinforces material presented in the classroom. This laboratory activity takes place in a cooperative learning environment, each group being populated by students from the Electronic & Computer Technology, the Manufacturing Technology and the Aeronautical Technology Department. Students are initially given a general positioning problem with few restrictions. Then, by adding constraints and making suggestions, they determine that a DC solenoid is a viable solution. As the students evaluate the system, they recognize that without the mathematical tools that they are acquiring in class, their task is very difficult or impossible. The series of experiments enable students to learn more about: (a) modeling, (b) block diagram representation, (c) instrumentation and data acquisition, (d) component characterization, (e) frequency response testing (f) analysis, (g) computer simulation using MATLAB/SIMULINK, (h) controller design, (i) implementation of the controller using op-amps, and finally (j) complete system performance verification. As a result, students develop a good connection between the theory and application, and recognize the importance of team work and collaboration. They are amazed at their ability to transform a two-position device, jokingly referred by them as bang-bang, into a gentle-moving system that goes to any intermediate position.


Regardless of the specified field the engineering technology graduate eventually pursues, an understanding of dynamic modeling and analog feedback control is essential. These disciplines bring together many previously unconnected ideas. The laboratory component is extremely important and helps students make a connection between the concepts and the application. The laboratory experience allows the student to develop familiarity with hardware, specially if they use the same hardware throughout the semester. To optimize the experience, the instruction must continually aim at making a connection between the theory and the application. Otherwise, the

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Macia, N. F. (1996, June), Using A Dc Solenoid In A Closed Loop Position Control System To Teach Control Technology Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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