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Hands-On Remote Learning Using A Dc Motor Controller
Hands-on Remote Learning Using a DC Motor Controller
An Electrical and Computer Engineering Laboratory exercise has been included in the junior year fall term to partially bridge the theory to practice gap for multiple basic electrical and computer engineering topics. The laboratory investigates facets of power electronics and computer control for students who have recently been introduced to the theory of MOSFET bridge circuits for voltage polarity control in their electronics class, and digital pulse width modulation for DC motor speed control in their first computer logic class. After brief study of its specification, students follow a lab sequence to set up and instrument a commercial H-bridge to first record polarity and magnitude of output voltages under specified input conditions, and subsequently to observe DC motor response to same inputs. DC power polarity, and averaging through Pulse Width Modulation, as well as the collateral realities of brushed DC motor noise and logic versus power supply levels become clear to most student for the very first time. This particular laboratory, consuming only two hours in residence and similar time for report generation, has resulted at least two unexpected positive outcomes. First, students who have taken this lab display a better understanding of DC motors topics taught in an electrical machines course the following spring semester, and second, when appropriate they understand and properly use of H-bridge motor control in their senior design. This lab is perfect for remote learning since it uses the analog discovery measurement system, and a low cost commercially available motor, and motor controller circuit. This exercise can also be used as a precursor to a more sophisticated related laboratory activity, in which the students make use of a microcontroller to generate the pulse width modulation signal.