USB-powered portable experiment for classical control with MATLAB Real-Time Windows Target

Eniko T Enikov, Giampiero Campa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Engineering education has the objective of not only presenting the scientific principles, i.e., engineering science, but also of teaching students how to apply these to real problems. Therefore, hands-on laboratories have been an integral part of the engineering curriculum since its inception. This presentation will demonstrate the use of a novel low-cost experimental apparatus for use in a typical undergraduate course in control systems taught to mechanical engineering students, i.e. students with limited exposure to electrical engineering. The system demonstrates the use of MATLAB tools such as Simulink Real Time Windows Target and Control Systems toolboxes to illustrate all stages of design of a closed-loop control systems including: system modeling, parameter identification, analysis of stability of a closed-loop system, design of dynamic compensator in the continuous space and implementation of an equivalent digital controller using the Simulink Real Time Windows Target environment. The hardware apparatus consists of a DC micro-motor attached to a carbon fiber rod. The angular displacement is measured with an analog potentiometer, which acts as the pivot point for the carbon fiber rod. The DC micro-motor is powered by a low cost, custom circuit board, which is USB-powered requiring no external power adaptor or extra cabling. Attached to the micro-motor is a small propeller which provides thrust force needed to rotate the pendulum to a desired angle. The experiment is designed to operate from student's laptops, therefore no special laboratory space is required. The project was tested in a classical control systems design class offered to senior-level mechanical engineering students. Student feedback and survey data on the effectiveness of the module are presented along with examples of student assignments illustrating the use of hardware.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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