Teach Controls and Mechatronics with NI ELVIS and Quanser QNETs

Publish Date: Feb 15, 2017 | 2 Ratings | 4.00 out of 5 | Print

Overview

The NI ELVIS modular engineering educational laboratory platform enables educators to effectively teach a broad range of topics throughout engineering curriculum.

Educators can easily extend the pedagogical features of NI ELVIS to curriculum in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineering and Biomedical Engineering in courses that include circuits, telecommunications, measurements and controls.

This article provides an overview of the Quanser QNET add-on boards and the accompanying resources for teaching various controls and mechatronics topics.

Table of Contents

  1. Teach Mechatronics System Integration
  2. Teach Power and Energy
  3. Teach Common Actuators in Mechatronics
  4. Teach Common Sensors in Mechatronics
  5. Teach Interfacing in Mechatronics
  6. Teach DC Motor Concepts
  7. Teach Classical Controls Theory with a Rotary Inverted Pendulum
  8. Teach Controls for Vertical Take-Off and Landing
  9. Teach Controls for Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling Systems
  10. Teach Physics and Dynamics
  11. Teach Controls with Myoelectric Sensors

Introduction 

Quanser is a worldwide leader in the holistic approach to teaching controls and mechatronics by integrating courseware with laboratory equipment. These learning platforms save educators time and budget, by providing the fundamental elements to teach controls without having to invest personal time in creating custom experiments and engaging in the costly exercise of specialized hardware development. 

Taking advantage of the NI ELVIS pedagogical platform, Quanser has developed eight (8) specialized plants called QNETs with extensive accompanying courseware to teach mechatronics and controls topics in fundamental engineering laboratories.  Each of these add-on boards plug directly into the NI ELVIS and transform NI ELVIS from teaching circuits and taking measurements to an effective controls and mechatronics platform. 

The included courseware links below provide only student courseware to maintain the integrity of laboratories that utilize them.  If you are a professor who has purchased QNET boards, please join the QNET community page to obtain the instructor version of the courseware with answer keys.

 

1. Teach Mechatronics System Integration

The QNET Mechatronics System board is our most comprehensive solution to teaching mechatronics. This board includes a four-bar linkage system, DC motors, encoders, and a camera for system-level labs challenges for tasks such as vision, image processing and low-level signal aspects such as PWM generation.

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET Mechatronics System Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

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2. Teach Power and Energy

The smart management and control of electrical energy generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization is one of the key areas of study and research in Electrical Engineering departments around the world. In order for students to build the necessary understanding of these key areas of study, they must learn foundational topics such as, voltage and current regulation, DC-AC converters and DC-DC converters in the context of areas such as power generation, rectification and distribution. With the QNET Energy Conversion Board, students are now able to explore these concepts in new engaging ways.

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET Energy Conversion Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

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3. Teach Common Actuators in Mechatronics

The QNET Mechatronic Actuators Board teaches students the fundamentals of common actuators used in mechatronics, as well as design considerations, common specifications, interfacing, and operation.  Courseware topics include amplifiers, brushless DC motors, RC servo motors, solenoids, and stepper motors.

 >> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET Mechatronic Actuators Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

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4. Teach Common Sensors in Mechatronics

The QNET Mechatronic Sensors Board teaches how to use various types of sensors and demonstrates their advantages and limitations. Courseware topics include the following sensors and associated components and concepts: strain, pressure piezo, potentiometers, infrared, sonar, optical position, magnetic field, encoders, temperature, switches and LEDs,  and switch debounce.

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET Mechatronic Sensors Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

 

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5. Teach Interfacing in Mechatronics

The Quanser QNET Mechatronic Interfacing add-on board introduces students to the fundamentals of microcontroller I/O and interdevice communication including industry communication standards.  Courseware topics include Microcontroller I/O, UART, SPI, I2C, Memory, CAN Bus, and LCD/Touch Screens.  

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET Mechatronic Interfacing Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

 

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6. Teach DC Motor Concepts

The QNET DC Motor Control Board illustrates the fundamentals of DC motor controls using the NI ELVIS platform and NI LabVIEW software. It can quickly and easily be configured to control motor position and speed as well as modeling experiments.  Courseware topics include modeling, qualitative PD control, PD control to specifications, qualitative PI control, PI control to specifications, and tracking and disturbance rejection.  

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET DC Motor Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

 

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7. Teach Classical Controls Theory with a Rotary Inverted Pendulum

The QNET Rotary Inverted Pendulum Board offers students the opportunity to balance a vertical rod at the tip of a rotating arm using a DC motor. This is a classic pendulum control experiment that can be performed more cost-effectively using the NI ELVIS platform and LabVIEW.  Courseware topics include modeling (damping, friction, moment of inertia, model analysis), balance control (state-feedback control, LQR optimization), and swing-up control (energy control, non-linear control, hybrid control schemes).

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET Rotary Inverted Pendulum Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

 

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8. Teach Controls for Vertical Take-Off and Landing

The QNET Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) module introduces students to the fundamentals of flight dynamics and control in aerospace engineering. Courseware topics include qualitative PI current control, equilibrium current and natural frequency, PI current control according to specifications, model validation, PID control design, steady-state error analysis, and flight control.

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET VTOL Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

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9. Teach Controls for Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling Systems

 

The QNET Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) Board teaches students how to design a control system that regulates temperature in a chamber using the NI ELVIS workstation and LabVIEW interface. It is ideal for illustrating concepts covered in a fluid dynamics and thermodynamics courses.  Courseware topics include relay temperature control, first order transfer functions, modeling, qualitative PI control, and PI control according to specifications.

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET HVAC Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

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10. Teach Physics and Dynamics

 

The QNET Physics and Dynamics Board introduces students to the fundamental concepts in physics and engineering dynamics.  The components of the board are designed to map directly to classic physics and dynamics problems, and several parameters can be varied in a controlled and repeatable environment.  Courseware topics include energy and momentum, force and motion, friction, and oscillations.  

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET Physics and Dynamics Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

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11. Teach Controls with Myoelectric Sensors

The QNET Myoelectric Board is an exciting way to introduce students to biomedical engineering. Students can learn how to control a servo from the contraction of muscles using the principles of electromyography (EMG). Courseware topics include EMG sensor setup, EMB signal processing, and EMG control.

>> Click here to learn more and purchase the QNET Myoelectric Board

>> Click here to download full student courseware

 

 

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