Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The Ohio State University

ECE 5557 Control System Implementation Laboratory

Instructor/TA: Prof. Kevin Passino, TA: Jose Velasquez

Lab: This course will be held in Room 808 Dreese Laboratory.

Lab Equipment:

Grading: Based on your laboratory reports (pre and post lab) and in-lab performance. Laboratory reports must be submitted on time and in the required format.

Handouts: You will obtain most handouts for this class via the web site below, and the others will be handed out in the laboratory.

Laboratory Course Outline:

You must have written solutions ready to turn in for the prelab assignment the day the laboratory starts. Post-lab solutions are due at the start of the next lab. Pop-quizes are used as necessary to keep students up to speed on all aspects of the laboratory. Late penalty: 10% per day on all assignments/due dates.

Instructions for using the lab stations.

Lab 1: Lab Overview, Overview of Plants/Challenges, Tutorial on dSPACE/Simulink

Lab 2: Modeling and System Identification for a Thermal Process

Lab 3: PID Control with Derivative Filtering and Integral Antiwindup for a DC Servo

Lab 4: State Feedback for a DC Servo

Lab 5: Linear Quadratic Regulator and Observer Design for a Flexible Joint

Lab 6: Nonlinear Control for a Flexible Joint

Lab 7: Distributed Dynamic Resource Allocation Strategies for Multizone Temperature Control

Labs 8-10: Control Systems Laboratory Project: Agreed upon by the TA, instructor, and student most likely in consultation with their advisor, see below.

Labs 11-14: Control Systems Laboratory Final Project: Agreed upon by the TA, instructor, and student most likely in consultation with their advisor, see below.

Laboratory Experiments:

Lab projects are determined by having the student propose an agenda for the remaining weeks of the course. The project(s) must be agreed upon by the TA, instructor, and student most likely in consultation with their advisor. A document that describes many of the design challenges that are encountered for the plants in our laboratory can be obtained by clicking here (this is a more detailed description than is provided below).

Experiments for the Study of Robust and Nonlinear Control:

Projects in this category involve implementing robust and nonlinear control methods for the following Quanser plants (pictures of experiments taken from the Quanser web page):

DC Servo

Description: DC servo. Potentiometer or encoder for sensing shaft position (hence, available for all other experiments below).

Challenges: Position control with inertial load.

Applications/industry: Many.

Flexible Link

Description: DC motor above controls moves a flexible link. Tip deflection measured with a strain gauge at the motor end of the link.

Challenges: Tip position control with fast slews (need vibration damping). Disturbances: Can add weight to link to change vibration modes.

Applications/industry: Robotics, mechanical systems, space applications (e.g., shuttle arm, flexible space structures).

Flexible Joint

Description: DC motor drives a rigid beam with springs to emulate flexible joint effects. Beam angle is measured with an encoder.

Challenges: Tip position control with fast slews (need to overcome oscillations due to flexible joint). Disturbances: Springs can be attached in multiple ways, and different springs can be used, to represent different flexibility effects. Also, a weight can be added to the beam.

Applications/industry: Robotics

Ball on a Beam

Description: DC motor moves one end of a beam and ball rolls along the beam. Ball position is measured with a conductive plastic element on the beam.

Challenges: Desire to move ball to a specified position. Disturbance: Can add weight to beam, or use different size balls.

Applications/industry: Nonlinear control principles.

Inverted Pendulum

Description: DC motor drives arm with a rotating bar at the end. Encoder measures deflection of that bar.

Challenges: Swing up and balancing in the inverted position. Two modes of operation, requiring different types of controllers. Disturbances: Can add weight to bar that is flipped up.

Applications/industry: Nonlinear control principles.


Description: Cube that can balance on one of its edges. There is an internal powered pendulum that generates the torque for balancing. A piezoceramic gyroscope measures the rate of rotation of the cube. Also, a measurement of the relative angle of the pendulum and cube.

Challenges: Balance the cube without a direct measurement of the angle. Need state estimation and nonlinear control. Disturbances: Can add weight to cube.

Applications/industry: Nonlinear control principles, observers.

2 DOF Helicopter

Description: Two DC motors at ends to drive propellers, influencing pitch and yaw. Frame rotates at base with a slip ring connection.

Challenges: Manipulate pitch and yaw. Coupling between pitch and yaw motor torques produces the need for coupled multivariable control for a two-input two-output system.

Applications/industry: Aerospace applications.

Quanser 2DOF helicopter reference manual


Description: Pumps drive water through orifices of different diameters. Flow from first tank goes to second, flow from second goes to a basin. Outflows can be changed.

Challenges: Regulate water level in tanks. Delays, nonminimum phase behavior for a SISO system. Disturbances: Reconfiigurability of outflows.

Applications/industry: Process control, petrochemical industries.

Hierarchical, Distributed, and Networked Control Laboratory Experiments:

Click here to see a set of experiments that are used to study hierarchical, distributed, and networked control of complex systems.

Information for These Experiments:

Balls-in-Tubes Experiment:

Electromechanical Arcade:

Multizone Temperature Control:

Distributed Temperature Control for a Building:

Project Ideas:

Projects will be discussed in the laboratory with the TA and instructor. However, you should work to develop a challenging and interesting project. One approach for this is to to talk to your advisor about the possibilities (e.g., doing a nonlinear control experiment using methods from your research). Some additional ideas are given in the following:

  1. Intelligent control laboratory projects
  2. weLab: Low-cost engineering laboratory project

Additional Possibilities:

Plant and Controller Design: In consultation with the TA and instructor the student may spend part of the time designing a control experiment and implementing a controller for it. You may also be interested in our weLab: Low-cost engineering laboratory project

Labview: We also have available in the lab two computers, each of which has a "Real-Time" (RT) card from Labview in it (and one also has a standard NI data acquisition card in it), and the latest NI Labview software. Hence, special projects can be done on the use of Labview for control systems development and implementation.

Experiments Outside the Lab: In special circumstances it is also possible to use experiments that are implemented outside the lab, provided you have the instructor's approval. For example, if you are from a different department, and your advisor approves, you may conduct experiments on your own plant.

Note: If you are interested in embedded systems and the control of multiple autonomous vehicles, then you should consider taking the new EE 757 laboratory.