ECE 486 Control Systems Lab (Fall 2017)

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Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Short labs, weekly
Day 5 Day 6 Day 8   Long labs, biweekly
Day 7 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Final project, weekly

Week 1 – Final Project: Reaction Wheel Pendulum

Day 71 of ECE 486 Lab, Week 1 of Final Project.

What Chapters Should We Complete during First Week?

Chapter 1 is mainly about modeling and derivation of equations of motion. Equations are coordinates based rather than objects based. The two generalized coordinates are \(\theta_p\) —position of pendulum arm and \(\theta_r\) —position of rotor respectively.

Details of Euler-Lagrange equations and further properties can be found on Wikipedia.

Chapter 2 is largely repetition of parts of Lab 4 and Lab 5 but we need to apply what we learned to a new plant—the motor in our project which drives the rotor.

A Few Suggestions

  • Important: A TA is not supposed to give “hand-holding” guidance during the period of students’ Final Project. There is no constraint on how fast or how much work each group needs to complete each week. Students can go as fast as they wish. But it is always strongly recommended that students document their work each week and write up pieces of Final Project Report on the go. Start typesetting Final Project Report one day before it is due is the very first thing each group should avoid.
  • There is no official template for the report so students are free to design their own. However all questions in the guidelines should be responded to with clear answers; these are the minimum requirements of the report.
  • Though not yet set, the due date of all project demos is normally the immediate Friday after Reading Day and Final Project Report is usually due on the immediate next Monday. Please plan ahead accordingly to save time to study the final.
  • Since we are going to use Simulink™ Windows Target®, it is not a good idea to run your files from a network path. For example, you may need to create a folder named after your NetID in local C:\ drive and save your Matlab WinTarget files there. Move the folder to your thumb drive once you are finished.

    Always keep C:\ drive clean and organized.

  • To protect the RWP module, make sure power cords and data cable are firmly plugged in before turn on the power strip.
  • As for exporting data, a scope block is recommended. To save data, click the gear icon (options) then go to Logging tab and name your data variable. Use Save format Array.
  • Always clean up before exiting. Specifically,
    • Clean up bench table, restore pot, motor lock etc, reinstall screws;
    • Sort out wires color by color, type by type and put them back to racks;
    • Turn off oscilloscope, meters etc;
    • Restore chairs.



  • A recap of suggested schedule of Final Project,

    Week 1 (today) Complete Chapter 1 - 2
    Week 2 (Nov 30) Complete Chapter 3 - 4 (first half)
    Week 3 (Dec 7) Complete Chapter 4 (second half) - 5
    Week 4 (Dec 14) Complete Chapter 6 - 7 or catch-up
  • There was only one group that finished Chapter 2 today (i.e., showed me the 1st demo) but several were very close to the end of Chapter 2. Please make sure you can finish up the first two chapters before Week 2 of FP starts, that means you have to work after lab hours. I want you to go directly into Chapter 3 at the beginning of FP Week 2 and ideally I shall check out your 1st demo, i.e., the last part of Chapter 2 at the beginning of FP week 2. Please feel free to stop by my office hours if you do have questions about Chapter 1 or 2 of the final project. The first demo from Chapter 2 is the base upon which you need to add more blocks in Chapters 4 and 5.
  • For the project demos, you can email me any time when you are ready, by appointment I will go to lab to do check-off if other than normal lab times.

    Note: Each time you are done with the RWP, you are supposed to restore the RWP back to the cabinet; you can work on the final project any time you want but you are not supposed to take it outside the lab.

Due Date

Lab 5 Report is due at the beginning of Lab 6 (Nov 9, Group A; Nov 16, Group B). Prelab 6 is due on Monday by 5pm of the week of Lab 6 (Nov 6, Group A; Nov 13, Group B). Handwritten prelab is acceptable; typesetting is recommended.


You are always very welcome to stop by office hours on Mondays. Emailing questions is another way. You can always include [ECE486]blah in the title of your question emails.

Spot any typos? Email me at once. You will earn up to +5 points for each typo/technical error reported.


Our next lab is Lab 6; only Group A meets next week.

Author: Yün Han

Last updated: 2017-11-02 Thu 20:46