David A. Ward
Product Review: The Digilent NEXYS3 Spartan-6 FPGA Board
If you are interested in learning more about FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) or implementing FPGA designs, Digilent (http://www.digilent inc.com) has several FPGA boards available.
An Introduction to Pneumatic Sytems | Part 1
If you’re looking for a way to add muscle to your robots, then as Bob Dylan would say, the answer may be may be blowin' in the wind in the form of compressed air and pneumatic controls. I have wanted to incorporate pneumatics into some of my personal projects and (as an instructor) into my industrial control systems course for some time now, but wasn't sure where to begin. Pneumatic trainers are available for classroom instruction, but the ones I have checked into cost anywhere from $3,500 ...
An Introduction to Pneumatic Sytems | Part 2
Now that the basic pneumatic system is operating manually, let's add some electronics to control it. If we add an electromechanical relay and two limit switches, we can make the piston travel back and forth continuously; check out the electrical schematic in Figure 1. The limit switches being used are momentary SPDT miniature switches (Photo 1) and the electromechanical relay is a DPDT 24 VDC coil relay with a socket (see Photo 2). By adding electrical limit switches at the fully retracted ...
Computer Control and Data Acquisition: Part 2
Part 2: An Introduction to National Instruments USB-6008 Data Acquisition Hardware. Part 1 introduced National Instruments LabVIEW software and had the reader build a very simple VI (virtual instrument). This article will introduce National Instrument’s most affordable computer interfacing hardware — the USB-6008(9) data acquisition units — and show how to use the digital features of the units...
Computer Control and Data Acquisition: Part 3
From the previous two articles, you learned how to output and input digital signals using National Instruments LabVIEW software and their USB-6008(9) hardware. However, the signals have only been in the TTL range of voltages (0V and +5V) and with fairly low current levels, 8.5 mA maximum per digital terminal. In the real world outside of the PC and the USB-6008(9) units, voltage and current levels are typically much higher and also include AC signals. This article will demonstrate some of ...