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ME302: Mechatronics

Unit 7: Controllers   A controller is at the brain of any mechatronic system. The controller reads feedback signals from the feedback devices, compares these signals to the desired values, and then sends out signals to the actuators that control the mechatronic system.

We must distinguish between the physical implementation of the controller and the control algorithm embedded within it. The physical implementation of the controller is the device that is used as the controller. On the other hand, the control algorithm that is embedded within the physical controller is the set of instructions that are used to make the control decisions. You will study these algorithms in a later course (ME401: Dynamic Systems & Controls).

In this unit, you will learn about the different types of physical controllers that are used to control mechatronic systems. You will also learn to distinguish between the physical controller that is used to control a mechatronic system (which is the subject of this unit) and the control algorithm that is coded within it (which is what you will learn in ME401: Dynamics Systems & Controls). You will learn the advantages and disadvantages of each type of physical controller and its typical areas of application. You will also be able to select a suitable type of controller for an application.

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 7.2: 0.5 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Identify the types of controllers used in mechatronic systems. - Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each type of controller, and identify its typical area of application. - Select a suitable type of controller for an application.

7.1 Types of Controllers   - Reading: University of Jordan: Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif’s “Controller Selection for Mechatronic Systems” Link: University of Jordan: Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif’s “Controller Selection for Mechatronic Systems” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the first
section titled “1. Controllers” on pages 1 and 2. There are
different types of physical controllers that can be used within
mechatronic systems. This text discusses these different types of
physical controllers.  

 Reading this chapter should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Web Media: Colorado State University’s “Video Demonstrations of Mechatronic Devices and Principles” Link: Colorado State University’s “Video Demonstrations of Mechatronic Devices and Principles” (Windows Media Player)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down the webpage to the “Mechatronic System Examples” heading, and click on the link to “Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) with Ladder Logic” to download the video. Watch the brief video. Note how the PLC is programmed using the ladder logic. This video shows an example of the use of a programmable logic controller for the control of fluid level.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Microchip Technology’s “What Is a Microcontroller?” Link: YouTube: Microchip Technology’s “What Is a Microcontroller?” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and then watch the video. This video presents another widely used type of controller: the microcontroller. The microcontroller is used for applications that require a very compact controller that will be manufactured in large quantities. Note the range of applications of microcontrollers and the different components of a microcontroller.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.2 Selection Criteria for Controllers   - Reading: University of Jordan: Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif’s “Controller Selection for Mechatronic Systems” Link: University of Jordan: Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif’s “Controller Selection for Mechatronic Systems” (PDF)

 Instructions: There are a number of criteria that need to be taken
into consideration when selecting a physical controller. These
criteria are discussed in the following document. Please click on
the link above and study the table on the second page as well as
read section 2 titled “Examples,” which presents five examples on
the selection procedure.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0
license](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/). It is
attributed to Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif and the original can be found
[here](http://www2.ju.edu.jo/sites/Academic/l.sharif/Material/Forms/AllItems.aspx).