myDAQ Projects for Engineering Students

Wiring diagram for the Strongman Game project using a piezoelectric force sensor
myDAQ Projects for Engineering Students teaches introductory engineering concepts through engaging DAQExpress workbooks exploring data acquisition, transducer interfacing, and programming fundamentals. These projects become increasingly open ended as student’s skill level progresses, allowing them to flex their engineering design muscles. Projects start out automatically opening Measurement Panels for the students and interactively demonstrate how to navigate DAQExpress, teaching not only concepts but also programming for data acquisition. More advanced projects instruct students to program for themselves, culminating with the final project which invites students to find their own creative solutions to a number of open ended problems.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 
  • Students will learn the fundamentals of data acquisition and processing through use of a variety of sensors.
  • Students will relate the skills they learn through projects to real-world engineering applications.
  • Students will gain proficiency in using a myDAQ, DAQExpress, and common circuit components.
 

COURSE ALIGNMENT

 
Level University
Topic Introduction to Engineering
Style Laboratory
Prerequisite Skills Concurrent Introductory Circuits and Introductory Programming (recommended, but not required)

INCLUDED COURSE MODULES

Begin learning data acquisition by acquiring a signal from a microphone and outputting a signal to illuminate an LED. This project introduces the components in a data acquisition system, and familiarizes students with the myDAQ and navigating DAQExpress.
Learn what sample rate means and how Nyquist’s theorem affects your data. Students perform a loopback test with a sine wave they generate. By adjusting the sampling rate and observing how this affects the acquired signal they learn about aliasing and the importance of selecting the correct sampling rate for an application. This project also introduces programming through a pre-built Virtual Instrument.
Learn state machines and digital input and output by creating a working traffic light. Students learn about state diagrams and how these are implemented in state machines in a Virtual Instrument. They use this concept to control one LED, and then expand it to create a model of a stop light with LEDs. The challenge exercise has students add logic for a walk timer to their code.
Learn how to filter a signal in hardware and software then create a digital thermometer. In this project students acquire temperature data using a thermistor and take a Fourier transform of that data. They then implement a physical low-pass filter and a low-pass filter in software and observe the effects of each of these on the signal. Finally, students can take the data acquired from the thermistor to create a digital thermometer displaying temperature.
Learn about photocells by building an automatic headlight controller. Students measure the change in resistance of a photocell and see how this changes with light exposure, using a pre-built Virtual Instrument to convert change in measured voltage to lux. Students also learn about a voltage divider circuit along with associated equations and use cases. Finally, they implement this logic to create a model of an automatic car headlight system with a LED that illuminates if the light value drops below a threshold. The challenge portion of this project challenges students to create at tripwire motion sensor using concepts they learned.
Discover the difference between potentiometers and encoders then use them to find position. Students set up a potentiometer circuit and measure how voltage changes with rotation of the knob, converting voltage to position in degrees. Students then set up an encoder circuit and investigate how the counter input can be used to measure encoder rotation. Finally, students use this knowledge to create a light dimmer and a volume controller.
Build a strongman game by sensing force with a piezoelectric film strip. Students are familiarized with the theory behind piezoelectric sensors and operational amplifiers and build a circuit to measure the force applied to a piezoelectric sensor. Finally, students use a Virtual Instrument to program a number of LEDs to illuminate corresponding to the amount of force applied to the sensor.
Understand how to use pulse width modulation to control the speed of a DC motor. Students attach a paper fan to the shaft of the motor and use a Virtual Instrument to output a pulse train. By adjusting the duty cycle of the pulses in the train students can control the speed at which the fan spins.
Develop a Morse code translator that puts your sensor knowledge to the test using AI, AO and DIO tasks. This challenging project walks students through creating the necessary code to convert user input text to Morse code, output this code using a blinking LED, read that LED with a photo sensor, and then output that same code with a buzzer.
Start doing projects on your own with your myDAQ. Get started with a few ideas here. Now that students are comfortable acquiring and outputting data with a myDAQ and processing this data with DAQExpress, students are challenged to complete five open ended projects. Five prompts are given for creating an: audio modulator, crowd noise meter, heart rate monitor, combination lock, and piano keys. Students are not given explicit instructions on how to complete each of these, and so though they build on the skills developed earlier, these are more challenging than previous projects.

myDAQ

Combines a comprehensive set of plug-and-play computer-based lab instruments with portability for hands-on student learning in or outside the lab.

DAQExpress

Save time with quick, clear access to DAQ measurements, get instant access to data without the need to program, then apply analysis or program for advanced acquisition, using built-in interactive tools to rapidly make data-driven decisions.

Required Software

  • DAQExpress 1.0

Required Hardware*

  • myDAQ - View Specifications
  • NTC 10kΩ thermistor
  • 100Ω, 220Ω,1.5kΩ, 10kΩ, 100kΩ, 10MΩ resistors
  • 100pF, 0.001uF, 0.1μF, 1μF,   capacitor
  • 3.5mm microphone
  • Buzzer
  • Potentiometer
  • Rotary encoder
  • Speaker
  • Breadboard
  • Wires
  • LEDs
  • DC Motor
  • Photocell
  • 2N3904 npn transistor
  • 1N4001 general-purpose rectifier
  • TIP120 resistor

INSTRUCTOR RESOURCES

Instructor resources are available. Get access

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