Examples Experimenter

Control that disk!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been running a dozen spinning disk experiments for the 250-strong Controls and Instrumentation 3 Course, which is led by Dr Aristides Kiprakis from the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

Here’s an introductory video I prepared for the students, which shows the experiments, what is in the boxes, the interface, and demonstrates the real-time nature of the stream.

Tim standing with remote labs boxes

Here are some assorted fun facts about the firmware (of greater or lesser consequence!)

  • 5ms time step in the PID loop (reporting to user every 4th step)
  • 7 different weights of disk
  • 10V maximum motor voltage
  • 12 different disks available simultaneously to this class
  • 21 states in the firmware’s Finite State Machine
  • 24/7 running – experiments available around the clock
  • 43g minimum disk weight
  • 110g maximum disk weight
  • 250 number of students in the class (approx)
  • 500 pulses per revolution in the encoders (2000 pulses effective)
  • 1453 lines of C/C++ code in the firmware
  • 4300 RPM max spin speed (approx, depends on disk)

We’ll be coming to a close of this run soon, when reports are due. More updates after that! Meanwhile, here’s the closing credits screen students see when their session ends: