L. Sanchez, I. Payo

University of Castilla-La Mancha (SPAIN)
The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) suggests changes in the teaching-learning models. These changes are aimed at a more autonomous work of students, grouping practices, use of new didactic technology applications, etc. Taking this in mind we have designed a mini servomotor for practical training of electric engineering students adapted to the new learning models.

The main aspects considered in its design are numbered below:
-Competence based education and training. Practical training with the proposed didactic equipment will help to students to acquire some of the competences that an electronic engineering graduate must acquire in the EHEA, as e.g. knowledge of electromechanical systems and automatic control systems.
-Safety. The didactic equipment complies with the safety regulations in teaching laboratories to avoid personal and material damages.
-Modular design and easy assembly. The equipment has been designed thinking in its didactic purpose. Therefore the equipment is constituted by different modules (commercially available) easily linkable.

These modules are:
1) a mini DC motor of low power with optical encoder
2) a servo amplifier card
3) a control board (model arduino)
4) a plastic box container for all previous parts

-Friendly graphical user interface. The equipment is easily controlled from a computer using the visual programming language “LabView”. This program allows to the students to implement different control laws for position and velocity of a DC motor.
-Low consumption. The energy needed by the didactic equipment is so low that the power supply can be even the same computer used for its control. Therefore, this didactic equipment does not require a large and heavy power supply, as the most of the current didactic equipments.
-Portable. Thanks to its small size (11 x 6 x 6 cm) and weight (less than 200 grs) the equipment can be easily transported by the students from the university to home and vice versa.
-Flexible working timetable. As a consequence of the previous point, the students can work with the didactic equipment when and where they want. This make that the working timetable of the students is more flexible and they are not obligated to follow a rigid laboratory timetable, imposed by the teacher as it currently occurs.
-Low cost. One of the first objectives of this project was to design a low cost didactic equipment with commercially available products. The price of the new didactic equipment is around 100 EUR (130 USD) .This fact allows to the university performing laboratory practices in which each student can works with an equipment individually and even gives to students the chance to buy their own equipment.