A Remote Electronics Laboratory for Physical Experiments using Virtual Breadboards

Document type: Conference Papers
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Ingvar Gustavsson, Thomas Olsson, Henrik Åkesson, Lars Håkansson
Title: A Remote Electronics Laboratory for Physical Experiments using Virtual Breadboards
Translated title: Fjärrstyrt elektroniklaboratorium för fysiska experiment med virtuell kopplingsplatta
Conference name: ASEE Annaual Conference
Year: 2005
Pagination: 12235-12247
Publisher: American Society for Engineering Education
City: Portland, OR, United States
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Engineering - Dept. of Signal Processing (Sektionen för teknik – avd. för signalbehandling)
School of Engineering S- 372 25 Ronneby
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: ingvar.gustavsson@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: In traditional university laboratories students conduct experiments under the supervision of an instructor. A remotely-operated laboratory for undergraduate education in electrical engineering which emulates a traditional laboratory has been set up by Blekinge Institute of Technology (hereafter referred to as BTH), Ronneby, Sweden. The laboratory is a client/server application and the Internet is used as the communication infrastructure. Most remote laboratories elsewhere are used for fixed experiments but in the BTH laboratory students around the world can assemble circuits simultaneously from electronic components in much the same way as they do in a traditional laboratory. The teacher or a member of the laboratory staff mounts the components to be used in the lab sessions in a circuit assembly robot in the experiment server in Ronneby. Students use the mouse to connect some of the corresponding virtual components on a virtual breadboard displayed on the client PC. Students thus control the robot by means of the wiring on the virtual breadboard. Virtual instrument front panels are used to control and read the instruments by means of remote control. To avoid potentially serious student mistakes e.g. overloading a component the teacher can preset limits to the source voltages which are accessible to students. The teacher can also restrict student circuits by, for example, dictating minimum impedance in loops created with aid of the components provided. The number of nodes provided on the virtual breadboard is adequate for experiments in undergraduate education. The laboratory is always open and can be used by registered students and guest users alike. The time-sharing scheme used allows simultaneous access for up to 8 client PCs. A 56 kbit/s modem and MS Internet Explorer are all that are required. The client software can be downloaded from the laboratory web site at http://distanslabserver.its.bth.se/. This paper discusses the remotely operated laboratory at BTH; it focuses on the virtual breadboard.
Subject: Signal Processing\General
Keywords: Remote lab, on-line lab, electronics, laboratory