Senior Design : Student Resources : Lab : Equipment :

Lab Equipment

The Senior Design Lab has a wide selection of equipment that provides nearly all of the capabilities of the other teaching labs combined. If project needs are not met by the equipment already in the lab, then your TA may be able to help you get what you need. The equipment is often not identical to that found in the other teaching labs, but offers similar functionality. This is done intentionally to get students to expand the experience base.

Lab Kits

Each team is provided with at least one lockable storage drawer in 246 EL, and a portable lab kit. An additional drawer and/or kit may be issued as need arises and facilities allow.

The lab kit includes a box with carrying handle, containing a wiring board for prototyping circuit projects, a kit of pre-cut wires, a multiple-output power supply, a digital multimeter, and a set of 8 cables (2 bnc/bnc, 2bnc/pin, 2 banana/banana, and 2 banana/pin). This is checked out to you by your TA at the beginning of the semester and must be returned undamaged at the end of the semester. Missing lab kits will result in an encumbrance or withheld diploma and a charge of $500.00, so always be sure to lock your lockers! Also, do not store any cables from the lab in your kit. Doing so will result in a loss of points.

Test Equipment

Most equipment is connected to the PCs via HPIB cables. Below is a sampling of the test equipment available:

  • Oscilloscopes up to 500 MHz
  • Power Supplies
  • Logic State Analyzers
  • Network Analyzer
  • Frequency Spectrum Analyzers
  • Voltmeters, Ammeters, and Ohmmeters

For more information on capturing information from an oscilloscope or other piece of equipment, please check out the information about Agilent VEE on the Software page.

Computers

The lab has PC's with Pentium 4 processors, 512 MB RAM, and high-resolution monitors on each bench. These machines are networked to a high-capacity laser printer. Each has an Ethernet connection to the campus network, an HPIB interface card connecting it to all of the standard instruments on its bench, and a sound card. The computers are maintained by the Office of Instructional Computing Support, located across the hall in room 323EL.

The PC's are presently configured with the hardware and software shown here. Their primary uses include:

  • Preparing the final written reports and other course documents, as well as preparing materials for the oral presentation. This is supported by the component applications of Microsoft Office 2000 Pro.
  • Obtaining and printing product information over the Web. This is supported by Netscape with Acrobat and GhostView, allowing download, viewing and printing of standard web documents. Motorola and National Semiconductor, for instance, have almost all their product data sheets on-line, entirely equivalent to their previous paper data books which are becoming obsolete. A wealth of further technical reference information is also to be found on the Web. See in particular the DataBookshelf link on the Links page.
  • Running applications remotely on machines in the Engineering Workstation sites. This is supported by the Exceed X-window support system, which can run X-window sessions on the PC's. Mathematica and most other workstation software, is available this way. Unfortunately, some special interface problems may make Mentor Graphics unavailable through this connection.
  • Running advanced circuit simulations using the professional version of OrCAD which is installed on all of the PC's. This includes schematic capture capability and extensive simulation libraries for IC products from many manufacturers.
  • Communicating with the bench instruments through an HPIB connection, using HPVEE. The connected bench instruments include signal generators, power supplies, meters, and scopes. Waveforms can, for example, be moved from the scopes, processed and printed. A number of automatic data logging and automatic test setups are possible.
  • Laying out printed circuits using an interactive, easy-to-learn printed circuit layout program called EasyTrax, which is available on all the machines. It produces industry-standard output files which can be sent to the Electronics Shop for board fabrication.