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Extra material for a Mechatronics course?

  1. Jan 2, 2012 #1
    Hey guys so I'm enrolled in a Mechatronics/Robotics course next semester and it's notorious for being one of the hardest classes that I can take. I'm a little worried about the difficulty of the class, but I think I can get through it haha. Anyway, I was wondering if there were any online lectures or notes or anything that I could take a look at to help me have a little advantage going into the course? Even if I don't really understand much before the class starts, it's always helpful to at least have seen the material. In the last couple weeks of my System Dynamics course last semester, we had some introduction to control systems, block diagrams, and PID stuff (very very basic knowledge). So I guess that's where I stand now. Any suggestions would be great!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2012 #2
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Jan 4, 2012 #3
    You're not giving any detail at all. There are lots and lots of courses that are related to Mechatronics. So, I suggest that you give info like the course outline or topics that are covered over the study period of that course. Only then I can give you advice.
  5. Jan 4, 2012 #4
    Sorry, I just assumed that all Mechatronics courses would be similar. Here's the course description. I'll see if I can find the syllabus or something from last year, but I don't know if I'll be able to.

    "Focuses on design and construction of microprocessor-controlled electro-mechanical systems. Lectures review critical circuit topics, introduce microprocessor architecture and programming, discuss sensor and actuator component selection, robotic systems, and design strategies for complex, multi-system devices. Lab work reinforces lectures and allows hands-on experience with robotic design. Students must design and build an autonomous robotic device."

    It's also a senior level/graduate level course if that matters lol
  6. Jan 4, 2012 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    sees kinda obvious micro proc programming will be the toughest part. find out what lang is being used and study it. Is it microprocessor assembler or PIC or JAVA? Are they doing arduino or PIC or lego mindstorms hardware?

    The more trivial part is the sensor technology but basically your micro will read these guys do some calculation and tell an actuator to do something so it always comes back to the micro programming.
  7. Jan 4, 2012 #6

    have you google'd "microprocessor architecture and programming", "sensor and actuator component selection", "robotic systems" or "design strategies for complex, multi-system devices"

    this is obviously not a freshman level course, you should have some understanding of basic mechatronic principles. the next step would be to put all of them together, or study them in further depth.

    if anything, read through the first few chapters of the courses book

    result #1 from a google search for "mechatronics, video course"
  8. Jan 4, 2012 #7
    I hope its not microprocessor assembly. I took a course programming on the Motorola 68000 and that was awful haha. I think I have a pretty good grasp on Java and C++ though. I also took a workshop (4hrs) on the Arduino so it is possible that we will be using that, but I don't think the class will provide those for everyone. I'll email the professor later today and find out what exactly the course will be covering (I'll see if I can get the syllabus).

    I feel like its going to have to deal with a lot of LabVIEW coding since that's what we had to use for our PID control system project last semester. We used LabVIEW to take in readings from a sensor and then used that to control the actuator. I just kinda hate LabVIEW because it's so hard to practice with since you generally need some sort of DAQ system right?

    No, I haven't googled any of those things yet mainly because I just assumed a mechatronics course would be similar across the board like thermodynamics, fluids, statics, ect so someone would just know of some good sites to look at. Obviously, since mechatronics is a combination of nearly all the engineering paths it makes sense that it could vary considerably between schools. Once I find out what the book is, I'll order it and begin looking through it. I'll go ahead and email the professor so I know what I should be looking at in terms of programming language and what not.

    Thanks for the help guys
  9. Jan 4, 2012 #8
    Sounds similar to what I've done a few years ago.

    My prof prepared essential components like programmer, microprocessor, Xbee(or similar antennas), minor electrical components, breadboard and sensors such as IR sensor, accelerometer or gyros, etc which my group had to purchase.

    You will likely have to design a simple circuit for your robot. I don't expect any difficulty in creating the circuit for such course. The only pain is that you may need to read thoroughly product descriptions of the antenna and microprocessor.

    If your robotic project is about obstacle detection, mapping, localization, controlling servo and path planning, then data acquisition will be important.

    If you could, implement extended Kalman filter (EKF) which would be impressive for such project. Eliminating noise in the data coming from the sensors is also crucial. I expect that you have done some coursework in regard to sensor calibration.

    PID is usually sufficient for such small project but if you know how to design better discrete controller such as Ragazzini's or observer controller and combined with EKF, you would have a very accurate robot.

    Don't pay too much attention on my recommendations as you would probably need to spend even more time to study those. Usually, such course is designed to get you a basic experience in designing a small robot. So just go along with the course and it's not that bad.
  10. Jan 5, 2012 #9
    Haha, hopefully you're right in that it's not too bad! Do you have any advice for staying on top of everything for this type of course since I feel like it's going to throw a lot of information at us? Because it's regarded as one of the hardest courses (5.8/6.0 in difficulty for the past few years) I kinda want to prove to myself that I can crush a course if I put my mind to it. I kinda float through courses and don't really apply myself knowing that I can still pass fairly easily.
  11. Jan 5, 2012 #10
    Yes, this course can be very stressful if the course is project oriented. Just as you said, you need to put your mind to this as best as you can. As I recall, balancing my robotic work with other assignments from other courses was the worst nightmare in my Uni life. If you can, do not take this course in conjunction with other difficult courses.
  12. Jan 5, 2012 #11
    Worst nightmare eh? That sounds fun haha. I think I will only have one other course that will take up a lot of my time (final senior design project) so I should hopefully be able to devote enough time to mechatronics.
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