Electromagnetic Levitation Controls Experiment

Engineering Team:

This Senior Design Project focused on producing an experiment suitable for a control systems laboratory class. The experiment consisted of a closed loop magnetic levitation device with a variable controller and graphical interface. A laboratory manual was written to accompany the device outlining instructions of its use. The physical system consists of three primary components: the sensor, the actuator, and the controller. The controllers of this Maglev device were emulated using computer software available in LabVIEW, which utilizes a data acquisition card to act as an electronic control device.

Special thanks to the MAE Department Machine Shop, the Physics Department Machine Shop, and to the UTA Robotics Lab personnel for their assistance and the use of their facilities.

Levitation Bed Assembly- This includes the amplifier electronics, Infrared LED sensor/emitter pair, solenoid magnet, and delivery device.   Electronics - The circuit board of the maglev device consists of two main components;an amplifier circuit and an infrared LED emitter /sensor circuit. The board receives power from a singlular 24-volt DC power supply which is then regulated to 5 volts and 15 volts for each component.

Controller Software- The primary focus of the project was to construct a controls experiment, therefore considerable time was taken in the selection of a controller. After the initial selection of the software PID controller via LabVIEW, additional controllers were considered for added educational value and flexibility. A Phase-Lead controller was introduced to add an additional controller available for testing and analysis by the student. This was outside the original scope of the project, but due to the ease and flexibility of LabVIEW it was quickly incorporated. Some of the other major requirements of the software was to make it hardware independent, to be able to record data, and to be able to be easily reconfigured and modified for future uses. The control system is easily manipulated by means of an interface window in LabVIEW as shown below.

Testing in the Robotics Lab- Ioannes (grad student assistant), Dr. Shiakolas (project advisor), and Brent Scott.
Demonstration- a glimpse of the finished product.


A nice shot of the modified levitation bed in action


Hysteria at 2 a.m. in the Robotics Lab

WIT (Whatever It Takes) Enterprises- Electromagnetic Levitation Controls Experiment
 Brent Scott, Amy Smaistrla, Ioannes (valuable grad student assistant), and Bryan Baron

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