Texas A&M University is not only known for its high teaching standards and rich tutoring heritage, but also for the advanced equipped laboratories that enable student to understand and sense the real engineering aspects of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
With the fast expansion of this field and its applications and the increasing demand for experienced- professionals make us more determined to enable students and then graduates to face these developments.
At this time, there are eight laboratories in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Program where computers play an important role in data acquisition and control, or, as simulation engines for experiments. Also, the Central Electric Shop is available for senior student to design and develop their senior projects.
• Basic Electric Circuits Laboratory (ECEN 214 and ECEN215).
• Digital Systems and Computer Architecture Laboratory (ECEN 248 and ECEN350)
• Electronics Laboratory (ECEN 325 and ECEN 326)
• Digital and Wireless Communication Laboratory (ECEN455 and ECEN489)
• Machines and Power Systems Laboratory (ECEN338, ECEN438 and ECEN459)
• Senior Design Support Center and Electric Shop (ECEN403 and ECEN404)
• Microprocessor and DSP Systems Laboratory (ECEN 448 and ECEN449)
• Computer Laboratory (ECEN303, ECEN314, ECEN489 and ECEN459)
Basic Electric Circuits
This laboratory is used for teaching many of the basic concepts of electric circuits and provides students with necessary hands-on experience. The lab has eight stations and instructional area. Each station has a NI-ElVIS kit, oscilloscope, arbitrary waveform generator, digital multi-meter, and multiple DC/AC power supplies. Most of the instrumentation is connected and controlled by a computer interface bus installed via the automatic bench. The lab also has component kits, breadboards, and LCR meters needed to conduct the experiments. During the lab sessions, students are expected to design and test circuits using EWB and real components. This laboratory is also available to students during normal operating hours when there are no scheduled labs.
Laboratory experiments conducted in this lab include: exploring circuit solving techniques such as equivalent networks and superposition, testing non-ideal sources and renewable sources with emphasis on solar panel energy, operational amplifier applications (electronic security system design), RC and RCL circuit analysis and transient response, AC power measurement, circuit simulation using Multisim, Nodal & Mesh Analysis, and Thevenin’s Theorem.
This laboratory is also used for teaching the basic electrical engineering principles to non-electrical engineering students. In this course, students learn the basic concepts of electrical engineering, such as basic circuits and measurements, first order transient response, steady-state AC circuits, frequency response, and basic digital logic circuits to gain some insight in the world of electrical engineering.
Digital Systems and Computer Architecture
For ECEN248, the lab complements the course lecture material by offering the students a true practical experience that covers complete digital system design cycle, including specification, design, prototyping, and digital circuit testing and verification. The lab currently hosts eight workbenches completely equipped with, ALTERA DE2 Boards, digital system prototyping kits, PC workstations for running CAD tools, oscilloscopes, signal generators, power supplies, and digital multimeters. The lab is based on a well designed set of experiments that aim to enhance student understanding of practical design and testing issues, and the use of state-of-the-art CAD tools for design entry, circuit simulation, and digital system prototyping using hardware description languages and programmable logic devices (PLDs).
The lab experiments cover several fundamental topics in digital system design, including combinational circuit design, sequential circuit design and timing verification, and synthesis of finite-state machines for specific applications such as traffic light control. At the end of the course, the students should be able to apply their knowledge from course lectures and their lab expertise to design real digital systems for various real-life applications using modern CAD-based design entry and synthesis tools.
For ECEN 350, the main purpose of this lab is to enhance student understanding of contemporary computer architecture design and operation principles through a series of programming, software design, and hardware design experiments. The lab is an integral and important component of the computer architecture course. The lab currently hosts eight workbenches, each completely equipped with FPGA-based system prototyping kits, PC workstations for running assembly language simulators, software design tools, and hardware description language (Verilog HDL) design and synthesis tools. The workbenches are also equipped with oscilloscopes, signal generators, power supplies, and digital multimeters. By the end of the course, students should be able to apply their knowledge and expertise to write, optimize, and run assembly-language programs for typical RISC processors. The students should also be able to write Verilog HDL descriptions for several basic processor components such as register files, arithmetic circuits, control units, and memory interface units, then synthesize and test their designs on the FPGA-based prototyping kits provided in the lab.
This laboratory is used for teaching many of the basic and advanced electronic engineering experiments. The lab has eight stations and an instructional area. Each station has a NI-Elvis data acquisition system, oscilloscope, arbitrary waveform generator, digital multi-meter, and multiple AC/DC power supplies. Most of the instrumentation is connected to and controlled by a computer interface bus. This laboratory is also available for student use during normal operating hours when there are no scheduled labs. The lab also contains component kits, breadboards and LCR meters necessary to conduct the experiments. Student experiments include: network analysis and bode plots; operational amplifiers; introduction to diodes; and characterization, basic configurations and applications of the BJT and CMOS transistor amplifiers. Students also conduct some design projects with transistors and operational amplifiers.
Digital and Wireless Communication
The Digital and Wireless Communication labs offer students a challenging opportunity to excel in research and hands-on experience in digital and wireless communication. These labs give the students a taste of the industrial applications in addition to supporting research and offering exciting work opportunities for graduates.
The ECEN455 lab has been developed to enable students to understand basic concepts in digital communication techniques. In particular, students will examine topics in source coding, sampling, quantization, PCM Encoding, Decoding, BER measurements in noisy channels, PSK , FSK modulation, and Block Coding. This lab also uses a software component enabling the students to conduct their experiments remotely via internet access.
The ECEN478 Wireless Communication course takes a unified view of the fundamentals of wireless communication and explains the concepts underpinning theses advances at a level accessible to an audience with a basic background in probability and digital communication. Topics covered include MIMO (multiple input multiple output) communication, space-time coding, and OFDM and CDMA. The concepts of the ECEN478 course are illustrated in this lab using many examples from wireless systems such as GSM, CDMA, and OFDM. Particular emphasis is placed on the interplay between concepts and their implementation in systems. A set of experiments has been designed for this lab to give the students hands-on experience in wireless communication using NI PXI units and Agilent equipment. Namely, the students will experiment with PSK, QAM, FSK, Channel Estimation, CDMA, and OFDM techniques.
Machines and Power Systems
This laboratory is used for teaching Electrical Machines and Power Electronics. The lab has fourteen stations and an instructional area. Eight stations are dedicated for teaching electrical machines. They are equipped with multiple electrical machines such as DC motors, synchronous motors and generators, single and three phase induction motors, and power transformers. The stations also have conventional instrumentation and virtual instruments for testing and data acquisition. The remaining six stations are equipped with Power Electronics equipment and components to support the lecture material presented as part of ECEN 459, Power System Analysis. The lab introduces students to power system components, component integration into the power system, power system stability, load flow, economic dispatch, and power system faults and protection. The lab includes a mix of computer simulations (using PowerWolrd and PSCAD) and hands-on experiments. The laboratory shares the six workbench stations dedicated for the Power Electronics laboratory ECEN438, while adding extra modules dedicated to power system analysis and experimentation. Experiments involve testing with transmission line parameters and models, different types of power system faults, and protection relays. The equipment of this lab also includes power Diodes, MOSFETS, IGBTs, Thyristors, chopper/inverter control units, thyristor controllers, and switch-mode power supplies. The lab is also equipped with oscilloscopes, arbitrary waveform generators, digital multi-meters, and multiple AC/DC power supplies.
Central Electric Shop
The senior design support center is a facility for students to design and develop their senior projects. This center is equipped with instruments and devices such as Power Supplies, Function Generators, Digital Multi-meters, RLC meters, Oscilloscopes, and a large variety of electrical and electronic components that are useful in helping students develop their projects.
The electrical shop is a common facility for electrical engineering laboratories, created for the repair, construction, and prototyping of electronic items. The shop shares space with the senior design center, where the senior students can consult and seek advice from the full-time technician whose office is located here. The shop mainly consists of two workstations equipped with the necessary measurements and testing devices. It includes a Soldering and De-soldering Station and equipped with measurement and testing tools. Moreover, the shop includes the latest technology of PCB prototyping machines (Mechanical and Laser) to produce PCB boards that the senior students design in their projects.
Microprocessor and DSP Systems
The purpose of the real-time signal processing lab is to enable students to learn features and architectures of Texas Instruments (TI) DSP TMS320C6416/TMS320C6713, assembly language programming, software development tools, and real-time implementation of FIR filters, IIR filters and the FFT algorithms. The TMS320C6000 family is TI’s most powerful Digital Signal Processor based on Very-Long-Instruction-Word (VLIW) architecture. The students go through design and implementation phases of various signal processing projects and test their implementations using Texas Instrument’s Code Composer Studio.
In addition to TI TMS320C6416/ TMS320C6713 Starter Kits (DSK) and NI LabVIEW FPGA Module and CompactRIO, the lab is also equipped with up-to-date digital and analog equipment including Digital Oscilloscopes, Logic Analyzers, Programmable Digital Multimeters, Function Generators, and DC and AC Power Supplies.
The basic objective of the microprocessor lab is to acquaint the students with microprocessor systems. This lab serves the Microprocessor System Design course. This laboratory is well-equipped with trainers designed to provide comprehensive hands-on training employing the latest state-of- the-art technology. The students develop their designs and then get the designs onto XUPV5-LX110T development platform. This board is a microprocessor training system from Xilinx. Among other features, this system provides an advanced hardware platform which consists of a high performance FPGA supported by a comprehensive collection of peripheral components. Peripheral components enable students to build complex systems and to perform several experimental tests on different types of memories and peripherals. In addition to these trainer kits, this laboratory is also equipped with all necessary digital and analog equipment, such as: Digital Oscilloscopes with logic analyzing capabilities, programmable digital multi-meters, power supplies and the like. Hence, students are able to efficiently and conveniently carry out all lab experiments. In this lab, students interface different peripherals such as DIP switches, LEDs, LCD, and VGA monitor to a software processor by writing peripherals drivers. They also learn the behavior of the interrupt controller and write an interface driver using Verilog language to read for special IR device.
Signal and Systems, as well as Power Systems experiments and simulations, are conducted in one of the TAMUQ computer labs. Equipment in these labs includes up-to-date workstations and numerous output devices such as printers. A large selection of software and graphics packages is available in these computer labs.
A basic aim of the signal and systems lab is to apply the theoretical concepts learned in the Signal and Systems course (ECEN314). More specifically, in this computer laboratory, the students conduct on a weekly basis some computer experiments with the MATLAB and LABVIEW software packages. In addition, a well designed set of tutorials are offered to the students in order to enable them to learn the basics of MATLAB and LABVIEW programs. The laboratory experiments cover continuous and digital signal and their properties, linear time-invariant systems, Fourier series and Fourier transform, sampling, and filters. In summary, the objective of this laboratory is to give students practical programming skills in MATLAB and LABVIEW that enable them to study and understand the theory behind signals and systems, as well as to validate the theory with real-word examples.