Internal combustion engine's throttle control as a motivational theme for teaching microprocessors systems lab classes
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The increased fuel economy and driveability of modern internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) are the result of the application of advanced digital electronics to control the operation of the internal combustion engine (ICE). Microprocessors (and microcontrollers) play a key role in the engine control, by precisely controlling the amount of both air and fuel admitted into the cylinders. Air intake is controlled by utilizing a throttle valve equipped with a motor and gear mechanism as actuator, and a sensor enabling the measurement of the angular position of the blades. This paperwork presents a lab setup that allows students to control the throttle position using a microcontroller that runs a program developed by them. A commercial throttle body has been employed, whereas a power amplifier and a microcontroller board have been hand assembled to complete the experimental setup. This setup, while based in a high-tech, microprocessor-based solution for a real-world, engine operation optimization problem, has the potential to engage students around a hands-on multidisciplinary lab activity and ignite their interest in learning fundamental and advanced topics of microprocessors systems. © 2013 IEEE.