Course Overview

COVID-19 Instructions for ECE 445 Senior Design in Fall 2020

Hello everyone! As you probably know, in this course you will form teams and propose projects that solve an engineering problem in a unique way. The projects generally involve a device that you will design, build, and demonstrate. We are excited to see what projects you come up with this semester! In the midst of an ever changing learning environment we want to encourage you to think, create, design, and build exemplary projects. We want to ensure that your experience in 445 demonstrates your potential as an engineer graduating from the University of Illinois.

This semester we face the challenge of conducting the course during the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety of students and staff is the paramount concern and while steps have been taken to ensure the lab environment is safe, we recognize that some students will be taking the course online only. In addition, we have to be prepared for the possibility that the university could transition to remote learning only before the Thanksgiving break. This has led us to make some changes in the course format and means we all need to do some contingency planning.

The course this semester consists of two sections: Students who will have access to the Senior Design Laboratory are in Section H. Students who will be online-only are in Section ONL. We expect that project teams will be a mix of in-person and online-only students and that work on each project will be distributed fairly among the team members. With this in mind, here are a few items that you will need to consider as we enter into this semester.

Control System and User Interface for Hydraulic Bike

Iain Brearton

Featured Project

Parker-Hannifin, a fluid power systems company, hosts an annual competition for the design of a chainless bicycle. A MechSE senior design team of mechanical engineers have created a hydraulic circuit with electromechanical valves, but need a control system, user interface, and electrical power for their system. The user would be able to choose between several operating modes (fluid paths), listed at the end.

My solution to this problem is a custom-designed control system and user interface. Based on sensor feedback and user inputs, the system would change operating modes (fluid paths). Additionally, the system could be improved to suggest the best operating mode by implementing a PI or PID controller. The system would not change modes without user interaction due to safety - previous years' bicycles have gone faster than 20mph.

Previous approaches to this problem have usually not included an electrical engineer. As a result, several teams have historically used commercially-available systems such as Parker's IQAN system (link below) or discrete logic due to a lack of technical knowledge (link below). Apart from these two examples, very little public documentation exists on the electrical control systems used by previous competitors, but I believe that designing a control system and user interface from scratch will be a unique and new approach to controlling the hydraulic system.

I am aiming for a 1-person team as there are 6 MechSE counterparts. I emailed Professor Carney on 10/3/14 and he thought the general concept was acceptable.

Operating modes, simplified:

Direct drive (rider's pedaling power goes directly to hydraulic motor)

Coasting (no power input, motor input and output "shorted")

Charge accumulators (store energy in expanding rubber balloons)

Discharge accumulators (use stored energy to supply power to motor)

Regenerative braking (use motor energy to charge accumulators)

Download Competition Specs:

Team using IQAN system (top right corner):

Team using discrete logic (page 19):