Design of a Portable Levitating Ball PID Control Trainer System and Curriculum for Electrical Engineering Technology Students

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Applied Computing; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


This paper details the design of a levitating ball portable training system for in-depth learning of Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) control theory. This system can be incorporated into the Electrical Engineering Technology bachelor degree curriculum laboratories at Michigan Technological University. Based on the prevalence of PID control applications in industry, and it being a relatively advanced concept in traditional, theory heavy, control system courses, it is important to address this topic with a practical system. This has inspired the idea of designing a PID training lab course for the department. Focusing on analog circuits and programmable logic controllers, this lab course would give an in-depth look at the physical layout of the PID control system and how it operates. The laboratory procedures themselves include a physical demonstration of the software implementation of the PID calculation, with access to manipulate the code. PID tuning and understanding how gains at each stage affect the overall outcome of the control system response will be the highlights of the laboratory procedures. The overall layout of the design of this training lab could function as a framework curriculum, meaning that it could be used at other learning institutions other than Michigan Technological University. There are 3 existing courses within the Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) bachelor curriculum that have the flexibility to implement this form of training. This project looks to aid the preparation of future undergraduates interested in automatic control implementations.

Publication Title

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access