Teaching analog electronics? Need a lab curriculum? Here’s some material that might be useful.
The lab is based on ‘Mechbot’, an all-analog circuit mobile robot. The robot is wired to engage in a sumo wrestling competition, to attempt to push their opponent out of a ring. Students purchase an inexpensive kit of parts and then progressively develop and test the robot circuitry until they have a completely functional sumo robot. The photo above shows the Mechbot chassis. Students added circuit to the protoboard.
We originally developed the analog electronics lab material for third year mechanical engineering students. The lab was very effective in engaging student interest and enthusiasm for the material. And the final sumo competition was great fun.
The lab instructional material is available <mechbot-lab-manual.pdf>.
Additional photographs and project notes are here <photos-and-notes.zip>.
We did this work in a university lab equipped with the usual instruments – meters, power supplies and scopes. Students would have liked better access to test equipment, so that they could work on their project outside of scheduled lab times.
These days, students could use a Syscomp CircuitGear oscilloscope-generator and an inexpensive wall-wart DC power supply to do much of the development and testing on their own. This takes pressure off the university labs and improves the skill-level of the students in operating electronic equipment.
Questions about Mechbot? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be glad to answer them.