Syllabus for ME/EE 316 Mechatronics and Measurements Laboratory

Fall 2018

Course description

The laboratory provides hands-on experience working with various types of instrumentation and electrical components. Topics include DC and AC circuits, electronic filters, power supplies, function generators, microprocessor boards, analog and digital signals, sensors, Wheatstone bridges, AC-to-DC power conversion, real-time measurement of time response, LabVIEW programming, and motors. Concurrent/prerequisite enrollment with ME 315 and ME 345.

General information

Rico Picone, PhD
Office Hours (CH 103C)
Tu 12–2 and Th 1–2
Office Hours (CSS)
W 3–4
Office Hours (Pan 107)
W 4–5
Office location
CH 103C
Classroom location
PH 107
T 8–10:50 am (A1), Th 8–10:50 (B1), F 1–3:50 (C1)


Laboratory manual

The lab manual can be found here. Do not print it all at once, since the lab exercises are still evolving and being updated.


The following schedule is tentative.

week topics introduced
no lab
Lab 01: introduction, report writing, equipment
Lab 02: voltage, current, and resistance measurements; function generators; multimeters; oscilloscopes
no lab
Lab 03: RC circuit response
Lab 04: RLC circuit response
no lab
Lab 05: AC to DC conversion diode full wave bridge rectifier
Lab 06: 555 timer and soldering
no lab
Lab 07: thermal response
no lab
no lab (Thanksgiving)
Lab 08: brushed DC motors
no lab (study week)
finals week, no lab, last report due Wed


Class resources will be posted here throughout the semester.

Some texts you may find useful throughout the course:

Some writing resources:

Laboratory policies

A laboratory report will be due the day before the next laboratory exercise. These laboratories will be submitted via Moodle and must be formatted with the LaTeX template provided on Overleaf here (select "Clone this project" to get started). Overleaf allows you and your group to collaborate on the report. Review the LaTeX tutorial in the lab manual for more details.

Laboratory procedures should be performed in the assigned groups, and these groups should submit a single report. The report must be the product of every member of the group, and there must be a section of the report that describes each team member's contribution.

Grading policies

Total grades in the course may be curved, but individual laboratory reports will not be. Grades will be available on moodle throughout the semester.

Laboratory reports


The laboratory report grade will be based on laboratory exercise execution, theoretical analysis, presentation of data and analysis, and writing. The following breakdown is used.

Lab exercise execution (30%)

Overall quality of the execution of the laboratory exercise is considered. Are your results reasonable? Did you describe the proper steps? Do you demonstrate an understanding of the experiment and results?

Theoretical analysis (30%)

Also considered is a theoretical analysis to predict experimental results. This should be performed in virtually all lab exercises. Do you thoroughly describe your analysis? Are there enough equations included to follow your reasoning? Are your predictions correct?

Presentation (10%)

Another consideration is the quality of your overall presentation in the report. This includes your figures (e.g. good scaling of axes, size, clarity, etc.), captions (e.g. can a table or figure be understood without reading the body of the text?), equations (e.g. are they nicely formatted?), etc.

Writing (30%)

A significant portion of your grade depends on writing quality. This includes overall narrative flow of the document, grammar, clarity, and style. This is taken very seriously because it doesn't matter how great your design, analysis, or experiment is—if you can't communicate your results effectively, nobody cares.

Potential grade boost

The weight of your grade depending on report writing is significant. I strongly encourage you to go to the Writing Center early-on to get help with this. I will also be available for help during office hours.

I recognize that, for many students, writing is a significant challenge. In order to foster the development of your writing skills, for each appointment (up to two) with a Peer Reader in the Writing Center, your grade on the relevant report can increase by as much as 10 percentage points. That is, up to 20 of the total 30 percentage points on each assignment can be granted by thorough engagement with Peer Readers on two occasions for the relevant lab report. (Note that the 10 points is not guaranteed—your feedback from the Peer Reader must demonstrate thorough engagement.) In this way, you get credit for working hard to improve your writing.

A note on Peer Reader visits: exactly two group members must go to each session. You must rotate through each member of your group, equally, to get credit. (An audit will be performed at the end of the term, so even if you have received credit, it can be taken away if members do not rotate.)

Academic integrity policy

Cheating or plagiarism of any kind is not tolerated and will result in a failing grade (“F”) in the course. I take this very seriously. Engineering is an academic and professional discipline that requires integrity. I expect students to consider their integrity of conduct to be their highest consideration with regard to the course material.


Everyone is required to join the messaging service called "Slack." We'll use it to communicate with each other during the semester. The Slack team you need to join is called drrico. That's a signup link. Be sure to join the channels #316-general and #316-labs.

Correlation of course & program outcomes

In keeping with the standards of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, each course is evaluated in terms of its desired outcomes and how these support the desired program outcomes. The following sections document the evaluation of this course.

Desired course outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the following course outcomes are desired:
  1. students will have been introduced to several electronics components including resistors, capacitors, and inductors;
  2. students will have learned how to use instrumentation such as function generators, oscilloscopes, multimeters, and breadboards;
  3. students will be able to build basic circuits and probe them using various electrical instrumentation;
  4. students will be able to write a technical report on their laboratory procedures;
  5. students will be able to use various measurement devices, such as calipers, micrometers, and strain gauges;
  6. students will be able to use National Instruments myRIO devices to obtain data from sensor inputs;
  7. students will be able to process, plot, and explain data;

Desired program outcomes

The desired program outcomes are that mechanical engineering graduates have:
  1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering;
  2. an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  3. an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs;
  4. an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams;
  5. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;
  6. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
  7. an ability to communicate effectively;
  8. the broad education necessary to understanding the impact of engineering solutions in a global and social context;
  9. a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning;
  10. a knowledge of contemporary issues; and
  11. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Correlation of outcomes

The following table correlates the desired course outcomes with the desired program outcomes they support.
desired program outcomes
desired course outcomes 1