European technical education syllabuses are being updated to equip engineers of the future as technology around us changes.
One of the changes in technology that we are seeing increasingly is in power electronics. As you know Matrix TSL is based in God’s own county in Yorkshire, in the North of England. Up here we get some weather. That’s a pain in the neck if you are into sun bathing, but if you fancy generating a bit of energy using wind power then it is just the place to be. Consequently in the hills nearly every small farm has a miniature wind turbine. The more optimistic country dwellers also have solar panels. Solar energy and wind energy is converted into 240V by a clever box of power electronics circuitry and fed into the electricity distribution.
The more switched on country dweller also has one of the new Mitsubishi Outlander Plug in Electric Hybrid Vehicles which they charge using their own electricity. With a range of around 30 miles the Outlander has a large battery which can be charged from 240V, a three phase motor generator unit and a clever box of power electronics circuitry that connects the electric systems together.
These are just two examples of systems that use power electronics. As our world relies less on fossil fuels and more on new technologies the uses of Power Electronics grows and becomes more important. In the UK, Pearson’s recent BTEC National reflects this growing importance to both electrical and electronic engineers with a new unit on Power and Energy electronics. It’s a really well specified unit: well thought through, relevant, with some weighty topics that will challenge and reward students and really give them a good understanding of the subject. We also see a number of Universities delivering courses such as “Energy and Power Engineering” across the UK and other parts of the World.
To support what we’re seeing in industry and to reflect Colleges and Universities delivering these courses, we have developed a new learning resource for Power and Energy Electronics based on our Locktronics range (see above). There are a huge, 24 experiments covering a wide range of topics:
- The p-n junction diode
- The zener diode
- On/off control – BJT switch
- On/off control – MOSFET switch
- On/off control – thyristor switch
- On/off/direction control – H bridge
- Motor control – BJT emitter follower
- Motor control – darlington driver
- Motor control – MOSFET source follower
- Motor control – PWM
- Phase control
- Lamp control – thyristor
- Lamp control – triac
- The UJT relaxation oscillator
- Lamp control – UJT and thyristor
- Voltage conversion – half-wave rectification
- Controlled half-wave rectification
- Voltage conversion – full-wave rectification
- The level shifter 45
- The buck converter
- The boost converter
- Zener diode voltage regulator
- The 7805 voltage regulator
- The 555 inverter
The pack of worksheets is used with a Locktronics kit that is supplied in two trays with all power supplies and parts needed: just add meters and an oscilloscope to create a really good Power and Energy electronics learning suite. The workbook is around 100 pages long and includes notes for teachers. The image below shows one worksheet on buck converters which efficiently convert a large DC voltage to a smaller one:
It’s a great learning resource. You can access it here.
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