Classes - McLain

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Syllabus - ECEn 483 / MeEn 431

Learning Outcomes

The objective of ECEn 483 / MeEn 431 is to help you develop the following technical skills:

  1. The ability to simulate the behavior of complex nonlinear dynamical models in Matlab and Simulink.
  2. The ability to simplify those models into linear transfer function and state space representations.
  3. The ability to develop design specifications for physical systems with sensing and actuation limits.
  4. The ability to design PID controllers for systems described by linear time-invariant models.
  5. The ability to use frequency-response-based techniques to design frequency domain controllers for systems described by linear time-invariant models.
  6. The ability to design state-space-based controllers for systems described by linear time-invariant models.

Organization of Class

The class will be organized according to the following matrix, where each learning outcome is first taught and then applied to several case studies. “L1”, “HW1”, “Whirlybird”, and “F” refer to specific case studies that we will use throughout the semester. The lecture case studies will be presented in class, the homework case studies will be assigned as homework problems, and the final case study will be worked during the final exam.

Case Studies
Outcomes Lecture Homework Lab Final
Physical Models L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
Design Models L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
Design Specs L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
PID L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
Loopshaping L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
Observer-based L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F


Franklin, Powell, Emami-Naeini, Feedback Control of Dynamic Systems, Prentice Hall, editions 6 or 7.

Additional Resources


ECEn 380 or MeEn 335


Final grades in the course will be based on the following distribution:

  • Homework: 15%
  • Labs: 20%
  • Midterm 1: 20%
  • Midterm 2: 20%
  • Final: 25%

Petitions for regrading must be made within one week of return date.

Grading wil be roughly

  • A: 90 to 100%
  • B: 80 to 90%
  • C: 70 to 80%
  • D: 60 to 70%
  • E: below 60%

A final course average below 60% will result in a failing grade. Below 65% risks a failing grade.

Exam averages are targeted to fall between 75 and 82%


Homework will be assigned weekly and is due in class on the day indicated on the schedule. Late homework will not be accepted. The solutions to the homework will be placed on the class wiki after it is due.


There will be eight labs associated with the whirlybird hardware. You must complete all of the labs to pass the course. The labs must be passed off to the TA by the day indicated on the the schedule. Late labs will be accepted but the grade will be reduced by 20 points (out of 100) each week that the lab is late. All labs must be completed by the last day of class (December 11).

Midterm Exam

There will be two midterm exams on October 5 and November 9.

Final Exam

The scheduled date for the final exam is Friday, December 14, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. In compliance with university policy, no early exams will be given.

For the final exam you will be given a description of a simple physical system with nonlinear equations of motion and you will be asked to:

  1. Implement the equations of motion in Simulink,
  2. Develop transfer function and state space representations of the system,
  3. Develop reasonable design specifications based on the physical constraints,
  4. Design and implement in Simulink a PID controller to meet the specifications,
  5. Design and implement in Simulink a loopshaping controller to meet the specifications,
  6. Design and implement in Simulink an observer based controller to meet the specifications.

A practice exam based on one of the homework case studies will be handed out several weeks before the final.

The exam will be closed book, closed notes, closed internet, and time limited (three hours).

You will be given a computer with Matlab/Simulink and MS Word loaded.

Teacher Evaluations

At the end of the semester I will send out information about on-line teacher evaluations. Teacher evaluations are an important part of faculty evaluation and development. The success of the program depends upon student participation. To encourage participation, I will drop the two lowest homework scores for those who have completed the evaluation. To let me know that you have filled out the form, either (1) check the box that allows your name to be released on the evaluation form (note that names will not be correlated with evaluations), or (2) send me an email indicating that you have filled out the on-line form.


Office Hours

Please respect my office hours. If they are not accommodating, make an appointment with me via email. If I am in my office but the door is closed, then I am not available for tutoring or consultation.

Honor Code Standards

In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university.

Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and supports an effective learning and working environment. It is the university’s expectation, and my own expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please contact the Honor Code Office (4440 WSC, 422-2847, if you have questions about those standards.

Preventing Sexual Discrimination or Harassment

Sexual discrimination or harassment (including student-to-student harassment) is prohibited both by the law and by Brigham Young University policy. If you feel you are being subjected to sexual discrimination or harassment, please bring your concerns to the professor. Alternatively, you may lodge a complaint with the Equal Employment Office (D-240C ASB, 422-5895, or with the Honor Code Office (4440 WSC, 422-2847,

Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability that may affect your performance in this course, you should get in touch with the office of University Accessibility Center (1520 WSC, 422-2767, This office can evaluate your disability and assist the professor in arranging for reasonable accommodations.