Applied Embedded Control Systems

Course 259

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This five-day course is a complete course in basic automatic control theory and application, yet requires no prior control system design training. With this advanced knowledge the student will be equipped to address getting the highest performance out of a wide variety of automatic control systems - even systems that have such difficult nonlinearities as friction and backlash.

This course includes hands-on sessions with real hardware to demonstrate the practical application of the theory being taught, as it is taught.

The instructor for this course is Tim Wescott. Public course students will receive a copy of his book, Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems (Elsevier/Newnes, 2006).

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • Understand the z transform use it in control systems design
  • Understand performance measures for control systems
  • Specify pertinent, useful, and realistic performance measures for control systems
  • Read, understand, and compose control system block diagrams
  • Analyze control system behavior by manipulating block diagrams
  • Analyze control systems for stability, robustness and performance
  • Use various control system design techniques, including structured design of PID controllers
  • Use sampling theory to design discrete time control systems for real-world problems
  • Measure system characteristics through frequency response and interpret the results
  • Implement control systems in embedded systems in software
  • Deal with the most common real-world issues involved with controlling nonlinear systems

Target Audience

Engineers and managers who are actively designing systems, circuits or software employing embedded processors or FPGAs which must effectively control dynamic systems. In particular, embedded software engineers, embedded circuit designers, systems architects and managers who work with such systems.


Day 1

 • Definition of a control system, definition of the parts of a control system, formal definitions of signals and systems. • Definition of the z transform, modeling systems using transfer functions, system stability.
 • Establishing performance measures in the time and frequency domains
Hands-on Design
 • Design of controllers using pole placement

Day 2

Block Diagramming
 • The control system block diagramming language, block diagram analysis
 • Effects of feedback on performance, estimating performance and stability in the face of plant variations.
 • Definition of a controller, evolution of the PID controller, “advanced” controllers.

Day 3

Hands-on Design
 • Design of controllers using frequency domain design techniques on plant models (hands-on)
Sampling in the Real World
 • Sampling theory, aliasing, orthogonal signals, noise, effects of nonideal sampling
Dealing with Continuous Time
 • The Laplace transform, modeling continuous-time systems, converting models from continuous to discrete time.

Day 4

Nonlinear Systems
 • Characteristics of nonlinear systems, design by linear approximation, designing with nonlinear compensation
Measuring System Characteristics
 • Measuring frequency response
Hands-on Design
 • Using measured frequency response to tune controllers
Software Theory
 • Data types and their effects, quantization effects, overflow and underflow, resource issues.

Day 5

Software Practice
 • Implementation examples – common controllers using fractional, floating point, and integer math.
Instructor Q&A
 • A generous portion of time is set aside on the final day for instructor questions and answers, for hand-on time with the demonstration hardware, and for students to pose questions about their own control systems for instructor comments and suggestions.