Capstone Senior Design Project Selections from Recent Years

Breaker Wear Monitoring

Breaker Wear Monitoring

First Place Award Overall for the 2013 Michigan Tech Undergraduate Expo
Team Members

Beau Baldwin, Matt Boersema, Nathan Rogers, Sarah Wells, and Elias Whitley, Electrical
Engineering

Advisor

 John Lukowski

Sponsor

ITC Holdings and Mitsubishi Electric

Project Overview

Our goal is to create a setup to test a Mitsubishi 120SFMT40J transmission breaker at low
voltage/high current (40,000A) (LVHC) and to use interruption data from specific ITC breakers to
estimate percent wear based on a new Mitsubishi wear curve. The LVHC test will use an SEL-351-s
relay, determined to be the best by a previous Senior Design team, to monitor the current and
the corresponding interruption. We want to verify that the wear-accumulation program on the relay is
functioning as specified.

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Locomotive Sanding Container Level Sensing

Locomotive Sanding Container Level Sensing

Team Members

Andrew Ranta, Justin Breeland, Jacob Glair, Kellen Murray, and Meng Yang, Electrical Engineering; Jeff
Langlois, Computer Engineering

Advisor

Duane Bucheger

Sponsor

Union Pacific

Project Overview

Under conditions requiring improved acceleration, locomotives use compressed air to spray sand in
front of the drive wheels. Such systems are referred to as “sanders” by the industry and are mandated
by federal regulation. The sand is stored onboard the locomotive in tanks or sand boxes, and refilling
these tanks is performed at a rail yard via a sanding tower. Our team will be implementing a remotesensing
system to detect sand levels in each of the sanding containers on the GE AC4400 locomotive.
The data will be displayed to allow for quick and safe assessment of sand levels..

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Automation of Water Works Valve Test System

Automation of Water Works Valve Test System

Team Members

William Preston and Hanyu Lou, Electrical Engineering; John Ozoga, Computer Engineering;
Neil White, Mechanical Engineering.

Advisor

Trever Hassell

Sponsor

EJ Group

Project Overview

Our team is developing a conceptual system that will further automate the leak testing of water works valves to improve cycle time and reliability over that of the current test method.

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Power-Assisted Door Safety System for Armored Vehicles

Power-Assisted Door Safety System for Armored Vehicles

Team Members

Brad Johnston, Alex Puestow, Matt Klotzer,
and Callin O’Farrell, Electrical Engineering; Ryan
Anderson, Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Donald Secor and Dr. Duane Bucheger, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sponsor

BAE Systems-Global Tactical Systems, Sterling Heights, Michigan

Project Overview

Extensive armoring on some military ground vehicles makes the doors too heavy to be manipulated by hand. These heavy doors utilize hydraulic or electric actuators to operate. Such systems remove the risk of operators manipulating heavy doors, but people or objects in the path of these doors could still be at risk. The goal is to develop a prototype system that demonstrates different object-detection technologies that could be used as a safety system to stop a poweroperated door. The technologies should also be applicable to improving situational awareness around the vehicle.

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Reducing Maintenance Costs through Continuous Monitoring

Reducing Maintenance Costs through Continuous Monitoring

Team Members

Jeff Sudgen, Computer Engineering; Jordan
Bosque and Ethan Grindle, Electrical Engineering;
David Brown, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor

 Dr. Chee-Wooi Ten

Sponsor

ITC Holdings

Project Overview

North America Electric Reliability Corp. is releasing an update to the standard for Protection Systems Maintenance and Testing, PRC-005-2. We designed a software solution to assist ITC in meeting the monitoring requirements of PRC-005-2 to maintain the current maintenance periods.

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The Science of Fit: Pressure Sensing Face Mask System Development

The Science of Fit: Pressure Sensing Face Mask System Development

Team Members

Robert Mallow, Matt Little, Yuanfei Min, and Kyle
Grundy, Electrical Engineering

Advisor

 Dr. Duane Bucheger

Sponsor

3M

Project Overview

The team is creating a sensing system to identify the pressure profile created by the interaction between a facemask and a variety of faces. This system will be used for analytical studies on the science of fit. This involves creating a pressure sensing method, collecting data, and creating a visual representation of a pressure profile.

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Mobile Microgrid

Mobile Microgrid

Team Members

Antonio Donati, Adam Heskitt, Shawn Mayorga, Hillori Mitchell, Electrical Engineering; and Hanchen Liu and Zhuang Shao, Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

 Dr. Wayne Weaver and Dr. Gordon Parker

 

Sponsor

Department of Energy

Project Overview

This project is focused on the configuration and improvement of a self-contained electrical microgrid inside the mobile laboratory for hybrid electric vehicle education. The microgrid system of the lab includes generators, plug-in vehicles, dynamometers, and renewable energy sources. To extend the education, research, and outreach capabilities of the mobile lab, we implemented a system-level monitoring and control system, power-flow simulation, wind turbine, and various demonstrations.

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Remote Water-Sensing Hydrant

Remote Water-Sensing Hydrant

Team Members

Adam Geml, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Michael Mermuys, Mechanical Engineering; Xin Hao, Jonathon Nelson, Xingbo Song, and Zhi Zeng, Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Dr. Donald Secor

Sponsor

EJ

Project Overview

The scope of this project is focused on the dry barrel hydrant and creating and packaging a prototyped sensor to wirelessly transmit a signal if the hydrant contains water. The goal is to reduce or eliminate the number of hydrants damaged due to freezing weather.

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Solar-Powered Patio Umbrella

Solar-Powered Patio Umbrella

Team Members

Joseph R. Dowdle, Xiaolei Zhang, Douglas Sims, and Erik Griffith, Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Dr. Duane Bucheger 

Sponsor

3M

Project Overview

As solar technology gains popularity, there are emerging needs for ways to harness solar energy. One such area involves utilizing solar energy to provide light once sunlight becomes scarce or no longer available. With an interest in exploring this developing area, 3M seeks to assess the commercial viability of designing and building a solar-powered umbrella that is capable of using solar energy to power a lighting system. Additionally, the umbrella system should be capable of harnessing enough solar energy to provide four hours of reading light and have a manufacturing cost of $50 and a mean time before failure of at least five years.

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Power-Assisted Door Safety System for Armored Vehicles

Power-Assisted Door Safety System for Armored Vehicles

Team Members

Keith Helminen, Mark Holmstrom, Erik Peterson, Brett Schiavo, and Sean Keyes, Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Donald Secor

Sponsor

BAE Systems

Project Overview

BAE Systems has identified the need to increase safety and situational awareness for vehicles utilizing power-assisted doors. Safety needs to be improved to ensure that accidental damage to equipment or, more importantly, injury to personnel, does not occur due to powered-door operation. Situational awareness of the vehicle’s operators should also be improved by doubling the function of the safety system for uses such as detecting blind spots.

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Electric Range Shifter Proof of Concept for an HD Truck Transmission

Electric Range Shifter Proof of Concept for an HD Truck Transmission

Team Members

David Veasy, Christopher Woodruff, and Christina
Buckner, Electrical Engineering; Tom Graham,
Mechanical Engineering; and Taylor Pashak,
Computer Engineering

Advisor

Donald Secor 

Sponsor

Eaton Corporation

Project Overview

Currently, a small-stroke, single-rod, double-acting air cylinder actuator forces a mechanical clutch between the high and low gear for gear selection (range shift synchronizer). Confirmation of gear engagement is accomplished through a speed measurement of the rotating gears. The current actuation force using regulated air pressure is approximately 440 lbs. The envisioned system is a 12-volt, low-force, high-speed, brushless DC motor actuator with position feedback and force (current) control to provide shifting without the synchronizer. A key system design parameter: determine what type of force can be developed for the footprint available.

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Radar Hardware Environment Survivability Monitor

Radar Hardware Environment Survivability Monitor

Team Members

John Carter and William Kohlstrand, Computer Engineering; Anthony Doering, Ben Marshall, and Chris Verhulst, Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Dr. Donald Secor

Sponsor

MIT-Lincoln Laboratory

Project Overview

MIT-Lincoln Laboratory is in the process of upgrading instrumentation radars with state-of-theart Radar Open System Architecture (ROSA) radar signal and communication back-end processing. The computer racks for the upgraded systems generate a significant amount of heat and contain several heat-sensitive components. Lincoln Labs has requested that we design a Radar Hardware Environment Survivability Monitor (RHESM) that will monitor the environmental conditions and initiate an orderly, automated shutdown of the radar system when specified criteria are met in order to ensure that no damage is done to the hardware.

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Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition

Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition

Advisor

Dr. Jeff Burl, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sponsor

Oshkosh Corporation

Team Members

Kaylyn Gaul and Eddy Trinklein, Mechanical Engineering, Martin Kovarik, Rongzhe Lin, and Mike Roddewig, Electrical Engineering, and James Wozniak, Electrical/Computer Engineering

Project Overview

Our team will compete in the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC), specifically in the Autonomous Challenge and Navigation Challenge competitions. For the Autonomous Challenge Competition, the unmanned autonomous vehicle most follow lanes while avoiding obstacles. For the Navigation Challenge Competition, the vehicle most travel to designated waypoints in a specified order while avoiding obstacles. The task of building an autonomous vehicle benefits students by exposing them to real-world engineering problems in a team environment. Also, autonomous vehicles are desired for many different applications such as mine detection, weapons deployment, car-collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, and unmanned storage systems. Autonomous vehicles we an active area of study in the world today. The design approach for the IGVC Senior Design Town is to combine earlier concepts of autonomous vehicles with new technologies and innovations.

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Solar-Powered Charging Station For Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Solar-Powered Charging Station For Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Advisor

Dr. Bruce Mork, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sponsor

American Electric Power (AEP)

Team Members

Jason Poster and David Steffler. Electrical and Computer Engineering; Kurt Bonham. Steven O'Dacre, and Derek Yurk, Electrical Engineering

Project Overview

A plug-in electric vehicle (PD') charging station is to be developed to help offset and mitigate the additional load of electric-powered transportation on the existing power grid. The charging station is to utilize standard single-phase household current and renewable solar power and/or a demand balancing system of batteries. The main criteria in evaluating design options will be effectiveness of demand balancing and energy consumption reduction by the developed system. The present state of the global oil market is beginning to make electric power a more cost-effective solution for vehicle transport. Depending on its source, electricity can also be more environmentally friendly to generate, particularly when renewable generation sources are utilized. Solar supplementation of the PD' load can also help smooth the demand of electricity from the power grid, improving grid stability and reducing effective peak load.

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Remote System Synchronization and Restoration During a Blackout Event

Advisor

Dr. Bruce Mork, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sponsor

ITC Holdings Corporation

Team Members

Eric Morgan, Andrew Drees, Mike Korpi, Pat Peterson, and Carissa Hansen, Electrical Engineering

Project Overview

During blackout conditions, the electrical transmission system (grid) may separate into islands of generation and load. lying these islands back together requires the systems to be in synch (voltage amplitude, frequency, and phase angle) to prevent damaging power swings. Today, existing methods of tying the islands back together are performed manually by operators in the substation with the use of a synchroscope, which is effective, but the goal is to perform these operations directly from the control room. The proposed software package solution involves developing software with JAVA to make a virtual synchroscope contained within a Graphical User Interface (GUI). From the GUI, the Transmission System Coordinator (TIC) in the control room will then be able to remotely ants a circuit breaker to be closed, tying the two islands back together and restoring the power grid to full operation.

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Home Energy Management System

Home Energy Management System

Advisor

John Lukowski, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sponsor

American Electric Power (AEP)

Team Members

Brian Olson, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Josh IXrri, Clarissa Koala, Tianjia Zhang and John 'Westerman. Electrical Engineering; and Jason Ricksgers, Computer Engineering

Project Overview

The Home Energy Management System should provide utility customers not only with an awareness of how they are using energy throughout their house, but also with a solution to decrease energy costs by implementing control over common household devices that use both soiled and wireless technology. Enexgy usage information will be gathered from a smart meter simulation developed by last year's team. The information gathered from this smart meter will be used to display a graph of energy usage history for the utility customer in increments of a day, a week, a month, and a year. In addition. customers will have the ability to control different devices within the home, based on their preferences. This will help the users regulate their power usage. which will help lower demand during peak power usage times and help level out energy usage throughout a given day.

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