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Dordt Engineers: The Award of Merit Project

An award of merit was presented to (left) Alex Haas, Hutchinson, Minnesota; and (right) Chad Talsma, Bentley, Alberta, Canada; for their senior engineering design project.

An award of merit was presented to (left) Alex Haas, Hutchinson, Minnesota; and (right) Chad Talsma, Bentley, Alberta, Canada; for their senior engineering design project.

The “Brushless DC Motor Controller” team constructed a digital logic controller that commutated (reversing the direction the motor turns) the motor in both directions. It also incorporated pulse-width-modulation speed control and an enabling switch.

The team tested the project in Dordt’s lab with up to twenty watts of power. In Groshopp’s lab they deliberately continued adding load (drag) to the motor’s shaft to test the design to destruction. The motor controller delivered about 350 watts (almost 1/2 horsepower) before failing.

“We were all very pleased that it could handle that much power on its very first power test,” said Dr. Doug De Boer, who says this was an excellent student senior design project and one that other groups could expand on in the future.