Objectives and Outcomes

In a nutshell:

Fight to build - build to win.

More details:

This class, like its sister 6.115, is your passport into the world of people who love to build elegant, efficient systems that work. The overarching goal of this class is to share with you the skills and techniques that designers use to make useful systems that solve problems for people. These are the skills that will make you successful in an engineering career. They empower you to see the value of analysis techniques you have learned. Your experience in this class will teach you to use analytical methods to constrain problems in ways that lead to winning solutions: answers that make your UROP project successful, that make your thesis work, that make your product a commercial success, that let you stand flat-footed in front of a problem and fight to win.

The Power Electronics Laboratory, 6.131, is a unique opportunity for you to design and build. Power electronic circuits are the backbone of almost every modern convenience. Automobiles, cell-phones, laptop and desktop computers, television sets, and kitchen appliances, among many other systems, require power electronics circuits to convert electrical energy to a useful form.

The creation of a successful power electronic circuit almost always requires more than the application of a set of analytical techniques. The most elegant examples are crafted by engineers who have a rich understanding of how to make trade-offs amongst all the parts of a system, e.g,, thermal, mechanical, electrical, and sometimes software. For this reason, we make special efforts to expose you to a huge number of demonstrations developed from a wide range of engineering disciplines, and to provide exciting laboratory experiences that let you try the techniques you learn on practical hardware.

When you leave 6.131, you will:

  • Have confidence in designing an engineered system from scratch, a talent you will hone and ultimately demonstrate with your final project.
  • Appreciate the essential role of your honesty, integrity, and clear communication skills in an engineering project.
  • Be able to keep a clear laboratory notebook.
  • Know how to read a circuit schematic.
  • Know how to construct electronic circuits using solder, printed circuit boards, and breadboards.
  • Know how to read manufacturers data sheets for magnetic materials like powdered iron.
  • Know how to specify, design, and wind inductors and transformers.
  • Know how to select and use a MOSFET power switch.
  • Know how to design the inductor and output capacitor in a buck converter.
  • Know how to design the inductor and output capacitor in a boost converter.
  • Know how to design the transformer and output capacitor in a flyback converter.
  • Know how to use logic chips to make a pulse width modulator.
  • Know how to prevent shoot-through in a MOSFET totem-pole.
  • Know how to drive a high-side MOSFET switch.
  • Know how to create the drive waveforms for induction and permanent magnet motors.
  • Know how to use and control DC motors.
  • Know how to design, build, use and control a power electronic “buck” converter capable of processing 1000 Watts.
  • Know how to make a stereo power amplifier.
  • Know how to make a light dimmer.
  • Know how a flash strobe works.
  • Know how to use basic features of laboratory equipment like power supplies and oscilloscopes.