Laboratory experiments in undergraduate, diploma and certificate courses are often used to assist and complement the classroom lectures. They are an important tool for improving students hands-on skills like measuring, corroborating practical results, comparing theory and practice, modeling, etc. But the complexity of the power electronics systems makes the laboratory experiments implementation not so simple. The Power Electronics field is very multidisciplinary. There are also class time restrictions in virtually all courses, and one of the lecturers challenges is to adjust the deepness and the broadness of the used approach. In this context, well planned teaching equipment can help a lot. It can save class time and spur students motivation.
In this teaching module, the two fundamental topologies of non-isolated dc-dc switching converters which are the buck and the boost converter are developed in one platform. This interactive 2-in-1 buck and boost converter teaching module is developed to demonstrate these two basic topologies in order to help the student understand and visualize the circuit elements clearly. With the concept of plug and play, student can play around with placement of energy storage elements and switching devices to construct either buck or boost converter. On the other hand, students can also varying the output voltage for both converters by adjusting the PWM duty cycle which is microcontroller based. The novelty of this invention is that the adopted concept in this teaching module is to divide the power electronics systems in three modules: the power converter module, which comprises the switching devices and the energy storage elements, the PWM controller module and finally the gate driver module. It was found that this arrangement provides a better understanding by the students and the utilization of the modules in a broader diversity of experiments compared to the available teaching module. In this module, the switching devices and the storage elements positions in the power converter module are allowed to change. Therefore, the same power module can be used to implement either buck and boost converter. Furthermore, the switching devices and the energy storage elements are placed in a visible enclosure in order to help the student visualize the circuit elements clearly. Another important feature is the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) controller module in this teaching module is microcontroller based which is novel.