Main Features

Control-Tutor is a micro-controller evaluation system, developed by Actum Solutions.
It consists of:
  • Printed circuit board
  • USB cable
  • CD-Rom
  • Installation instructions on paper
It allows users to generate program code using a special version of Realizer, download the code into the Control-Tutor board and monitor, visualize and log all Realizer variables.
With the integrated Visualizer you can monitor each variable and analyse their behaviour at run-time.

Main characteristics:

  • Easy understanding of microcontrollers
  • Create software with Realizer® using a schematics diagram
  • Hassle-free communication using a standard USB bus
  • Standard I/O (LED's and switches)
  • I/O with feedback:
    • LED + light sensing LDR
    • Heating resistor + NTC temperature sensor
    • Buzzer + microphone
  • Extendable
  • PIC16F877 microcontroller
  • Visualisation of the Realizer program on the PC using the USB bus

Starting with Control-Tutor

Control-Tutor enables you to evaluate the functionality of Realizer. Not only with an affordable module based on a PIC 16F877 device from Microchip, but also with the simple installation of the accompanying software.
3 simple actions are necessary to get started:
  1. Software install
    Download the Control-Tutor software from our web site, install and run it. Be sure NOT to connect the board before installing the software (Once connected, your operating system start to look for driver software, which isn't there yet).
  2. Connect the board to USB
    Plug the cable into the board as well as your computer, driver will be installed automatically. After that start the Control-Tutor software.
  3. Start off
    Open one of the designs that come with Control-Tutor, generate the code, download it and start the application.

Designing an application

One of the advantages of using realizer is that you don’t have to become an expert in the cryptic assembly language first.
The following illustration shows a diagram that controls the current through the LED based on a potmeter (Rv1, Desired level) and LDR (LightSensor).
As in all control systems, the characteristic parts can easily be identified:
  1. Desired value (also know as Setpoint)
  2. Actual value
  3. Error signal calulation (subtraction of 1. and 2. above)
  4. Control function (created with the multiplier and integrator)

The process to be controlled is, of course, not visible. This is actually the room to be lighted with the sensor and the lamp.

Evaluating the design

Another advantage of Realizer is that testing your creation has been made very easy.
Next to the built-in simulator that comes with Realizer, Control-Tutor has the ability to visualise the run-time data on screen, projected onto the schematic diagram. Just is in the simulator.
The following illustration shows how you can study the performance of above mentioned controller.

Test it yourself

When you are about to test the example above the following movie on Youtube may help you.

In this movie you can see that the LED and LDR are masked off from the ambient light by means of a CD-Rom. See the LED shining onto the LDR. When the hand is moved over the arrangement, the amount of ambient light still reaching the LDR is changing. During this the control will modulate to current through the LED to compensate this.
During the first part of the movie, there is not much to see. This is because the desired level of the light (the setpoint) is quite low. Later on, in the second half of the movie, you see that the operater increases this level and the modulation of the LED is much more clearer.