This paper details the successful and inexpensive implementation of remote laboratory experiments into a control systems course using readily available hardware and software. The custom-made experiments include an inverted pendulum, a platform leveling system, a ball and beam apparatus, and an aerodynamic beach ball levitation system, each implemented in a separate course offering. With each laboratory, the control objective is to regulate a physical parameter, (pendulum angle, platform orientation, ball position, etc.) by manipulating voltage to a drive component (DC motor, linear actuator, blower, etc.). Engineering software commonly used in controls courses (MATLAB/Simulink and LabView) coupled with dedicated hardware (xPC Target and NI Compact Rio) provide the controller platforms, while Microsoft NetMeeting and standard Internet video conferencing equipment are used to interface the distance-learning students with the laboratory equipment. Both local students at North Carolina State University’s campus in Raleigh and distance students at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Craven Community College in Havelock, NC complete the laboratory experiments. In a student survey, distance students participating in the remote labs rated the experience as favorably as local students. Course grades, including design project grades, were similar between the two groups.

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