This spring, college students from North Dakota State University spent a semester learning the ins and outs of advanced embedded systems with two powerful tools: Murphy PowerView® displays and PowerVision Configuration Studio®. The course, led by Tim Springer, taught students how to specify, design, develop and test modern embedded systems using real hardware and software. Enovation Controls donated the displays and software to help Springer’s students connect their coursework to real-world applications that could lead to real-world work.
Springer himself is no stranger to Murphy products. In addition to his position as part-time lecturer, Springer also sells industrial engines and engine packages for Isuzu Diesel Midwest. With PowerVision Configuration Studio and Murphy PowerView displays, Springer has been able to turn notes from a sales call right into working software in a short amount of time.
“Tim Springer is one of our valued customers,” said Adam Johnson, Distribution Sales Manager at Enovation Controls. “Tim is an engine distributor and works with a lot of OEMs in the Off-Highway market. He provides engine and engine solutions and we provide Tim with our electronic control solutions that monitor the engine packages and the OEM applications.”
The ability to quickly and easily program a display has allowed Springer to handle his company’s display programming needs by himself but his experiences have also helped him see just how many companies are in dire need of embedded systems programmers. Springer said the opportunity to teach at NDSU was suggested to him by one of his customers who is a professor at the university.
“We talked a lot about the need for students coming out of electrical engineering to understand CAN, J1939, and implementing controllers, displays and engines from a programming standpoint as well as the physical electrical aspect,” said Springer. “They’re hungry for new information, especially getting to use and implement controllers and displays because a lot of the experience they have is not necessarily hands-on.”
To give his student’s a well-rounded understanding of embedded systems, Springer’s students spent time both in the classroom and the hardware lab. In lectures, Springer taught how embedded systems are wired and how they talk over communications protocols like CAN bus. Students also learned how to troubleshoot their systems and best-practices for interfacing with messages, faults and codes over a specialized communications bus.
Students also got hands-on time with PowerVision and PowerView displays in NDSU’s state-of-the-art hardware lab housed in the A. Glenn Hill Center. The $29.4 million building houses classrooms and laboratories equipped with the latest and greatest technologies for teaching courses in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Most often, kids coming out of college have almost non-existent hands-on experience with this stuff,” said Springer. “With Enovation Controls helping us out with the displays and software, these kids get serious hands-on knowledge.”
On a recent visit to North Dakota, Johnson visited Springer’s classroom to meet with the students, tell them about Enovation Controls and answer their questions about display hardware and software.
“After class, one of the students approached us and wanted to discuss his electric car they’re designing,” said Johnson. “It was really interesting to hear his ideas and the concepts they were using with our controls and programming software and it was a great experience to get to hear what these future engineers are thinking and how they’re going to be implementing our products into future applications.”
Enovation Controls is proud to partner Springer and these future engineers in their academic journey and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors.