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I am trying to get a better understanding of measurements and instrumentation before starting an online class next week. I have been reading a text book and came across a concept question I am stuck on a little bit. It was this:

Design a measurement system that could read temperature, output it to a and regulate the temperature of a room. You have a sensor, space heater, and a computer.

Another similar one was:

How would you get the temperature of an oven to a digital output.

I know some of the parts. The sensor would be a sort of thermocouple. You would filter the input and sample it. Do some sort of analog to digital conversion... There are obviously details and parts I'm missing. Putting all of this together is kind of killing my brain though as I just don't get it yet. I would love if someone had the know-how to break it down a little and help me grasp this a little better.

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Those are extremely vague questions, so you could go to varying levels of detail.

  1. This is a feedback control question. The short answer: connect temperature sensor and space heater to computer in a room Develop a control method/program on computer to read temperature and switch on/off heater as control method determines necessary. There are many control methods that can be used. Check out this basic Wikipedia article: Temperature control I suggests you read about P, PI, and PID control.

Here's another interesting and light article: Temperature Controller Basics Handbook

  1. Find a suitable thermocouple that can withstand the temperatures of the oven. I like to over-rate. Probably a K type with 800F minimum rating. Either get an analog or digital thermocouple amplifier chip. For example, I suggest a max31855k digital output. Connect that and some type of display to a microcontroller an read the sensor once every second and write the value to the display. The Internet has plenty of examples and sample code..especially for Arduino.

I suggest you get an Arduino and some thermocouple kits and lcd kits... which you can probably get it all for around $30(or less!) and you can make a temperature controlled thing. See the code and how it works. Experiment. It will give you a much better understanding of how these things interact.

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