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Wirelessly-Controlled Relay System for Power Engineering Laboratory

Faculty Mentor: Anthony Deese

Student: Tyler Wardlow

The goal of the project was to design and build a wireless three phase relay controller for use in the new Smart Electric Power Systems Laboratory in Armstrong Hall.  This device will be an addition to the lab and will provide an increase in capabilities for future experiments and testing. Conceptually this tool opens and closes four different switches, three for the phases and one for grounding, allowing current to flow. The unit is rated for use with the power equipment: 120VAC and 10A. The hardware for the project includes the Arduino UNO microcontroller and high powered relays. The voltage output of the digital pins on the Arduino triggers the relays on and off when desired to do so. Furthermore, a wireless module was added to connect to a wireless router through Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b standard) for remote control use. A LabVIEW virtual instrument, better known simply as a VI, was implemented as a user interface by establishing a TCP connection to the Arduino and passing commands to it wirelessly.  Basic toggle switches control each of the phase relays and LED indicators provide response feedback from the controller regarding each status.

The device is working as per the original design specifications and has been completed as desired for the end of the MUSE program, but may be further developed to add more functionality which can increase its importance to the lab. Multiple of these units are planned to be built for use within a network. Ideally, smart sensors will be added to monitor power use for integration in a smart power network. A server will be able to control each remote relay and efficiently distribute power amongst the grid. Building the relay was the initial step leading towards future research in the Power Systems Lab.