Date of Award

Summer 2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Gordon A. Thomas

Second Advisor

John Francis Federici

Third Advisor

Reginald Farrow

Abstract

Currently, the U.S. Army stores a great deal of equipment for long periods of time. Often, this equipment is subjected to damaging vibrations. Given this, the army wants to be able to monitor the vibrations that are undergone by this equipment. Here, a battery-powered monitoring device would be undesirable because its batteries would need to be replaced. To solve this problem, an energy harvesting, vibration monitoring device has been developed. The device, which is known as a vibration-powered impact recorder (VPIR for short), uses a piezoelectric transducer to power a microcontroller, which uses the power to count the number of times a certain vibration threshold has been passed.

The VPIR device operates in the following way: When the device is vibrated, the piezoelectric transducer produces a voltage. If the vibration is strong enough, the voltage generated by the transducer becomes great enough to turn the microcontroller on. When turned on, the microcontroller adds 'one' to the value stored in a particular EEPROM register. A LabVIEW program running on a PC is used to read the value, or 'count,' held in the EEPROM register, and if necessary set the count value in the microcontroller to zero. The PC and microcontroller communicate via USB.

At this time, the device has been successfully built and tested on both a breadboard and a specially designed printed circuit board.

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