This paper discusses the design and implementation of laboratories and course projects using LabVIEW in an instrumentation course. The pedagogical challenge is to enhance students' learning of digital communication using LabVIEW. LabVIEW was extensively used in the laboratory sessions, which better prepared students for the course projects. Two course projects were designed to familiarize the students with virtual instrumentation, data acquisition, Modbus communication, and simple closed-loop control. One project involved the instrumentation and control of a brushed dc permanent magnet motor; the other involved the instrumentation and control of a small-scale temperature chamber. Students used one computer, functioning as a Modbus slave, to measure the motor speed or temperature inside the chamber and to turn the motor or lightbulbs on and off. Another computer, functioning as a Modbus master, reads the measurements using Modbus communication protocol via RS-485 wires, compared the measurements to the set points, made control decisions, and sent the commands to the Modbus slave for actuation. The effectiveness of student learning is analyzed using student survey data.
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