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TUT engineering lab gets state-of-the-art test equipment

21 February 2018 News

The Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) electrical engineering department recently undertook a major refurbishment of its electronic engineering laboratory. This involved scrapping the older, outdated instruments and replacing them with Tektronix AFG 1022 arbitrary waveform generators, Tektronix TBS 1052B-EDU digital storage oscilloscopes, and GW Instek GPE 3323 DC power supplies.

The newly configured laboratory is used by a total of around 450 Electronics 1, 2 and 3 and design project students, with 42 students accommodated per laboratory session for electrical measurement experiments and projects. Prof. Josiah Munda, HoD PrEng, and associate dean of the faculty of engineering and the built environment commented, “Our newly equipped laboratory is what any university of technology worth its salt should have. We would like every laboratory at TUT to have state-of-the-art equipment for the betterment of students in this region of our country.”

Tshwane University of Technology’s electrical engineering department’s newly refurbished laboratory can accommodate 42 students per lab session.
Tshwane University of Technology’s electrical engineering department’s newly refurbished laboratory can accommodate 42 students per lab session.

A very important component of the success of this lab model is the enlisting of two undergraduate students to mentor, monitor and assist Electronics 1, 2 and 3 and design project students during the laboratory classes. “Mentoring and the assistance of students by fellow students during lab sessions has been found to be the most effective method yet of teaching in our labs,” added Prof. Munda.

Front left to right: Darius Opperman, Comtest account manager; Prof. Josiah Munda, PrEng, associate dean of the faculty of engineering and the built environment; Hans Nel, TUT electronics technician; Barend Niemand, Comtest CEO. Back: Undergraduate students Jackson Chokoe (electrical engineering/bio-medical engineering) and Remmington Seima (electrical engineering/digital technology) who mentor, monitor and assist electronics students during lab sessions.
Front left to right: Darius Opperman, Comtest account manager; Prof. Josiah Munda, PrEng, associate dean of the faculty of engineering and the built environment; Hans Nel, TUT electronics technician; Barend Niemand, Comtest CEO. Back: Undergraduate students Jackson Chokoe (electrical engineering/bio-medical engineering) and Remmington Seima (electrical engineering/digital technology) who mentor, monitor and assist electronics students during lab sessions.

Undergraduate students Jackson Chokoe (electrical engineering/bio-medical engineering) and Remmington Seima (electrical engineering/digital technology) who, in addition to conducting student lab sessions, also undertake the general and ongoing maintenance of the laboratory equipment. Remmington Seima says, “With new equipment, everything is so much easier and much more advanced. For example, we are able to monitor every scope and instrument individually while the class works. The big advantage is being able to assist and correct or change settings with students in real-time. Maintenance is also so much easier.”

Darius Opperman, Comtest account manager responsible for the supply of the instruments, says, “Probably the greatest value of the new equipment to the lecturers is the ability to globally manage and monitor students individually during lab sessions. Every instrument in the lab can be tracked while the student is performing set tasks. Not to mention the time-saving aspect of updating all the firmware to prepare for a specific class. Instead of updating each instrument individually, this can now be done from the server, with Tektronix SmartLAB software. This represents an appreciable return on investment, in time alone, for TUT.”

Livhuhani Ntsandeni, section head of department, commented, “It is way more functional and advanced than what we had previously. The students and lecturers, alike, are most impressed. We have now had two semesters using new lab equipment. The equipment allows us to produce appreciably more relevant electrical engineering graduates.”



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