Purpose of Meter Math

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Meter Math teaches students to read meters and determine system performance from readings.  Student must determine if a system failure indication is simply result of a bad meter or if a functional block has actually malfunctioned.  Each functional block  is defined by a transfer function ranging from simple arithmetic to logarithmic and exponential functions.  Digital troubleshooting of binary system is also included. 

Yellow Blocks perform a mathematical operation on analog input and generate an analog output.  The mathematical operations performed by the yellow block are referred to as the transfer function.




More non-electronics

Physics Troubleshooting

 Computer Troubleshooting using Programmers Model.
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Note: To use above you will first have to learn to program a simple online simplified microprocessor. Then you can try to troubleshoot it. Binary required.

New for engineering students: Electronics Circuit Principles and Design Teaches electronic circuit design using animated and simulated circuits.


Teachers please email me at address at bottom of page with any feedback with regard to Meter Math.  I only have experience teaching electronics; therefore, I need feedback from K12 math and technical teachers on type of simulations that you found must useful.  Feedback will determine future of animation production? 

Why Meter Mathematics?

When I began my electronics career 40 years ago, the skills required were essentially the ability to read schematics and probe a circuit with an oscilloscope or meter. Since components such as resistors, capacitors, vacuum tubes and transistors were easy to access, finding failed components was relatively easy for a skilled electronic technician. Near the end of my career, it was very difficult to gain access to components of most systems due to the small size of integrated circuits. Digital systems required time consuming hookup of logic analyzers. The good news was that large systems frequently displayed considerable test and system status data on CRT displays and system gages or meters. For example a computer display might indicate the reading of a temperature sensor as a Hex number, a LED indicator would indicate if a thermal switch activated, and an old fashioned air gage would indicate status of air cooling in inches of water. All this data would be available without having made any test equipment lead connections. Next I would inspect suspect circuits, connectors and air ducts for visible damage. Only as a last resort would I connect wires to the system (instrument system) and make electronic measurements. Thirty years ago 90% of my activity consisted of probing circuits and 10% of my effort was in block diagram system analysis. When I retired 90% of fault isolation was achieved through data analysis and less than 10% was achieved through instrumentation or circuit probing. The circuit animations that I published over the last five years aimed at teaching electronics troubleshooting using virtual circuits and virtual test equipment and meters. In the future, my publications will focus on teaching system troubleshooting using data analysis. Meter Math is my first performance oriented training module aimed at testing and developing the system troubleshooting skills of K12 students.

What is Meter Math?

Meter math provides a colorful and dynamic display of data using virtual meters and gages. The student is givien a block diagram to troubleshoot. Each block is defined by a mathematical operation or transfer function. The students analyze meter readings and determine which block or meter has failed. The systems are purely mathematical so students require no physics or even general science to perform exercises. Meter Math is also a fun way to learn mathematics to K12 students.

Does Meter Math belong in a K12 curriculum?

My past publications were aimed at teaching electronics troubleshooting using simulation. I spent forty years troubleshooting, teaching in industry, and teaching in technical school. Therefore, I knew what simulations and animations would be useful for technical college students. I never taught at the K12 level. Nor have I ever taught mathematics. Therefore, I would appreciate some feedback (positive or negative) from teachers on my Meter Math animations. Is it helpful in teaching mathematics? Should system-troubleshooting start in K12 math classes. Email Bill at BilPat4342@AOL.com

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Meter Math Theory!

Meter Math teaches students to analyze block diagrams of systems devoid of any physics. Thus, they can learn troubleshooting many years before they begin their study of physics and science. Of course a mathematics teacher can still point to a transformer as a practical application of multiplier function.

We teach future design engineers, physicists, and architects the mathematics they will use prior to teaching their respective science. Therefore, why canít we teach vocational students and test engineers to analyze data and transfer functions prior to teaching them electronics, hydraulics, or mechanics?

Meters in the future.

In addition to the hardware meters that we used in the past, software meters are being used on CRT displays. Computers of the prior century displayed real-time transducer information in text format. Today it is common place to display data in graphical format as charts or gages. As a matter of fact, the Active X meters that I used in my animations were actually intended for programmers wishing to display real time data on virtual meters or gages. Future design engineers skills will become more specialized. Future test engineers and technicians will become more generalized. For example todayísí automobile mechanic looks at a computer screen and must decide if a failure indication is real or caused by a bad electronic transducer. If the problems is real they will have to decide if it is mechanical, electrical, or electronic.



New!(Fall 2007) Get Bill's Free book Force Fields.  A E&M physics primer for electronics students. Download Zipped PDF file: Click Here! 


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Last modified: Friday October 03, 2008.