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ECE 3084
Summer 2014
Problem Set #8
Assigned: 17-July-14
Due Date: 24-July-14

Your homework is due at the start of class on Thursday, July 24, to Prof. Lanterman in his Van
Leer 431 office. If he is not there, you may simply slide your homework under his office door.
Refrain from looking at backfiles of homework and exam solutions i.e., word in
Georgia Tech parlance from previous versions of ECE2025, ECE2026, or ECE3084,
beyond your own materials assembled while taking those classes and any old material
we explicitly provide to you.
Try posting questions on piazza.

Consider a plant with the transfer function
Gp =


(a) Suppose we try to control it using the PI-controller Gc (s) = (Kp s + Ki )/s. Find the
resulting resulting closed-loop transfer function Ha (s). (We will use subscripts to
differentiate the transfer functions we compute in different parts of this problem).
(b) Find Kp and Ki such that Ha (s) is a critically damped second-order system with a natural
resonant frequency (what we usually call n ) of 4.
(c) Another strategy might be to choose Kp and Ki to try to cancel one of the poles. Lets now
try the controller Gc = [K(s + 3)]/s. Notice this is like a PI-controller with Ki = 3Kp .
Find the resulting closed-loop transfer function Hc (s).
(d) Find Hc (s) for the special case of K = 4; lets call this Hd (s). Notice it has a single pole
instead of two poles! Where is the pole? Will the overall closed-loop system Hd (s)
respond faster or slower than the original plant Gp (s)?
(e) Before we start patting ourselves on the back too much for our apparent win in part (c), lets
think about what happens if we dont get perfect cancellation. Now suppose the plant is
really specified by
Gp (s) =
s + 3.1
but we are still using the controller we used in part (c), with K = 4. Find He (s), the transfer
function of the resulting somewhat doomed1 closed-loop system.
(f) What are the poles of He (s)? How do they compare to the pole of the plant Gp (s) and
the pole of Hd (s)?

We havent made it unstable, so its not like its totally doomed. It just isnt what we want.

Consider a plant with the transfer function
Gp =

s(s + 2)

(a) Suppose we try to control it using the PD-controller Gc (s) = Kd s + Kp . Find the resulting
closed-loop transfer function H(s).
(b) Find Kp and Kd such that the closed loop poles are at s = 4 3j, and give the
resulting closed-loop transfer function H(s) for those values of Kp and Kd . Use those
values of Kp and Kd for the remaining parts of this problem.
(c) Will the controller derived in (b) perfectly track2 a unit step reference, r(t) = u(t)? (For
this, you can either treat the closed-loop transfer function as a filter and examine its DC gain,
or you can equivalently use the final value theorem).
(d) We spent most of our time in class seeing whether various control schemes could accurately
track a unit step. In the rest of this problem, we will explore whether or not we can accurately
track a ramp function. We now let the reference be r(t) = tu(t). The partial fraction
expansion of Y (s) = R(s)H(s) = H(s)/s2 can be written as
Y (s) =

+ 2 + other terms.

Assuming you did parts (a) and (b) correctly, the inverse Laplace transforms of other terms
should decay to zero. All questions about tracking are asymptotic, i.e., they are thought
about as time marches on; we never expect the output to instantly jump to the desired
The inverse transform of Y (s) will be
y(t) = c1 u(t) + c2 tu(t) + transient terms were not worrying about.
If c2 6= 1, then the error will grow with time. If c2 = 1 and c1 6= 0, there will be a constant
error with time.
Find c1 and c2 . In terms of tracking a ramp r(t) = tu(t), does this control scheme
exhibit no error, error that grows with time, or constant error?

Note that by linearity, if it can track a unit step, it can track any step, i.e., it can also track r(t) = 5u(t), or,
theoretically, r(t) = 5u(t) and r(t) = 6.02 1023 u(t), although from a practical viewpoint, you might want be
careful to make sure such a reference does not violate your assumptions of linearity.

An inverted pendulum can be roughly modeled using the plant transfer function
Gp (s) =



where the input of the system, x(t), is the acceleration of a cart the pendulum is sitting on, and the
output of the system, y(t) is the angle of the pendulum in radians, L is the length of the pendulum,
and g is the acceleration due to gravity. Deriving this transfer function is really messy, so you can
take it on faith. It relies on making small-angle approximation to trigonometric functions; we will
assume that these approximations are valid.
(a) Find the differential equation that relates the input x(t) to the output y(t). Please place
all terms with y(t) on the left hand side and all terms with x(t) on the right hand side.
(b) Find the poles of Gp (s). Is Gp (s) BIBO stable? If not, which pole is the troublemaker?
(c) Lets try a P-controller with the transfer function Gc (s) = Kp . Find the closed-loop
transfer function, HP (s), for this controller.
(d) For what values of Kp do two distinct poles of HP (s) lie on the imaginary axis? Specify
the pole locations for this case.
(e) For what values of Kp do two distinct poles of HP (s) lie on the real axis? Specify the
pole locations for this case. (Your result for this part along with the previous part shows
that P -control alone is unable to stabilize the system).
(f) Lets try a PI-controller with the transfer function Gc (s) = (Kp s + Ki )/s. Find the
closed-loop transfer function, HP I (s), for this controller. (Notice that the denominator
is a third order polynomial, so HP I (s) has three poles. Also notice that the s2 term of the
polynomial is missing, i.e., it the coefficient of the s2 term is zero. It turns out that this
implies3 that two of the poles of HP I (s) are on the imaginary axis; hence, PI control cannot
stabilize this system.)
(g) Lets try a PD-controller with the transfer function Gc (s) = Kd s + Kp . Find the
closed-loop transfer function, HP D (s), for this controller. (Notice that the denominator
is a second-order polynomial, and our two knobs of Kd and Kp would let us place the roots
where we want. So this can stabilize the system.)
(h) Treating HP D (s) as a filter, find H(j0). Can the PD-controller perfectly track a unit
step reference?
(i) At long last, lets try a PID-controller with the transfer function Gc (s) = (Kd s2 + Kp s +
Ki )/s. Find the closed-loop transfer function, HP ID (s), for this controller.
(j) Can the PID-controller in part (i) perfectly track a unit step reference?
(k) Finally, lets journey back to our PD-controller from part (g). To make our lives easier, just
for this part, lets assume L = 1 meter, and lets also assume that we are working on a
planet where the gravity is g = 1 meter/sec2 , unlike the 9.8 meter/sec2 we have on Earth.
(See how nice that makes Gp (s)?) Find the Kd and Kp that would result in the closedloop system having a critically damped closed-loop response with a natural frequency
of n = 2 radians per second. (Dont freak out if Kp turns out to be negative).

This fact is beyond the scope of this class, i.e., we will not expect you to know it for an exam.

Throughout most of our discussions about feedback, we have talked about the power of negative
feedbackbut we dont want to leave you with the impression that negative feedback is the only
useful kind of feedback. There are times, particularly when designing oscillators, that positive
feedback can be helpful. Hewlett-Packards first product was a sinusoidal lab oscillator called the
HP 200A.4 The first of these was built in Dave Packards garage. In this problem, we will analyze
an extremely simplified rendition of the classic HP 200A.
(a) For a generic G(s) in this positive feedback configuration, find the closed-loop transfer
function Ha (s) = Y (s)/X(s) in terms of G(s):




(b) Find the transfer function G(s) = Vo (s)/Vi (s) that relates the output voltage, vo (t), to
the input voltage, vi (t), of the following circuit, where the input and output voltages are both
referenced to ground:

The resistors each have the same resistance R, and the capacitors each have the same capacitance C.
In the schematic, the triangle with K inside of it is not an opamp. It represents an ideal
voltage amplifier5 with a gain of Kthe output voltage at the point of the triangle is K
times the input voltage at the wire connected to the left edge of the triangle. Assume that
this magical amplifier has infinite input impedance (so no current flows into it and it does
not load down any circuitry feeding it) and it has zero output impedance (so it is not loaded
down by the circuitry that follows it). We assume that there are no limitations on output
voltage or output current.
(c) Plug your expression for G(s) from part (b) into your expression for Ha (s) and simplify
it as much as you can. Lets call this Hc (s).

If you are feeling particularly brave, you can read the patent at:,
although we dont particularly recommend it.
The amplifier in the HP 200A is less magical, consisting of a couple of vacuum tubes, a handful of capacitors and
resistors, and a light bulb. Yes, a light bulb. Thats part of the brilliance (pun intended) of Bill Hewletts design.
You can think of it as the Flux Capacitor of the HP 200A; if you dont get the reference, go watch the movie Back
to the Future right now.

(d) For what value of K do the poles of Hc (s) lie on the imaginary axis? Lets call the
resulting transfer function Hd (s), i.e., Hd (s) is Hc (s) you get for that specific value of K.
(e) What is n , the natural frequency of the resonant system Hd (s)?
Youre now done with the required parts of this problem. Note that youve just described
what happens when you connect the positive feedback loop that makes our simplified HP
200A tick:

You might find it a bit strange that theres not really any external input. In practice, internal
noise is usually sufficient to jump-start such circuits into oscillation.
(f) (Optional and ungraded) Look at this picture6 of the HP Garage. Become inspired by
this photo, and start a company that grows to take in over a billion dollars in revenue.