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Discrete Data Control Systems

Introduction to Digital Control

In most modern engineering systems,
There is a need to control the evolution with time of one or more of the system
Controllers are required to ensure satisfactory transient and steady-state
behavior for these engineering systems.
To guarantee satisfactory performance in the presence of disturbances and
model uncertainty, most controllers in use today employ some form of negative
A sensor is needed to measure the controlled variable and compare its behavior
to a reference signal.
Control action is based on an error signal defined as the difference between the
reference and the actual values.

The controller that manipulates the error signal To determine the desired control action has classically been an analog system,
which includes
oelectrical, fluid,
opneumatic, or
o mechanical components.
These systems all have analog inputs and outputs
(i.e., their input and output signals are defined over a continuous time interval
have values that are defined over a continuous range of amplitudes).
In the past few decades,
analog controllers have often been replaced by digital controllers whose
inputs and outputs are defined at discrete time instances.
The digital controllers are in the form of digital circuits,
digital computers,
or microprocessors.

Why Digital Control? OR Discrete Control Systems

Digital control offers distinct advantages over analog control. Here are
some of its many advantages:
Digital signals are represented in terms of zeros and ones with typically
12 bits or more to represent a single number.
This involves a very small error as compared to analog signals where noise and
power supply drift are always present.
Implementation errors.
Digital processing of control signals involves addition
and multiplication by stored numerical values. The errors that result
from digital representation and arithmetic are negligible.
By contrast, the processing of analog signals is performed using components such
as resistors and capacitors with actual values that vary significantly from the
nominal design values.
Flexibility. An analog controller is difficult to modify or redesign once
implemented in hardware. A digital controller is implemented in firmware or
software, and its modification is possible without a complete replacement of the
original controller.

Speed. The speed of computer hardware has increased exponentially

since the 1980s.
This increase in processing speed has made it possible to sample and
process control signals at very high speeds.
Because the interval between samples, the sampling period, can be made very
small, digital controllers achieve performance that is essentially the same as
that based on continuous monitoring of the controlled variable.
Cost. Although the prices of most goods and services have steadily
increased, the
cost of digital circuitry continues to decrease. Advances in very large scale
integration (VLSI) technology have made it possible to manufacture better,
faster, and more reliable integrated circuits and to offer them to the consumer
at a lower price.

The Structure o f a Digital Control System

To control a physical system or process using a digital controller, the
controller must receive measurements from the system, process them, and
then send control signals to the actuator that effects the control action.
In almost all applications, both the plant and the actuator are analog

Structure o f a Digital Control System



A block diagram of a computer control system, including

the signal converters. The signal is indicated
as digital or analog

The development of INTEL microprocessors measured in millions of


Automatic computer-controlled systems are used for purposes as diverse

as measuring the objective refraction of the human eye and controlling
the engine spark timing

Example1: Digital Control Systems

Closed-Loop Drug Delivery System

Example2: Computer Control of an Aircraft Turbojet Engine

Example3: Robotic manipulator control system. (a) 3-D.O.F. robotic

manipulator. (b) Block diagram of a manipulator control system.

The Sampling Theorem

Sampling is necessary for the processing of analog data using digital
Successful digital data processing requires that the samples reflect the
nature of the analog signal and that analog signals be recoverable, at
least in theory, from a sequence of samples.
Figure shows two distinct waveforms with identical samples.

Obviously, faster sampling of the two waveforms would produce

distinguishable sequences. Thus, it is obvious that sufficiently fast sampling is
a prerequisite for successful digital data processing.

where wm is the bandwidth of the signal

Therefore, the spectrum of the sampled waveform is a periodic function of
frequency ws. Assuming that f(t) is a real valued function, then it is well known
that the magnitude |F( jw)| is an even function of frequency, whereas the
phase F( jw) is an odd function.

For a band-limited function, the amplitude and phase in the

frequency range 0 to ws/2 can be recovered by an ideal
low-pass filter as shown in Fig

Selection of the Sampling Frequency

In practice, the sampling rate chosen is often larger than the lower
bound specified in the sampling theorem. A rule of thumb is to choose
ws as s = km, 5 k 10
The choice of the constant k depends on the application. In many
applications, the upper bound on the sampling frequency is well below the
capabilities of state of- the-art hardware. A closed-loop control system
cannot have a sampling period below the minimum time required for the
output measurement; that is, the sampling frequency is upper-bounded by
the sensor delay.

For a linear system, the output of the system has a spectrum given by the
product of the frequency response and input spectrum.
Because the input is not known a priori, we must base our choice of
sampling frequency on the frequency response.
The frequency response of a first-order system is

where A is a constant amplitude, and f is a phase angle. Thus, the

choice of sampling frequency of s is sufficiently fast for
oscillations of frequency wd and time to first peak p/wd.
Example 1
Given a first-order system of bandwidth 10 rad/s, select a suitable
sampling frequency and find the corresponding sampling period.
A suitable choice of sampling frequency is ws = 60, wb = 600 rad/s.
The corresponding
sampling period is approximately T = 2p/ws 0.01 s.

Example 2
A closed-loop control system must be designed for a steady-state error not
to exceed 5 percent, a damping ratio of about 0.7, and an undamped
natural frequency of 10 rad/s.
Select a suitable sampling period for the system if the system has a sensor
delay of
1. 0.02 s
2. 0.03 s
Let the sampling frequency be

Computers used in control systems are interconnected to the actuator
and the process by means of signal converters.
The output of the computer is processed by a digital-to-analog
We will assume that all the numbers that enter or leave
the computer do so at the same fixed period T, called the sampling
Thus, for example, the reference input shown in Figure is a sequence
of sample values r(kT).
The variables r(kT), m(kT), and u(kT) are discrete signals in contrast to
m(t) and y(t), which are continuous functions of time.
Sampled data (or a discrete signal) are data obtained for the system
variables only at discrete intervals and are denoted as x{kT).
A system where part of the system acts on sampled data is called a
sampled-data system. A sampler is basically a switch that closes every
T seconds for one instant of time

Consider an ideal sampler, as shown in Figure The input is r(t), and the
output is r*(t), where nT is the current sample time, and the current
value of r*(t) is r(nT)
.We then have r*(t) = r(nT)8(t nT), where 8 is the impulse function
Let us assume that we sample a signal r(r), as shown in Figure, and
obtain r*(t).
Then, we portray the series for r*(t) as a string of impulses starting
at t = 0,spaced at T seconds, and of amplitude r(kT).
For example, consider the input signal r(t) shown in Figure . The
sampled signal is shown in Figure) with an impulse represented by a
vertical arrow of magnitude r(kT).

A digital-to-analog converter serves as a device that converts the

sampled signal r*(t) to a continuous signal p(t). The digital-to-analog
converter can usually be represented by a zero-order hold circuit, as
shown in Figure.
The zero-order hold takes the value r(kT) and holds it constant for
kT < t < (k + 1)7, as shown in Figure for k = 0.
Thus, we use r(kT) during the sampling period.
A sampler and zero-order hold can accurately follow the input signal if
T is small compared to the transient changes in the signal

The response of a sampler and zero-order hold for a ramp input is

shown in Figure.
Finally, the response of a sampler and zero-order hold for an
exponentially decaying signal is shown in Figure for two values of the
sampling period.

Clearly, the output p(t) will approach the input r{t) as T approaches zero,
meaning that we sample frequently.
The impulse response of a zero-order hold is shown in Figure 13.8. The
transfer function of the zero-order hold is

The z-Transform
The z-transform is an important tool in the analysis and design of
discrete-time systems.
It simplifies the solution of discrete-time problems by converting LTI
difference equations to algebraic equations and convolution to
Thus, it plays a role similar to that served by Laplace transforms in
continuous-time problems.

The following are two alternative definitions of the z-transform

Properties of the z-Transform

The z-transform can be derived from the Laplace transform as shown
in Definition 2.2. Hence, it shares several useful properties with the
Laplace transform, which can be stated without proof.

Inversion of the z-Transform