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Low Cost, Self-contained Teaching Platform for Undergraduate Labs

The QUBE™-Servo is a low cost, teaching platform with fully integrated components, ideal for introducing students to basic control concepts relevant to real world applications of servomotors, from cruise control in automobiles to high-precision robotics manipulators used in industry. Students learn how to:

  • use encoders to measure speed
  • obtain the system model using the bump test method
  • obtain the equations of motion of a DC motor-based rotary servo
  • develop a PD compensator to control the position of the rotary servo load shaft
  • find pendulum moment of inertia analytically and experimentally
  • design a PID-based controller to balance the pendulum in the upright position
  • use energy control, nonlinear control and hybrid control to swing up the pendulum
  • develop an LQR-based controller to stabilize the pendulum in the upright position

How It Works

The QUBE™-Servo consists of a brushed DC motor with optical encoder position feedback, a pulse width modulation (PWM) amplifier and data acquisition electronics, all mounted within a sturdy, precision-machined aluminum housing. Two modules, an aluminum inertia disk and a sensed angle pendulum can be connected to the output shaft of the motor via a tool-less quick connect interface.
Learn how to build a multi-station control lab on a budget

QUBE-Servo Interface Options

The QUBE-Servo USB has a built-in USB data acquisition device, and interfaces to QUARC or RCP Toolkit control software running on your lab’s PCs via a standard USB 2.0 connection.

Alternatively, you can obtain the QUBE-Servo Direct I/O. This interface option does not include an embedded DAQ, instead it allows you to connect directly to an external data acquisition board. The QUBE-Servo Direct I/O has two I/O channels for motor and pendulum encoder measurements and one I/O channel for amplifier voltage command. The external data acquisition device has to be compatible with Quanser control software. Check the complete lists of DAQ devices supported by QUARC and RCP Toolkit.

The QUBE-Servo for NI myRIO allows to connect to MXP connectors on the NI myRIO to obtain encoder readings and command amplifier voltage. The QUBE-Servo for NI myRIO is available exclusively from National Instruments. For more information, visit www.ni.com/contact.

QUBE-Servo with USB Interface QUBE-Servo with Direct I/O Interface QUBE-Servo with NI myRIO Interface    
QUBE-Servo with USB interface
QUBE-Servo with Direct I/O interface QUBE-Servo with NI myRIO interface    

Flexible Digital Media Courseware Included - Now Available ONLINE

The QUBE™-Servo comes with a new generation of mix-and-match, open source, rich digital media courseware for easy adaptation of materials to existing course. The courseware topics are independent of each other, so you can build your own experiments sequence.The courseware also includes content for application labs, putting control concepts into the real-world application context.

The courseware is standardized for requirements of ABET evaluation criteria.

Map the Courseware to Your Control Textbook

To make the courseware easily adaptable to your course, we developed a comprehensive mapping of courseware topics to the most popular control engineering textbooks, including:

  • Control Systems Engineering by Norman S. Nise
  • Feedback Systems by K.J. Åstrom, R.M. Murray
  • Feedback Control of Dynamic Systems by G.F. Franklin, J.D. Powell, A. Emai-Naeini
  • Modern Control Systems by R.C. Dorf, R.H. Bishop
  • Modern Control Engineering by K. Ogata
  • Automatic Control Systems by F. Golnaraghi, B.C. Kuo
  • Control Systems Engineering by I.J. Nagrath, M. Gopal
  • Mechatronics by W. Bolton

Download the textbook mapping guide.

  • Compact and integrated rotary servo system
  • Two modules included: inertia disk and pendulum
  • Tool-less quick connect module interface
  • Direct-drive brushed DC motor
  • Noise immune high resolution optical encoder for position feedback
  • Built-in PWM amplifier
  • Unambiguous, easy-connect cables and connectors
  • Fully compatible with MATLAB®/Simulink® and LabVIEW™
  • Fully documented system models and parameters provided for MATLAB®/Simulink® and LabVIEW™
  • Open architecture design, allowing users to design their own controller


  • Built-in USB data acquisition device
  • Standard USB 2.0 connection

QUBE-Servo Direct I/O

  • Two I/O channels for motor and pendulum encoders measurements
  • 5-pin DIN encoder connectors
  • One I/O channel for amplifier voltage command
  • Single-ended RCA amplifier input connectors

QUBE-Servo for NI myRIO

  • A/B connector for encoder measurements and amplifier command connection to two MXP connectors on NI myRIO
Dimensions (W x L x H) 10.2 cm x 10.2 cm x 11.8 cm
Mass 1 kg
Inertia disk mass  0.054 kg
Pendulum mass 0.100 kg
Pendulum length (pivot to tip)  0.095 m
Motor and pendulum encoder resolution (in quadrature) 0.176 deg/count
Motor and pendulum encoder line count 512 counts/revolution
DC motor nominal input voltage 18 V
DC motor nominal current 0.54 A
DC motor nominal speed  3050 RPM
DC motor nominal torque 22.0 mN.m
Amplifier type PWM
Amplifier peak current 2 A
Amplifier output voltage range ± 10 V
QUBE-Servo USB connector Standard USB 2.0 connector
QUBE-Servo Direct I/O connectors ± 10 V single-ended RCA connector for amplifier command
two 5-pin DIN connectors for TTL encoder measurements
QUBE-Servo for NI myRIO connector A/B connector

Topics included in the Quanser-developed courseware:

Inertia Disk Module:

  • Hardware Integration
  • Step Response Modeling
  • Measurement Noise
  • Electromechanical Modeling
  • Second-Order Systems
  • PID Control
  • Stability Analysis

Pendulum Module:

  • Pendulum Modeling
  • Moment of Inertia
  • Balance Control
  • LQR Optimization (Advance Level Concept)
  • Swing-up Control
The QUBE™-Servo can be also used to teach other topics that are not included in the Quanser-developed courseware.

To set up your QUBE-Servo workstation, you need additional components. Quanser engineers recommend:

for MATLAB®/Simulink® users
(QUBE-Servo with USB or direct I/O panel¹)
for LabVIEW™ users
(QUBE-Servo with direct I/O
¹ or NI myRIO² panel)
QUARC real-time control software Rapid Control Prototyping Toolkit software

¹ requires an external DAQ supported by Quanser control software
² requires also NI myRIO controller. This version of the Quanser QUBE-Servo is sold exclusively by NI.


Other products you might be interested in

Rotary Servo Base Unit
Rotary Inverted Pendulum
Linear Servo Base Unit with Inverted Pendulum
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