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2 DOF Ball Balancer

Introduce vision-based control concepts using the servo family

Electromechanical Control

The 2 DOF Ball Balancer module is a vision-based control experiment designed to teach intermediate to advanced control concepts. You can use it to demonstrate real-world control challenges encountered in vision-based motion platforms, such as pan-tilt cameras.

The 2 DOF Ball Balancer is based on two Rotary Servo Base Units. Using this experiment, students can take what they learned in the one-dimensional Ball and Beam experiment, and apply it to the X-Y planar case.


Product Details

The 2 DOF Ball Balancer module consists of a plate on which a ball can be placed and is free to move. Two Rotary Servo Base Units are connected to the sides of the plate using 2 DOF gimbals. The plate can swivel about in any direction. By controlling the position of the servo load gears, the tilt angle of the plate can be adjusted to balance the ball to a desired planar position.

The digital camera mounted overhead captures two-dimensional images of the plate and track coordinates of the ball in real time. Images are transferred quickly to the PC via a FireWire connection. Students can make the ball track various trajectories (a circle, for example), or even stabilize the ball when it is thrown onto the plate using the controller provided with the experiment.

  • Precision-crafted chassis constructed of durable ABS plastic
  • Plate mounted on a 2 DOF gimbal, which allows the plates to swivel about both axes
  • High-resolution encoders for accurate sensing and positioning of table plate in 2D plane
  • High resolution, high quality, fast frame rate CCD digital camera with FireWire connection to allow quick real-time sensing of object position in 2D plane
  • Quanser image processing software and Simulink® library provided
Calibrated base dimensions  (L x W) 41.75 cm x 41.75 cm
Table dimensions ( L x W) 27.5 cm x 27.5 cm
Camera support height 69.5 cm
Lever arm length 9.7 cm
Support arm length 14.6 cm
Camera specification IIDC 1394-based digital camera v 1.31
Camera standard resolution 640 x 480
Camera frame rate (at full resolution, Y8 format) 30 FPS
Camera pixel format Y8 in BGR format
Modeling Topics
  • Model derivation
  • First-principles derivation
  • Transfer function representation
  • Linearization
Control Topics
  • PID
  • Multiple loops
  • Sensor analysis

The following additional components are required to complete your workstation, and are sold separately:

For Simulink

  • QUARC® add-on for MATLAB®/Simulink®
  • Two Rotary Servo Base Units
  • Quanser VoltPAQ-X2 linear voltage amplifier
  • One of the following DAQ devices:
    • Quanser Q2-USB
    • Quanser Q8-USB
    • Quanser QPIDe


  • Quanser Rapid Control Prototyping (Q-RCP) Toolkit® add-on for NI LabVIEW™
  • Two Rotary Servo Base Units
  • Quanser VoltPAQ-X2 linear voltage amplifier
  • One of the following DAQ devices:
    • NI CompactRIO with Quanser Q1-cRIO
    • NI myRIO with Quanser Terminal Board
    • Quanser Q2-USB
    • Quanser Q8-USB
    • Quanser QPIDe

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