Computer Engineering Lab

The Computer Engineering Lab (MCT163) supports the Department’s computer engineering activities.  There are three major components to the lab.  The Fabrication Line, the Testing & Development Stations, and the Reference Board Library.  The lab is open for general use during normal academic hours.  Faculty coordinate 24×7 access for students who need access to the lab to complete projects.

Fabrication Line

S63 Milling

Our students use the equipment in this part of the lab to fabricate custom circuit boards.  Students get hands-on experience with the fabrication processing, going from blank copper plate to completed circuit board.  The majority of the equipment was purchased from LPKF, Inc, and was selected because it is the state of the art in mechanical circuit structuring, and is largely chemical free; which is important for student safety and reducing the environmental footprint of the process.

LPKF Protomat S-63 Milling Machine
Mill custom circuit boards from copper plated FR4.  Feature sizes down to 4 mil (.1mm).  Also allows computer aided drilling and contour routing of various materials and 2.5D manufacturing.

LPKF ProtoPress Board Press
Create multi-layer PCB (up to 8 layers)

LPKF ProtoFlow Reflow Oven
Coating cure and reflow soldering

LPKF MiniContact RS Electroplater
Through-hole electroplating

Student using Pick & Place

LPKF ProtoPlace
Semi-automatic Pick and Place machine allows accurate placement of parts on a circuit board.

Advanced Techniques AT-GDP1 BGA Rework Station
Stereoscopic microscope and integrated heaters facilitate accurate placement of BGA, QFN, and other parts.

LPKF ProtoPrint

Solder paste stencil mask & application

JBC Tools Hot-Air / Digital Soldering Station
Part installation & removal, board rework & repair

Parts Library
Extensive array of components for students to use on projects.  Parts library includes wide array of new parts, as well as a collection of boards students can use for salvage and to study existing system boards.

Testing and Development Stations


There are four stations dedicated to support testing boards and developing the firmware and device software.  These stations include:

  • Dell Optiplex 990 / i7 3.6GHz Workstation w/ Windows and Linux
  • BK Precision dual bench power supply
  • Tektronix DMM4040 6.5 digit bench multimeter
  • Tektronix MSO2024 16-digital, 4-analog 150MHz scope, w/ bus logic analyzers
  • Tektronix MSO3000 16-digital, 2-analog 300MHz scope
  • PIC ICD3 programmer / debugger
  • Spectrum Digital XDS510 JTAG emulator

We also provide access to some of the most powerful engineering design and development tools, including:

  • Cadence OrCAD Schematic Capture & PCB  Layout
  • Xilinx ISE, EDK, and System Generator
  • Microchip MPLAB X
  • National Instruments LabView / Tektronix ed.
  • MATLAB w/ Real-Time Workbench

Our licensing agreements allows the software to be installed on all of our departmental machines, and some of the software can be installed on students’ personal machines.

“Big Black”

In addition to the four general CE stations, we also provide a machine we custom-built and we call “big black” due to the size of its large tower case.  This machine is a true monster, and includes:

  • Intel i7 3960X Extreme edition processor overclocked to 4.4GHz
  • 32GB of 2100MHz quad-channel DRAM
  • Intel RAID card
  • 4 128GB SSD disks in RAID-0 stripe – 1GB/s disk throughput
  • Dual Nvidia GTX690’s in SLI configuration

This machine can build a Linux kernel from source in less than 1 minute!

Reference Board Library

  • Xilinx / Digilent XUPV5 Virtex-5 FPGA boards (see our FPGA wiki and Dr. Briggs’s FPGA videos) (12 boards for student use)
  • BeagleBoard rev. C (see our Beagle wiki) (16 boards for student use)product_beagleboard
  • PIC / Cerebot 32MX4 microcontroller boards  (16 boards for student use)
  • also have all programmers / development tools for our boards