A gyroscope (Greek gyros - to turn, skopein - to see) - also called a gyroscopic instrument or simply a gyroscope - is generally understood to be a body with mass in which the component of the absolute angular velocity about one of its main axes of inertia is large in comparison to the components about the other two main axes of inertia. Although the basic descriptive equations have been sufficiently well known since Newton, the dynamic behaviour, which seems counterintuitive to human perception, is surprising in many respects. The static appearance of a momentum-free gyroscope belies the extensive system behaviour.

The Setup

The experimental apparatus consists of:

  • Base plate (0)
  • Base module (1)
  • Outer frame (2)
  • Inner frame (3)
  • Rotor (4)
Laboratory Experiment Gyro with labels from 0 to 4

The base module is mounted vertically rotatable on the base plate. The base module contains a DC motor that rotates the outer frame via a gear. The inner frame is rotatably mounted in the outer frame, whereby a deflection is counteracted by means of springs. The inner frame contains the rotor, which is operated at a constant speed.

Challenges for the Teaching

  • Design a PID-based controller
  • Implement and test if the gyroscope module maintains its headings when a
    disturbance is added.