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DOT Gifts Are Boon To Electronics Technology Students At Vance-Granville Community College

You don’t know if you can get something unless you ask for it. That seems to be the philosophy of Jim Tart, program head/instructor for Electronics Engineering Technology at Vance-Granville Community College.

Tart wanted to get some traffic lights for his students to use in their studies of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC). Since the N.C. Department of Transportation uses traffic signals controlled by PLC programs, he began looking at DOT headquarters in Raleigh. They referred Tart to DOT’s Durham District, which is responsible for the state roads and highways in this area.

Wallace Fuller of the Durham District offered Tart lights, and he even delivered them to the VGCC campus. In addition to three large traffic signals and two smaller ones, Fuller, who lives in Henderson, gave the Engineering Electronics program a set of crosswalk lights and several of the new Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps that are replacing bulbs in traffic signals. DOT just completed installing the LED lamps in traffic signals on Dabney Drive in Henderson.

Tart said the traffic signals will be mounted on the walls of the EET classroom at VGCC, and students will begin writing PLC programs to control the lights. These will replace small simulated traffic lights now in use by the classes.

There are three different PLC programs that will be studied to control the lights. Traffic lights are controlled by the PLC computer program that repeats itself to cycle the lights and control traffic flow.

“These traffic lights are a wonderful addition to our program,” Tart said. “They will give our students hands-on knowledge of real-world equipment, and they will gain great experience in writing the programs and seeing them work.”

Tart said he hopes to add a Department of Transportation controller and conflict monitor to further enhance student training.

PROGRAMMABLE TRAFFIC LIGHTS – Electronics Engineering Technology students at Vance-Granville Community College display the traffic signals and Light Emitting Diode lamps donated by the N.C. Department of Transportation for use by the students in writing Programmable Logic Controller programs to control the light cycles. From left are: Quint Richardson of Hollister, Craig Terry of Oxford, Andrew Goodwin of Oxford and Craig Abbott of Warren County.

NEW KIND OF LIGHT – Jim Tart, program head and instructor for Electronics Engineering Technology at Vance-Granville Community College demonstrates installation of Light Emitting Diode lamps to replace bulbs in traffic lights donated to the electronics program by the N.C. Department of Transportation. Electronics Engineering students observing the installation are, from left, Quint Richardson of Hollister, Nathan Newbrough of Wake Forest and Mike Brown of Franklinton.