After yesterday’s exam, I have completed the Electronic Technologies program at Heritage College! Although final marks are not yet posted, graduation is certain, and I can pretty much call myself a Technologist (except not officially).
The biggest part of this third and final year was the final project. I’ve made a few posts in the past about it (video, menu, schematics), and the original plan was to make separate blog posts for each step of the process. However, time constraints, and the sheer volume of material, makes it easier if I just provide this summative post.
This post will be divided down into two main sections: hardware and software. I will try to explain with detail while keeping it short, and cover some of the key elements and choices involved in making this project.
After two semesters, I can finally present my complete, ~fully functional, Final Project.
A good project is never finished, and I do indeed have other features and fixes I would like to implement in the future.
Check out the video below to see it in action!
Over the next little while I will bring you through the processes of engineering my final project. From circuit design, prototyping, PCB layout, hardware manufacture, programming, and final packaging, I will give you a commentary on my choices, and what I might have done differently. Hopefully you can learn something in the process!
Before we get too far ahead in the project, let’s start at the beginning.
Heritage College’s Electronics program offers two summer co-op terms, which are recognized on the diploma received at graduation.
Last summer, I was employed at the very same college, officially preparing equipment for next year’s classes, making an inventory of electronics components and materials, and making a database with search and checkout functionality to keep track of components. Unofficially, I also assisted the computer services guys, setting up computers for the Jeux du Quebec 2010, then quickly dismantling and putting them back in classrooms and offices.
This year, I’m working at the Canadian Space Agency.
Well, last week I began my new summer job at the school I attend, Heritage College. I am an Electronics Technician, in a manner, in charge of preparing the electronics labs for next semesters students. I am setting up a computer systems class’ components, as well as a networking lab, and various other organization and preparation tasks. Cool!
It also means I have less time to work on certain projects and music, but it also means that my off-time will be better spent doing these things I enjoy. Today I went to Allan’s house, a former band mate, and we jammed all day, and his father, someone I would consider a seasoned musician, gave me motivation to get much more involved in my music again. As a result, I’ve got several new song ideas and projects I’m excited to work on. Expect new posts on that soon!
I also ordered and received a battery desulfator, which is designed to revive batteries that no longer hold a charge as a result of sulfation on the plates. I have many batteries I suspect of having this problem, and tonight I have just begun revival attempts. From what I understand, it can take several weeks to fully revive a battery, so I won’t know if it worked for another while, but naturally updates will follow!
Over the break I’ve got a few projects on the go. Whether I finish any/all is another story, but at least, I don’t have an excuse if I find myself bored. I hope that all of your Christmases were enjoyable. My mom got me the following, which I had mentioned I wanted not too long ago:
A wire tracker. Perfect for checking phones lines, network cables, car wiring, coax cabling, and, most importantly, following wiring in pinball machines!
There are giant harnesses of wires in pinball machines that make it very difficult to track individual wires. This will make it so much easier for me to track where they go, rather than dealing with the two-colour wire coding system.
Another neat tool I got for Christmas was the following. Can you guess what it is (after the jump)?
Hello all! This evening I upgraded the server a little bit. Last Saturday I ordered two 750GB drives, on sale for $69.97 at TigerDirect.ca, and tonight I set them up in mirrored RAID. Now there are five hard drives in the server: amazing. (By the way, for those who don’t know why the hell I’d do this, the server is my back up device, so I can access my files from anywhere, and in case drive failure occurs on my already RAIDed desktop. As well, I store all my media on the server to share within the whole house.)
I’m only waiting for the power supply to die, but Thermaltake power supplies are incredible: they don’t die. This one is rated for 420 watts, and the one in my desktop is rated for 430 watts, and for my desktop, I’ve got three hard drives, two optical drives, and a 9800GT graphics card. Anyway, enough product placement, here are the innards of the server:
Awesome. So now there are: two 750GBs, a 200GB, a 320GB, and finally, a 20GB Quantum Fireball, which has Windows installed on it, along with all software. Amazing. This drive has got to be about 9 or 10 years old, but I don’t see it dying any time soon, and its running 24/7. They don’t make ‘em like they used to. Here is a last beauty shot:
Now, as for exams. They begin for me next week, on Thursday. Wednesday is a day off, a “study day”. My last exam is December 17th, after which I get exactly a month off, from the 18th of December to the 18th of January.
In terms of class projects, I have only had one since the last posts: the AM/FM radio. I’ve finished mine, and I plan on providing a detailed overview of it quite soon. I should cover the phone as well. Perhaps over the break I shall! Here again is a shot of the radio. Expect an update soon!