Whew! What a relief - not gun, but interesting perhaps...

Whew! What a relief - not gun, but interesting perhaps...

This is a discussion on Whew! What a relief - not gun, but interesting perhaps... within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I teach engineering technology at a community college and for some odd reason, I told my Electronics I class that we would apply our semester's ...

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Thread: Whew! What a relief - not gun, but interesting perhaps...

  1. #1
    Lead Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
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    Dec 2004

    Whew! What a relief - not gun, but interesting perhaps...

    I teach engineering technology at a community college and for some odd reason, I told my Electronics I class that we would apply our semester's study to build a device to talk over a light beam. Each student would build a transmitter and receiver pair and could keep it.

    Since Electronics I only deals with transistors and diodes, I designed a modulated LED driver circuit and a photodiode receiver circuit including a class AB power amp to drive an 8 ohm speaker. The students built the boards from scratch, both etching, drilling, 'stuffing', and wiring. I tested the first set last Friday and that's when the trouble began!

    Neither board worked correctly! It's the last week of school . I worked on the circuits this weekend, and identified the problems. Just today a little before their last lab of the semester began, I decided on this course of action: I redesigned the transmit circuit, designed a new PCB layout, and my students responded beyond my highest hopes. They completed the new board, modified the receiver board and were all over the lab talking over a light beam by 3:00pm!

    This morning I was near panic, but thanks to determined students, I'll be able to sleep tonight. The students are literally fascinated with the project.

    Guess who learned the most from this project?

    I did a similar project in my Project Class but we used integrated circuits and lens to focus the beam and collect the light. It was still a very simple straight forward approach, but they talked over a beam of light over a measured 280 feet! That was sweet.

    The rest of the semester should be a breeze.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Rob P.'s Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    In the sticks
    The whole project sounds absolutely COOL!

    I would think that not only did you show them one of the neat things that engineering can do; you also showed them that learning about neat things in whatever field of study is also fascinating and that learning is a lifelong process that begins with looking for interesting things to think and learn about.

    Kudos to you and your kids.

  3. #3
    Member Array Monkeytown's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Being an electrical engineer myself, and having had to complete projects like this during my schooling, I can definately appreciate your post. Good job!

    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." Benjamin Franklin

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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    May 2007
    @ Wits' End
    My BIL is an EE.

    It's a good thing he taught me how to spell it.
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  5. #5
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    Array Rock and Glock's Avatar
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    Excellent. I admire Engineers. You students also learned something excellent about design, as well as the Prof!
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Sheldon J's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    Battle Creek, Mi.

    Ham Radio operator...

    and have been playing with that stuff for a very long time.... Many years ago I took a college class to become certified in digital electronics, and one of the steps was but build a simple circuit with a handful of flip flops, buffers, N amps....

    I went Don't need all this stuff to do this, and built it.... Next assignment was to simplify the circuit only using a few of the same components, when I went to the instructor he said "Yeah you did that in the first exercise, you must work with this stuff often" N I said "Ham radio operator and we are all cheap by nature"....
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    The other lesson was that sometimes it doesn't work and you have to be heroic with Plan B (and sometimes come up with a Plan B on the fly). Bravo for you all!
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