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Current Projects in Electronics
Our Audio Laboratory is now complete. In this facility, we will demonstrate the proper methods of installing and setting up a home theatre. Real time spectrum analysis will be an integral part of the process. Aspects of room design, component placement, furniture placement, acoustic and electrical noise reduction, electrical connections, and damping will also be covered.
We will also be unraveling the secrets of Theile/Small parameters as they apply to speaker design and construction. Emphasis will be placed on cross-over design and testing. Eventually, we hope this area will spill over into car audio.
The senior Electronics Engineering Technology class embarked on a project this year that would allow the students to utilize most of their classroom training in a work environment. The project they undertook was to design and build a remote guided vehicle similar to those employed by NASA for exploration of the Moon and Mars. As a prototype, it can be tested for application such as parking lot security and mail delivery on campus. While lacking the sophistication of a NASA vehicle, it provides a high degree of capabilities.
The guided vehicle can roam the campus in response to an operator in the control center or can be programmed to carry out any number of preprogrammed motions without intervention from the control center. It carries on board a multi-axis robot arm capable of lifting and carrying several pounds of payload. It provides video and data transmission back to the control center.
During the planning phase of the project, the overall vehicle was segregated into several subsystems. Each implements a major portion of the vehicle’s function. Students were given an overview of each subsystem and then assigned in groups to build a particular subsystem. The instructor would act as the project manager and work with the groups as needed.
Students were responsible for obtaining parts and fabricating parts outside of class. Parts were obtained from donations, scrap yards and vendors. The design was driven by cost and limited to a total budget of $500.00. The complexity of the project requires that the vehicle be implemented in successive phases where future classes can add more of the capability. While expensive for a single class, the money spent is an investment that will keep future classes challenged as enhancements are planned.
Building the vehicle has required the students to draw on their training from all of their electronics classes as well as Programmable Logic Controllers, microprocessors and communications. Future enhancements will draw on these same areas plus on advanced topics such as DSP and Visual Basic. The project will continue to provide applications experience for all courses offered in the curriculum.
A-B Tech Bosch Line Demonstrator
The A-B Tech Bosch Line Demonstrator is a joint project between the Engineering Departments at A-B Tech to demonstrate a broad range of engineering disciplines required in the design of a flexible automated manufacturing line. The line consists of a Bosch conveyor line and master controller that coordinates the processing steps of a maximum of 8 satellite stations. The line shall provide the flexibility to install or relocate stations on the line. Each station shall interface to the line with standard plug connectors for power, control and air. Electrical control signals shall be standardized such that development and test of the stations can be accomplished off-line.
This facility will be featured in PLC and automation courses taught on our campus. Use of this lab will allow instruction of several functional areas such as documentation, safety standards, wiring, identification and labeling, control cabinets, power distribution, emergency stop circuitry, system interfacing, system control functions, pallet sequencing, mechanical interfacing, air interfacing, station mounting, and handshaking.
The department's PC-based weather station is now up and running! This station features a graphical display of current weather conditions, including the temperature, humidity, wind speed, barometer, and rainfall. The station also tracks historical data, indicating weather trends.
The weather station is now on display on the third floor in the Elm Building, beside the elevator. We are in the process of implementing means to export the data retrieved from the weather station to our web site. Until then, you can check out the local weather via The Weather Channel.