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Latest revision as of 03:32, 4 October 2012

Progress Log
Details
Both

Week 6

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Focus: Electronics, Assignments

    Let’s rev up the engine. Puny pumps arrive with a buff battery. Details
    Entry:
    At last, all electronic parts have come in. We have several piezoelectric micropumps made from Germany, an 80 pound car battery as the main power source of the device, and a 24” by 18” solar panel to replenish the battery power. The battery itself is impressive due to its size and weight. Implementing it will be comparable to putting a tank inside our device. On the other hand, the micropumps live up to their namesake; they are barely larger than the size of our thumbs.

    After the items were passed around the table, Dan divvied out tasks to dry lab members. Lydia will work on interfacing the microcontroller to the micropumps, while Kelvin and Maneesh are responsible for coding an Android application in which data from the microcontroller can be easily read on a cellphone screen and saved to a server for remote access. And Manny will look into rapid prototyping, a method of fabricating the case for our device.

    While we start these tasks, we are also waiting for keycard access into the electrical (ECE) lab.

    #chassis #battery #micropump

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Focus: Electronics Training, Micropump Testing

    There’s no better way to get pumped up than with micropumps! Details
    Entry:
    Today, we picked up the battery (which was very heavy) and the solar panel before meeting Professor Bruce Land in the ECE lab, which we should have card access to starting this late afternoon. To those who made it on time, Bruce went over general guidelines and safety procedures wearing eye protection when soldering. Unfortunately, Tina arrived too late and missed the training. Only Maneesh, Lydia and Kelvin soldered before, so Bruce demonstrated and reviewed instructions and tips for soldering wires to each other and onto boards. For example, a smooth meniscus between the pin and the board indicates a good connection. Bruce proved very helpful and provided us with prototyping boards, 14-pin sockets and online resources. He later looked over our 80 lb battery, solar panel and micropumps, and suggested that we opt for a smaller, lighter battery for better portability since the solar panel can help compensate for a shorter battery life.

    After the professor left for the weekend, we tested our micropumps. When Dan connected the micropump into the microcontroller, which is powered by a computer via USB, the two tiny piezo actuators buzzed to life and everyone let out a sigh of relief. The pumps worked!

    In the near future, Maneesh plans to actually test the flow rates in Weill Hall and Lydia will configure the Arduino board (or microcontroller) so that we can get it hooked up to the micropump. On a last note, Bruce Land mentioned that designing our own circuit boards wouldn’t be hard and would look impressive in our final product. He also seems more than willing to share his knowledge and expertise, which we will surely need it as we dive deeper into our system’s electronics.

    #electronics #micropump

    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    Focus: Re-design of Chassis

    The Acorn is conceived! Meanwhile, Septimus Prime gets a facelift. Details
    Entry:
    After a full team meeting at the spacious Weill Hall, we sat down at the cafe to discuss updates on the chassis so far. For the past few days, Manny had been contacting rapid prototyping companies to get quotes; the ones that got back to him hadn't given a definitive answer because of the lack of a blueprint. The device design that we would send to one such company would be rotationally symmetrical about the vertical axis, with a top hatch that screws into a nearly spherical body. I dubbed it, The Acorn. In the event that we couldn’t afford this option, we needed a secondary design for a device we could produce ourselves. Hence, we returned to the drawing board to design a device better than Septimus Prime, with adequate waterproofing in mind. We debated on designs that involved triple cylindrical vessels, giant buoys and sawed-open propane tanks. It was a mind numbing, paper scratching, and at times, nearly frustrating process. But refocusing on an apparatus with one body and a top opening, in the end, we went with the next best thing: Septimus Prime with a top latch opening, much like a submarine.

    #chassis #acorn
  • Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    At last, all electronic parts have come in. We have several piezoelectric micropumps made from Germany, an 80 pound car battery as the main power source of the device, and a 24” by 18” solar panel to replenish the battery power. The battery itself is impressive due to its size and weight. Implementing it will be comparable to putting a tank inside our device. On the other hand, the micropumps live up to their namesake; they are barely larger than the size of our thumbs.

    After the items were passed around the table, Dan divvied out tasks to dry lab members. Lydia will work on interfacing the microcontroller to the micropumps, while Kelvin and Maneesh are responsible for coding an Android application in which data from the microcontroller can be easily read on a cellphone screen and saved to a server for remote access. And Manny will look into rapid prototyping, a method of fabricating the case for our device.

    While we start these tasks, we are also waiting for keycard access into the electrical (ECE) lab.

    #chassis #battery #micropump

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Today, we picked up the battery (which was very heavy) and the solar panel before meeting Professor Bruce Land in the ECE lab, which we should have card access to starting this late afternoon. To those who made it on time, Bruce went over general guidelines and safety procedures wearing eye protection when soldering. Unfortunately, Tina arrived too late and missed the training. Only Maneesh, Lydia and Kelvin soldered before, so Bruce demonstrated and reviewed instructions and tips for soldering wires to each other and onto boards. For example, a smooth meniscus between the pin and the board indicates a good connection. Bruce proved very helpful and provided us with prototyping boards, 14-pin sockets and online resources. He later looked over our 80 lb battery, solar panel and micropumps, and suggested that we opt for a smaller, lighter battery for better portability since the solar panel can help compensate for a shorter battery life.

    After the professor left for the weekend, we tested our micropumps. When Dan connected the micropump into the microcontroller, which is powered by a computer via USB, the two tiny piezo actuators buzzed to life and everyone let out a sigh of relief. The pumps worked!

    In the near future, Maneesh plans to actually test the flow rates in Weill Hall and Lydia will configure the Arduino board (or microcontroller) so that we can get it hooked up to the micropump. On a last note, Bruce Land mentioned that designing our own circuit boards wouldn’t be hard and would look impressive in our final product. He also seems more than willing to share his knowledge and expertise, which we will surely need it as we dive deeper into our system’s electronics.

    #electronics #micropump

    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    After a full team meeting at the spacious Weill Hall, we sat down at the cafe to discuss updates on the chassis so far. For the past few days, Manny had been contacting rapid prototyping companies to get quotes; the ones that got back to him hadn't given a definitive answer because of the lack of a blueprint. The device design that we would send to one such company would be rotationally symmetrical about the vertical axis, with a top hatch that screws into a nearly spherical body. I dubbed it, The Acorn. In the event that we couldn’t afford this option, we needed a secondary design for a device we could produce ourselves. Hence, we returned to the drawing board to design a device better than Septimus Prime, with adequate waterproofing in mind. We debated on designs that involved triple cylindrical vessels, giant buoys and sawed-open propane tanks. It was a mind numbing, paper scratching, and at times, nearly frustrating process. But refocusing on an apparatus with one body and a top opening, in the end, we went with the next best thing: Septimus Prime with a top latch opening, much like a submarine.

    #chassis #acorn
  • Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Focus: Electronics, Assignments

    Let’s rev up the engine. Puny pumps arrive with a buff battery.
    Entry:
    At last, all electronic parts have come in. We have several piezoelectric micropumps made from Germany, an 80 pound car battery as the main power source of the device, and a 24” by 18” solar panel to replenish the battery power. The battery itself is impressive due to its size and weight. Implementing it will be comparable to putting a tank inside our device. On the other hand, the micropumps live up to their namesake; they are barely larger than the size of our thumbs.

    After the items were passed around the table, Dan divvied out tasks to dry lab members. Lydia will work on interfacing the microcontroller to the micropumps, while Kelvin and Maneesh are responsible for coding an Android application in which data from the microcontroller can be easily read on a cellphone screen and saved to a server for remote access. And Manny will look into rapid prototyping, a method of fabricating the case for our device.

    While we start these tasks, we are also waiting for keycard access into the electrical (ECE) lab.

    #chassis #battery #micropump

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Focus: Electronics Training, Micropump Testing

    There’s no better way to get pumped up than with micropumps!
    Entry:
    Today, we picked up the battery (which was very heavy) and the solar panel before meeting Professor Bruce Land in the ECE lab, which we should have card access to starting this late afternoon. To those who made it on time, Bruce went over general guidelines and safety procedures wearing eye protection when soldering. Unfortunately, Tina arrived too late and missed the training. Only Maneesh, Lydia and Kelvin soldered before, so Bruce demonstrated and reviewed instructions and tips for soldering wires to each other and onto boards. For example, a smooth meniscus between the pin and the board indicates a good connection. Bruce proved very helpful and provided us with prototyping boards, 14-pin sockets and online resources. He later looked over our 80 lb battery, solar panel and micropumps, and suggested that we opt for a smaller, lighter battery for better portability since the solar panel can help compensate for a shorter battery life.

    After the professor left for the weekend, we tested our micropumps. When Dan connected the micropump into the microcontroller, which is powered by a computer via USB, the two tiny piezo actuators buzzed to life and everyone let out a sigh of relief. The pumps worked!

    In the near future, Maneesh plans to actually test the flow rates in Weill Hall and Lydia will configure the Arduino board (or microcontroller) so that we can get it hooked up to the micropump. On a last note, Bruce Land mentioned that designing our own circuit boards wouldn’t be hard and would look impressive in our final product. He also seems more than willing to share his knowledge and expertise, which we will surely need it as we dive deeper into our system’s electronics.

    #electronics #micropump

    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    Focus: Re-design of Chassis

    The Acorn is conceived! Meanwhile, Septimus Prime gets a facelift.
    Entry:
    After a full team meeting at the spacious Weill Hall, we sat down at the cafe to discuss updates on the chassis so far. For the past few days, Manny had been contacting rapid prototyping companies to get quotes; the ones that got back to him hadn't given a definitive answer because of the lack of a blueprint. The device design that we would send to one such company would be rotationally symmetrical about the vertical axis, with a top hatch that screws into a nearly spherical body. I dubbed it, The Acorn. In the event that we couldn’t afford this option, we needed a secondary design for a device we could produce ourselves. Hence, we returned to the drawing board to design a device better than Septimus Prime, with adequate waterproofing in mind. We debated on designs that involved triple cylindrical vessels, giant buoys and sawed-open propane tanks. It was a mind numbing, paper scratching, and at times, nearly frustrating process. But refocusing on an apparatus with one body and a top opening, in the end, we went with the next best thing: Septimus Prime with a top latch opening, much like a submarine.

    #chassis #acorn