Every now and then one of my former students contacts me with a question or problem related to a current assignment at his or her job. A few days ago one of my former students suspected that a voltage spike was causing damage to some equipment. He borrowed one of our Tektronix digital oscilloscopes from our lab and caught a picture of the spike. This is supposed to be a 24 volt AC circuit but that spike goes way up past 100 V in just a microsecond. Now the question is what to do about it. It’s interesting to see the measurement theory and techniques we teach get put into practice in industry. (A colorful oscilloscope tutorial can be seen here and a magnum opus tutorial here.)
Monthly Archive for January, 2007
On Tuesdays we have our EGR 323 Electronics II lab. Today we built class B and class C amplifiers. These are more efficient that class A amplifiers although they can also produce more distortion. The students were able to use an oscillosocpe to see the crossover distortion typical of class B amplifiers. They also were able to get the class C amplifiers working at fundamental as well as harmonic frequencies.
Our engineering department has been working along with Dordt’s Advancement Office to fill some needs in our labs. Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids Iowa has offered to donate a vector network analyzer. It arrived this afternoon. It’s an HP model 4195A. You can look at a picture of this model here. I’m looking forward to using it to do some transmission line experiments. This is sort of the ultimate test instrument for analog circuit designers. Very geeky. Many thanks to Rockwell Collins and our graduates who work there.
While my blog is new I’m going to try to post an item about every weekday. After a few weeks I expect I’ll only post about once each week. Today I have something that is not really about my work now. This is about other engineer’s work. I thought I’d pass along a link to this video about power engineering. I like it’s forward-looking perspective on renewable energy. (The video is about 20 minutes long. You must wait through a one-minute ad about “IEEE TV” at the start.)
This afternoon (Thursday 1/26) several engineers and a HR rep. from Daktronics visited with our students. They have lots of work for new graduates, like ours. They ran an impressive video showing the types of scoreboards and displays they make. For example they made the “Coca-Cola Spectacular” display in Times Square. Here’s a photo of this high-definition video sign from Daktonics and the story from Coca-Cola’s perspective. They’ve also done the scoreboards for a lot of the Olympic events. It looks like an interesting company. A big thanks to Ron Rynders in Dordt’s Career Services Office for helping coordinate this visit.
Many readers of this blog might themselves have a Facebook account. A lot of students use it in order to make social connections. Facebook is good for its purpose, but I thought I’d try out this blog as a way to get the word out about the work I’m doing here at Dordt College. So this is the beginning of something new for me. I think of it as sort of like a version of facebook that will shine a spotlight on my work rather than on my social connections.
BTW I also have a facebook account, but I think I’ll be putting the majority of my “recreational computing time” into this blog if things work out like I expect they will. I welcome your comments.