project idea

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by bug13, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. bug13

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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    Hi guys

    I am looking for a project idea for my next year program. And I want to build something employers want to see, or something they will be interesting in (and hopefully lead to a job)

    So I am here looking for advice and idea.

    about the project:

    1. $200 budget, I personally will need to pay for the extra if the project is more that $200
    2. can't be a kit/something can buy from a shelf
    3. something with uC(s) in it

    please feel free to ask if I haven't given enough info about this project

    PS: it's a year 2 project, there is a year 3 project
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  2. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    create a device that can be connected to a transformer or a motor and find out if its wired wye or delta inside.
     
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  3. bug13

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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    I'm not an electrical engineer, but shouldn't it there is a label on the transformer/motor saying what kind of connection is it?
     
  4. Dodgydave

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2012
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  5. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Yes, but there is a big difference between should be and is. Usually after a few years, if it's not painted over or missing, it's so scratched and fouled up that you can't read it.
     
  6. chrissyp

    Active Member

    Aug 25, 2008
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    I dont think it is my/our place to come up with a project for you . The whole point of being set a project is to ensure you have understood all you have been taught and put it into practice to come up with your own ideas.
     
  7. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Yeah. How about you tell us YOUR project ideas, and then WE can go off and make and sell products based on your ideas so we make the money... ;)
     
  8. bug13

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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    I got it, thanks :)
     
  9. bug13

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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    Mmmm... maybe I should have used the title of "what are employers looking for when they look at students projects" that's what I really want to know. :)
     
  10. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I wouldn't know for sure, but I assume that it would depend on the employer. A company that manufactures electrical test equipment like Fluke might be interested in a device that can determine whether a motor or transformer is wired for wye or delta.

    But probably any company would be looking for someone who has initiative and is creative; who brings their own ideas to the table.
     
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  11. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    OK, in that case I apologise. :) We see a lot of fishing posts from Asia asking "what project to make" knowing they are looking for other people's ideas to take and make easy profit from.

    Regarding employers, well they are not stupid. If your project is a 555 timer LED flasher then they will not be as impressed as when your project contains a number of high level technologies (like displays, communications, PC or wireless interfacing, high tech sensors etc).

    They might not need those exact technologies but it shows you can read datasheets and make some new technology devices work together like a "proper" engineer.

    Also you may be better with a number of smaller projects and many different technologies than just one one large project where it looks like that was "all" you learned or "all" you know how to do.
     
  12. bug13

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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    no hard feelings, and thanks for your advices, really appreciated it :)
     
  13. JMac3108

    Active Member

    Aug 16, 2010
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    Bringing in your school or home projects and showing them and describing them to an employer is a great way to help your chances of getting hired. But make sure that you really understand what you've done. Don't get caught saying that you designed the entire thing when in fact a lab parter wrote all the software and you did the hardware. The hiring manager or engineers that interview you will see through this. Be honest.

    As far as a project goes, a micro-controller is perfect. It shows that you know how to design hardware and to write code. I don't think that the exact nature of the project is particularly important, but it would be good to use as many of the general features of micro-controller designs to show you know what you're doing.

    Some things you might consider including:

    Communications ports:
    - Perhaps a serial port for debugging. Connect your project to a host PC and talk to it over a serial port using a temrinal emulator such as HyperTerm.
    - SPI bus. Commonly used serial synchronous interface used to talk to devices on your board such as DACs, serial flash, temperature sensors, etc...
    - Maybe I2C. Genreally used for the same kinds of things as SPI.

    Analog to Digital Conversion:
    - Use the ADC on your micro to measure some things on your design. Even if the design doesn't necessarily need to measure anything, measure your power supply to make sure its within tolerance.

    Flash:
    - An external serial flash can be used to store data.

    Power Supply:
    Your board needs a power supply, right?

    . . . You get the idea!
     
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  14. takao21203

    Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
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    You have to produce some pretty smart circuit these days if you want it to cause potential employers to look at it at all.

    HR people or OL (Office ladies) will not examine circuits, however smart they are. What you need to do is to present a professional letter of recommendation (from someone who maybe examined your circuit). And this needs to be some kind of circuit you really designed yourself over a couple of weeks or months, even if it is including bits and pieces from already existing circuits.
     
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  15. bug13

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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    Hi takao21203, thanks for pointing that out, I would have never known that if you didn't point this out
     
  16. JMac3108

    Active Member

    Aug 16, 2010
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    I don't think you necessarily have to provide a really 'smart' circuit to get anyone to look at it. The point is not to impress the employer - you're not likely to do that, especially if you're a new engineer. The point is to show that you can design something that works, and explain it.

    I recently changed jobs. My new job required hardware design expertise, and some level of software proficiency in C/C++. I'm much more of a hardware guy than a software guy, and I made that clear in the phone interview. But I can do software, so I brought a printout of a recent program I wrote in C for an MSP430 microcontroller. I showed it to the hiring manager and explained what it did. He was NOT impressed since he is an expert C++ embedded programmer. BUT he did see that I was able to write some code that works - and I got hired.
     
  17. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Good point. I was only considering interviewing with knowledgeable people, or what would be step 3 - the 2nd interview. You're absolutely right, the first interview (step2) is almost always with some clueless HR person who is looking for buzz words and bullet points like "team player" and "energetic." Step 1 is formatting your resume in such a way that the triage bots don't automatically send it to file 13.

    Getting a job (at least here in America) has become a whole new game in the last few years. And it really is a game that you need to be good at, or at least consult a professional.
     
  18. takao21203

    Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
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    Yes. This is an unwritten rule for real programmers.
    They must be able to implement any flowchart within nearly any specific language. If they don't know the system, they must learn it while working in 2 weeks. It's a hard job! I have recently read about iterators, but I am not very experienced with all new C++ extensions.

    Have you studied or used all this new C++ stuff?
     
  19. JMac3108

    Active Member

    Aug 16, 2010
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    Taka,

    I'm just learning it now. Studying classes etc..., I have to implement something in C++ to earn my bonus this year.

    So far I have a basic understanding of classes and how they're used in C++, and I know the purported advantages of programming this way. But I don't see the advantage myself. I'm not saying there isn't an advantage - just saying I don't see it yet. I'm assuming this will become clear as I write some real code.
     
  20. bug13

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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    I found that if you are interfacing with a few same type sensors, say 10 same temperature sensors, using C++ is a lot easier and manageable.
     
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