Preparing for my final year independent project (where do i begin?)

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Cretin, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Cretin

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2012
    Hi all.

    I am going into my second year of a 2 year electrical engineering technology program. I have the entire year to put together a full scale project, business plan, design model and working prototype by years end. Lot of time from now until then, but I really want to make this as successful as possible.

    My question is...really...where do i begin? I have never done something like this before, i mean i have worked with hardware and software before, but more as a business consultant rather than developing things from scratch. Ideally I want my project to include

    Telecommunications (some kind of wi-fi signal transmitting and receiving data)
    Digital (solid programming, perhaps even an android app)
    Electronics (build something using various components)

    I don't want to bite off more than I can chew...but my motto is go big or go home, and I was wondering what I can do in my off time this summer to develop some solid skills, and begin to piece together a solid project idea

    Any advice?
  2. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    Help the guy in a concurrent thread working on a cow-herd-control system!
    THE_RB likes this.
  3. LDC3

    Active Member

    Apr 27, 2013
    Ask what you would like to have that will make your life easier.
    Some people will say, a smart house.
    Maybe you can have the heating and cooling system work more effectively. Why turn on the heater at 5 AM (current indoor temperature is 65 ºF) when it will get warm (outside temperature 75 ºF) by 9 AM.
  4. dthx


    May 2, 2013
    Id like to have a Koozi that displayed the temp. of my beer.
    Nobody likes to drink warm beer.
    or how about a big spoon that has a thermometer in it..
    Prob. already been done....
    Having an original thought is hard to do....
  5. Cretin

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2012
    It really is...and just to clarify so i don't get burned to hell, I'm not looking for someone to feed me an idea...but moreso to help me understand what I'm capable of...

    I'd love to design some kind of a copter or rover with a remote control and a camera,that I can relay messages to wirelessly (i just really want to flex my muscle on telecommunications, digital programming and electronics)....but since I've never done that before I don't want to put my efforts into something that is clearly un-doable according to my skills.

    I respect engineers and scientists, that's why I don't want to make an ass out of myself for taking on something that is clearly too difficult for me :) i guess a better question do i better understand the complexities of projects before undertaking them...sorry if that isn't a good question to ask...but it is what is rattling in my head atm
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  6. Shagas

    Active Member

    May 13, 2013
    What I do Is put some music on , sit back on my chair and put my legs on the table, light one up and then think system by system how the project is going to work and how I can realise it . Maybe even write it down or draw a diagram with boxes and arrows
  7. WBahn


    Mar 31, 2012
    You are asking reasonable questions and you have reasonable concerns. Unfortunately, engineering is both an art and a science. The art is learning from your own mistakes and the science is learning from the mistakes of others. You go to school and work with more experienced people and come to places like this to practice the science of engineering, but you can't escape having to practice the art at some point.

    Eat the elephant in small chunks. You've already broken your big picture idea into three smaller pieces. See if you can't break each of them down into three more. That will give you about ten fairly focused topic areas in which to explore. Do some reading and some tinkering with the goal of getting a feel for how involved each of those topic areas is probably going to be for you. You might allocate one week this summer to each topic and just find out everything you can in one week. You may not be able to do too much actual tinkering in that time frame, especially if it involves hardware. But you might be able to at least get a good feel for the hardware/software/costs that you are looking at and, if it is not too expensive, at least get the "Hello World" equivalent under your belt.

    Another idea is to check around and see if there are any hobby groups in your area that are at least peripherally related to any of these topics. There are probably on-line groups and forums dedicated to at least some of them, but if you can find a group that meets physically that would be better.
    Cretin and absf like this.
  8. Cretin

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2012
    Love the advice....and thank you for being so understanding. I agree with your approach, I'll allocate a week to each subject of study and begin to outline what's feasible and what's not. Thanks again!
  9. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    That's actually not a bad idea. I've often about having a cup that indicates when the liquid is too hot to drink. Would save me some singed tongue.
  10. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    A "mood ring" approach to this would be pretty easy to do and not require any electronics. I have a metal band that can be slipped onto a wine bottle to read the temperature with its liquid crystal display. Seems like it would be easy to do the same for a higher temp range.
  11. absf

    Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    Yes, just use the "mood ring" idea and make it into a spoon. Indicate the temperature on the stem with changing colors. Too many time my tongue was burned with hot soup.