Let the robots do it

Circuit Break Podcast #285

Let The Robots Do It

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July 14, 2021, Episode #285

Is grinding out math problems just busy work? Is the current state of Math class curriculum hampering the real life deployment of engineering skills?
  • Finally real engineering… follow up
    • What is the most computational intensive work you have had to do on the job?
      • Mixed Integer Non Linear Optimization problem
        • Apopt solver
        • Pyomo
      • SK -2d polynomial matrix…thing
    • Email from a listener!
      • Our “assessment that it is uncommon for engineers to need this is quite biased since both of you work in manufacturing”
      • Clarification of point
      • Most of Stephen’s time has been split manufacturing and design
      • Theory classes do reinforce your “gut check” and “rules of thumbs” 
  • Python SCPI Test Development
    • Recap of Saturday 
    • Stephen’s Bias Test Board
    • Issue with devices resetting/losing communication
  • Bias test board
    • Finding the right A/D kind of sucks
      • It is never just resolution 
      • Lots of variables to juggle
        • Resolution
        • Speed
        • Cost
        • Accuracy
        • Package
        • Features
        • Not so features
        • PGA
        • Digital filtering
    • Caddock 1776-C681 resistive divider
      • 0.05% tolerance
      • Convenient 1/n division
      • 0 to 1000V down to 0 to 1V
    • Settled on ADS1256IDBTG4
      • All the bells and whistles
    • Opamp constant current driver to push 1mA
      • Resistance range = 100R to 2.2k so 100mV to 2.2V
  • Joe biden and right to repair
    • July 9 executive order includes wording for right to repair
      • To address persistent and recurrent practices that inhibit competition, the Chair of the FTC, in the Chair’s discretion, is also encouraged to consider working with the rest of the Commission to exercise the FTC’s statutory rulemaking authority, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, in areas such as
      • Unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair of items, such as the restrictions imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent farmers from repairing their own equipment
    • Federal trade commission released “Nixing the Fix” May 2021

About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!

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