Circuits are the fundamental components for electrical conduction, and they consist of elementary electronic parts, such as capacitors, resistors, transformers, inductors, and diodes. The parts are interconnected to perform specific functions. Engineers learn about circuit design so that the movement of electric current across an electrical circuit will perform a specific task, or collect data to control other systems. Electrical engineers demonstrate their knowledge by completing basic projects.
Traffic Light Project
This project utilises red, green, and yellow LED's in the appropriate order as engineers build a model traffic light. Some of the components required for completing this project are resistors, capacitors, LED's, diodes, a programmable timer, LED light sockets, a circuit board and a battery harness. Through this project, students learn about the logic commands needed to program a traffic light system. Students can modify this project by adding pressure sensitive switches in the roadway. In this advanced project, the traffic light system become interactive, and responds to the amount of traffic.
Adjustable Timer Project
Another project that demonstrates students' understanding of circuitry and computerised control circuits is an adjustable timer. The components needed for this project are similar to the first, but also include an 8-pin IC holder, and an on/off switch. The circuit features two LED's -- green and red. When the circuit is turned on, the green LED switches on, and when the programmable time period ends, the circuit opens and the red LED switches on. By adjusting the time span, students make use of a variable resistor, and can understand the usefulness of IC controlled, adjustable timers as control devices.
Computer Programming Design
Computer programming is another specialised field of study within an electrical engineering career path. This project is a custom program that converts a known weight from one system of measurement into another system, such as ounces to litres. The student writes a program that not only completes the conversation mathematically, but also designs the interface which operates the program. This device can be a freestanding electronic device, like a scale or calculator. The program can also be written to operate within an Internet web based interface. The program accepts input from one system of measure, looks up the proper conversion value, and generates an output value in the new unit of measure.
Solar Energy Charging Circuit
Renewable, sustainable energy is becoming more important across the world, and electrical engineers can tackle engineering problems working with solar energy panels. One project is as simple as charging batteries via the power generated by solar panels. Components for this project include a photovoltaic cell, on/off switches, analogue multimeter (500mA range), fuses, batteries, and an LED light. This project includes creating a charging circuit, and creating a control circuit that monitors the charging process. The control circuit shuts off the charger when the battery is fully charged to protect the battery from damage due to overcharging.
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