Category Archives: Electrical Engineering

Sophi Kravitz is an electrical engineer who enjoys being somewhere near the bottom of the learning curve. Currently, she is pursuing RF engineering, analog engineering and building art based on RF signals. She lives in a workshop containing a kitchen and living room with her husband. I am an Electrical Engineer working as a Salesperson. I love engineering, it is my true passion, and I spend lots of time in my home shop building, designing and making stuff. I live in the Hudson Valley, NY, which isn’t particularly desirable for tech people. The only large company here is IBM. There are very few design engineers in the area, which makes getting a generic engineering job at a generic small company pathetically easy. So why did I switch? I worked as a New Product design engineer for 7 years, enjoyably switching projects (and jobs) quite often. As an engineer, I found…

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I’ve written before about business travel, but this time I’m traveling as a design engineer; last time it was general thoughts on travel after a short stint at a conference as a technical writer. So I decided to consider what engineers need to know in order to work successfully on an overnight trip to a foreign locale. Design engineers aren’t made to travel. We have quirky needs, lots to do back at the lab and massive amounts of baggage (take that one how you want to). However, sometimes the need arises to get off your butt and go see a customer. Other times it’s a supplier. And sometimes you need to go simply because the boss tells you to. Early this week, I’ll traveling for my day job and I thought I’d blurp out my thoughts (that’s right, blurp) before going. While not all of this will be strictly for…

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I’ve probably mentioned before how I never intended to get a degree in engineering.  I started college with the notion of being a research scientist, but initially decided I wasn’t scientist material.  I spent a couple years switching through various majors and ended up in journalism for a while.  I managed to even bag a couple awards for my writing.  Fortunately, I ended up being second in line for a journalism position, and when I didn’t get it, decided that I missed physics and should go back to school. One unexpected side effect of this detour in my education is that I got a lot of very valuable experience writing.  I didn’t realize it until much later, but a lot of science and engineering revolves around writing, and that background, as useless as it seemed at the time, has come in very handy. As an undergrad back in physics, I…

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Our very own Cherish has been scheming in the lab lately and came up with something really cool. If you haven’t heard about it, Cherish and two other researchers at North Dakota State University have developed a patent pending, thin RFID tag for metal objects. The main press release (i think) is here. You can read more about it here, here, and here. In a nutshell, RFID tags don’t work too well on metal objects because the metal object causes interference and signal loss. Previous methods to solve this problem required bulky objects to be placed outside of the metal object which could be easily damaged during transportation. Cherish’s RFID tag is only about 3 mm thick, which meets standards for these sorts of tags. First off, let me congratulate Cherish and her team for a job well done. Coming up with a workable, commercially viable solution to a problem…

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It seems like I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince others of my ideas. Or sometimes it’s my boss’s idea that I’m trying to get across to another department. One interesting thing I’ve found is that people are especially critical if your idea steps on their specialty. I’ll give you an example. A lot of folks where I work have pretty good machining experience. They’re very familiar with various finishes and also with welding specifications. If you’re presenting a machined part with some welds and a finish call out they will quiz you non stop on why you chose that material and that finish over any other. But they are a lot less familiar with various electric or electro-mechanical processes. In my mind the finish I chose for a machined part is just as obvious as what kind of shielding and sleeves I’m using to protect the wiring harness.…

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This is a guest post from Carmen Parisi of Fake EE Quips, a man of many hats. An engineer by day and blogger by night, he also considers himself an amateur connoisseur of craft beer, coffee, and toasted sandwiches. Recently, he moved down to Raleigh, NC and is experiencing his first winter sans snow. I’m the sort of person who will analyze–and possibly over analyze–damn near anything. I’m forever asking “Why?” and searching for answers. Whether I’m discussing traffic patterns on my way to work, a circuit problem, or pondering the cosmos, once I latch onto a subject I typically pursue it until I find an answer that satisfies my curiosity. My natural curiosity is something of a double edged-sword however; on one hand it doesn’t take much to entertain me and I feel I’m well rounded. On the other hand, I can get stuck on a topic and become “that guy” at a party…

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When I was a kid, I used to take things apart to see if I could figure out how they worked.  I realize I’m probably like every other engineer in that regard, but I was also one of those who failed to put things back together many times.  I suspect I may have been more successful with time, but my parents put the kabosh on that particular behavior pretty quickly.  Thus, I was doomed from the get-go as an experimentalist. I learned to program when I was 9, and it turned out I was actually pretty good at it. Ironically, I never considered a career involving programming until college.  I had wanted to go into physics after having a great time in high school physics classes.  I love figuring things out, and that’s what physics was: non-stop problems that you had to figure out. It wasn’t until I enrolled in…

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We decided to try out another theme week at Engineer Blogs this coming week. And being an admin, I took the first slot! Bwahahaha. All others will only be a derivative of my brilliant musings! (nah, they’ll be much better) The question this week is: What keeps you motivated in engineering? Engineering is a lot of things. Engaging, challenging, frustrating, rewarding, time consuming, under appreciated and often occurs with lots of fits and starts. To be honest, some days engineering really sucks. Yup, a blog about engineering is the best place to swallow a dose of reality. Some days you will bang your head against the desk hard enough to make your forehead bleed. Some nights you’ll rest your head on that desk because you’re still at the office at 10 pm, trying to figure something out. So what keeps us going? Specifically, what keeps me going? I’ll leave the rest…

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As I’m still getting over a rather nasty cold, I’ve spent more time than usual poking aimlessly around the internet. One of the things I do on vacation or while sick is try and catch up on the various webcomics I like. Here are a few of my favorites that relate to science and/or engineering. Angela Melick is a Canadian sustainability engineer, and responsible for the beautiful and funny comic Wasted Talent. She covers many aspects of life as an engineering student/early career engineer with great humor, from getting your P.Eng certification to the personalities of engineers to excessive acronym usage. Being Canadian, there are also hockey jokes. Randall Munroe’s incredibly popular xkcd covers physics and computer science  with occasional engineering references (just one more…). While he’s now a professional webcomic artist, he used to work for NASA as a roboticist. The art is minimalist, instead relying on wit and humor. Be sure to read…

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You know the term “trickle down economy“, right? It’s a term attributed to supply side economics, both positively and negatively. Basically, it’s the idea that if you have top performers and give them beneficial tax treatment, the effects will ripple throughout the economy. I don’t care about the politics behind it, I care about the idea (and will, in fact, delete any and all political comments in the comments section). That the top performers (or in the case of the economy, earners) should in theory pass any benefit they receive to those less fortunate is what I’m focusing on. However, I have seen a similar effect, though abstracted, in the technology industry. Instead of earnings, imagine knowledge to be the currency. In place of “taxes”, the top tier workers will pay in “knowledge” to the world, which then should filter down to the masses. Everyone still with me? My basic…

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