Tag Archives: electrical engineering

You never quite know when a new idea is going to hit you and you certainly don’t know its impact on a design. Some people spend weeks looking for the perfect design and even longer converting it into a working design. Sometimes, however, a miracle design idea can be found and proven in a working day. This is one of them. While working with a number of other engineers on a lighting ballast design,  we had come up with the idea of driving a street lamp with a constant current and effectively drive in a square wave signal. Existing designs had sine wave signals but could not control the lamp power very well – constant current was the key. This is because the lamp acts a bit like a 100volt zener and parallel inductor that holds no energy. The alternating constant current proved very effective as we could control and…

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This post is by Mike Barr, a guest author at Engineer Blogs and a regular contributor to Netrino.com and Embedded Gurus I don’t really know why I studied Electrical Engineering in college.  I’m not even sure why I chose engineering generally–except that my father and his father had both been (mechanical) engineers. Unlike the majority of engineers I’ve met in my career, the only thing I’d done prior to college that resembled engineering was a bit of BASIC programming on an Apple ][e. I am not a tinkerer by nature. So it should not be too surprising that I reconsidered my choice of EE major about halfway through college. I had been working in a student computer lab and taking some elective Computer Science courses and thus contemplated a switch to CS. But I didn’t want to add semesters to my academic career or the bill, so ultimately decided to…

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That’s the question I found myself asking my father during my last year of high school. I was good in math and physics and it seemed that would be my fate in university — a pure math or physics degree. But when my dad suggested that I go into engineering, I had had only the vaguest notions of what it was. Engineers build things, he tells me. That’s great! I wanted to build a spaceship! I also found out something new about my father — he’s an engineer! Heck, I just thought he oversaw the building of container ships. I didn’t know they had a name for such people! Later on, I would see my dad work as a contractor for the U.S. Navy in Norfolk, Vriginia, setting foot on the most advanced naval warships and aircraft carriers in the world. Cool stuff, I thought. You see, that’s what I…

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We’ve decided to occasionally focus a series of posts on themes.  You probably noticed that we did this a couple weeks ago when discussing engineering salaries.  This week, we’re going to discuss how we each got into engineering. I am guessing that, unlike my fellow bloggers, I got into engineering by accident.  That is, I never had any intent to become an engineer, but things worked out that way. I did my undergraduate studies in physics with minors in math and geology, intending to go into computational geophysics after I finished.  While I was going to school, I met my husband, who was doing his PhD in electrical engineering.  All was well and good until I finished my bachelor’s degree, and he was just starting on his dissertation. Things might have worked out fine, except the closest school with a geophysics doctoral program is four hours away, and I was…

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If there’s anything I’ve gained from corporate America it’s realism and bitterness in abundance. Chris just wrote an excellent post on the expectations for starting salaries in electrical engineering. His curve for how an engineer’s salary might start out comparitively high but then flatten out over time is spot on. Chris gives some good numbers that are fairly reasonable for a mechanical engineer as well. Back before this recession the average graduate with a BS from my institution (which ranks fairly well, but not in the top 10 or anything crazy) was about 55k. Most of these graduates would be taking jobs in high cost metropolitan areas so this might run a bit high compared to other places. And there are several great comments on the post. An old engineer discusses the importance of training in the latest technology and how companies often try to squeeze employees out if they…

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