HET225 (Electrical Machines) and HET228 (Electrical Actuators and Sensors) Notes

I’m doing Electrical Actuators and Sensors again this semester after very sensibly deciding to fail last time.

As the lecturer has been saying that he’ll try to put something up on blackboard for at least 3 years I don’t hold a lot of hope. As a result I am publishing the notes that I take in class so that any students who miss a class for whatever reason can catch up.

I should add that I’m a much better student now than I was 3 years ago when I failed. My notes will be accurate to what is on the board and also contain annotations from what is said in class πŸ™‚

You can find these notes by clicking on the HET225 & HET228 Notes tab.Β  I will try to stay as up to date as possible.

A New Direction In Life

IBL has taught me many things, most importantly that I’m kinda heading in the wrong direction with all of this automotive engineering stuff. I love cars but its just not my thing. So, in an attempt to figure out what is ‘my thing’, I sat down and had a little think about what I’m good at, what I enjoy, what I’m interested in and suchlike. The upshot of all this is that I’ve decided to take a slightly different direction to my original intended one.

During my pondering I noted that almost without exception my best marks every Semester have been in my software subjects. I also noted that I really like programming. Programming is one of the few things that I can just sit down and do. My ADD seems to go into hiding as soon as I get into the swing of a bit of coding. So at this point I’m thinking ‘aha, perhaps something relating to software could be a good plan.’

I then considered what I’m interested in and, looking back on all the information I used to devour I realise that neurobiology seems to be more heavily represented in my bookcase than any other subject. I’ve also always been fascinated by automation. Not boring manufacturing style automation but proper intelligent automation, like cars that drive themselves for example.

By now you can probably see where I’m going with this. I have decided that after I finish my Bachelor degree I will do a Master of Software Systems Engineering specialising in AI. I do of course recognise that I may not be able to work in AI straight away which is fine because everything I’m doing up to and including the Masters degree will give me enough generic programming skills to get me by for a bit. In the mean time I shall try my hand at programming little web apps and suchlike. Got to do something with all the spare time that my remaining years at uni will provide.

Uni Marks

I am feeling rather justifiably smug (or at least I think so) today.

Machine Design (learn all about cogs, and gears, and levers etc) – 77% (Distinction)
Machine Dynamics 2 (force analysis of moving things) – 99%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (High Distinction)
Control and Automation (do some silly maths to figure out how to control stuff) – 65% (Credit)
Object-Oriented Programming in C++ (self-explanatory) – 85% (High Distinction)

Woot!!!

Apparently studying really does pay off πŸ™‚

Exams, IBL, Costumes and Snow

Three of my four exams are over so I’m in a fairly good mood. The exam period has been pretty up and down. The first exam was fantastic and I’m pretty sure I got an HD, the second was Satan in exam form and if they don’t normalise the marks the entire course will fail, and the third was pretty good although a bit long so I rushed through a couple of questions. That said at least I finished it. Most didn’t. All I have left is a nice, friendly, open-book programming exam. Piece of cake πŸ™‚

In other news I got the IBL position I was after. They offered me the job right there in the interview. Didn’t even have to sweat it out waiting to find out whether I was in. I’m going to be starting in a couple of weeks so soon I’ll be a very busy girl.

I’ve been thinking about costumes lately (I know what you’re thinking Cam and I have a perfectly good excuse – I’m going to a fancy dress party) and the real question is: would I make a better Sailor Moon, or French Maid. I already have access to the Sailor Moon costume although I’d need to hunt down a blond wig, and I’d need to get a French Maid outfit if I went for that but my hair won’t be an issue. Choices, choices. I guess I could also probably russle up a pretty good Catwoman outfit if I really wanted but I don’t really think its my style.

I’m going to be away in Bright for the long weekend so if anyone wants to contact me they’ll have to do it by phone because I won’t have internet access. I should have lots of spare time trying to avoid all the wives whilst the boys are gallivanting about the countryside on dirtbikes so I’ll probably do a bit of photography while I’m there. Last year I took some pretty cool shots of a frozen lake but it was with a 2 mega-pixie cameraphone so they were all a bit on the grainy side.

The Story So Far…

I’m in a good mood with myself. As predicted, I all but finished my programming assignment tonight. All I have left is final commenting, UML diagram and cleanup etc. I also finished my cam design assignment which I find amusing even if no one else does. Particularly the bit where we have to constrain the jerk… actually that bit had the entire lecture in hysterics.

Lecturer: (and you have to imagine this with a really thick Indian accent)”…and then we have infinite jerking and that is unacceptable” puzzled look as everyone in the lecture theatre snorts their red-bull out their nose
Smartarse: “when is jerking a problem”
Lecturer: “on the next page”
Class: erupts in hysterics again. Eventually recovers until…
Lecturer: “what is so funny?”


On a completely different note I think my caffeine addiction has come to an ugly head. The other day I actually woke up with a caffeine withdrawal headache… at 7am… is that bad?

…And Everything Went Click

On Sunday night I was in a fairly bad mood. I’d just spent the entire weekend thinking about my programming assignment, reading the textbook and desperately trying to figure out what to do and I still didn’t have a clue. But then on Monday, everything went click and suddenly it all made a whole lot of sense. So, last night I worked through all the hairy stuff and now all I need to do is finalize the user interface and it should all be more or less done by the time I go to bed. Isn’t life great when you know what’s going on?

Anyway the semester is drawing to a close. By this time next week I’ll have finished my first exam and things are looking pretty good at the moment. I feel more prepared for exams than I’ve ever been and I’m hoping to clean up with straight distinctions. Can’t guarantee it but it’s certainly looking like a possibility. Still no word from IBL but Peter got a message last night which he needs to chase up. Hopefully I’ll hear something this week. Otherwise I’ll start to get worried.

The joy of bug killing

I am very happy to inform everyone that I have finally killed a really particularly annoying bug that was killing my programming assignment.

It was one of those bugs that turns up and bothers you just when you’re starting to feel really pleased with yourself, and the stellar job you’ve done on the program so far. This particular bug decided to jump out at me and ruin my day just as I added the finishing touch to the assignment. The problem was the deceptively simple requirement that the program should have a nice little ‘Would you like to enter another route (Y/N)’ at the end. Yes ladies and gentlemen, all this particular part of the program had to do was ask for an input and start over if you indicated Y.

The problem lay in the fact that whilst the program ran through fine the first time it would skip the first input the second time around if you selected ‘Y’ (it exited fine if ‘N’). I was, of course, programming in C++ and I fixed the problem by replacing cin.getline(restart, 2) with cin.getline(restart, 2, ‘n’) which (correct me if I’m wrong) is strictly speaking THE SAME THING!!! Anyway, problem solved, no suddenly empty inputs, program no longer chucking a skitz and crashing. Hooray!

To those who don’t program I can’t express to you how annoying it is to get to the end of a project and then have something really stupidly simple screw you up. Its sort of like winning a marathon only to be disqualified because you forgot how to walk when it came to the receiving your accolades bit. So having proven that walking is the same as running only slower I have fixed my problem and vastly improved my mood.

More importantly I have discovered that ‘Mark Leung’s Crazy Computer Bug’ makes a surprisingly accurate reenactment of those bugs that sneak up on you when you least expect it… Only its never made me want to throw my computer out the window or cry.