How to work on your project? (Mumbai University)

*Disclaimer. Whatever written below is strictly my opinion. This is my advice, follow at your own risk. Different environments and grading patters exist in various colleges, I have written this based on my college and its environment. This may not apply to you or may not be the case in your college. I am not to blame.

Hey my fabulous peeps,

So I have been getting a couple(well, 3) emails requesting me to write more about projects, placements, studying in Mumbai university, stuff like that.

I’ve decided to start off with “How do you go about working on your project?”

I am in my final year Electronics at Mumbai University. My first project was in my second year, semester 4. I had absolutely no clue on how to go about it. Diploma students who came in were experienced and knew exactly what to do. We were 3 in a group, and my group mates were students who completed their diploma.

Now you study in a college affiliated to the University of Mumbai, and if your branch is ELEX or EXTC, you have come to the right place.

Second year:

So You’re new to projects and you probably have no clue, just like me, when I was in second year, of course. We had to make 2 projects, 1 analog and 1 digital.

In your second year, you are basically supposed to learn how to make a PCB, mount the components, solder them and learn the basics.

  1. Since, you are clueless, I would suggest buying a kit. they are priced at around 200 rupees. Buying a kit, gives you a base. “Vegakit” is excellent, You can get them at Lamington road, Grant Road (East). You go into the shop, they give you a booklet with topics and you can choose a kit. Make sure no one has taken the topic by discussion among your friends. Or view the project topics, decide on a couple and ask your teacher. Confirm and then come back and buy a kit. You may think that you want to do it all by yourself, it’s great. But you would waste time in searching for a topic, finding a circuit diagram, wondering if the components you have are available, wondering if you can actually do it, and half the circuits don’t work. The advantage of buying a kit, is that you are learning slowly and you will get a base.With the kit, you will get all the components required, circuit diagram and PCB layout. You will have to copy the PCB layout on your PCB board.
  2. After you buy your kit, study it. Study/understand the components, circuit, PCB layout.
  3. Now it’s time to work on it. Refer to this post to find out how to draw the path, etch and drill.
  4. The Continuity test. It sounds so ‘hi-fi’ right? Maybe. It did to me. My group mates used to say “We have to do the continuity test.” I was clueless. It’s really simple. All you do is use your multimeter. Turn it’s arrow to the sound symbol. On your copper path, where there should be a connection, place the red and black multimeter  points on that path. If you hear a sound, it means there is a connection, if you don’t, it means there is no connection (path is broken, or discontinuous). If you want a certain path to be connected, and but it’s not, your circuit will not work, so you should check. Sometimes, there shouldn’t be a connection, but due to etching, there might be an unwanted connection. You must remove the unwanted connection by scrapping off the connection.   Multimeter
  5. After you’re done with the continuity test, mount the components and solder.
  6. After soldering, do the continuity test again, just to make sure the components are connected and that current will flow.
  7. Check the output. Hopefully it works, if it doesn’t, see what you did wrong, and try to correct it asking your seniors, or use Quora, youTube etc
  8. Prepare your report, and you’re done!

Don’t fret if you don’t the desired output. As long as you are confident and know how you’ve made your circuit, you should be fine. Learn the specifications of all the components. Current specifications, voltage specifications etc.

Third Year.

So you know how to etch, drill, mount, solder.

Since you did buy a kit last time, don’t buy one this time. Do it all by yourself, because you know how to.

  1. Make a plan. Give you and your group to find various topics in one week. Discuss those topics for another week and decide on a topic. After deciding, talk to your seniors or teachers about your topic. They will tell you if it’s way to easy or difficult. They might have done a similar topic and they might help you. Be flexible. If you get negative feedback, think of another topic.
  2. Once you have your topic and you’ve got it approved , find the circuit diagram you will use. There are so many circuit diagrams for one topic. Half of them don’t work and are wrong. You will have to choose a circuit diagram. Hopefully it works.
  3. Check if all the components are available.
  4. Buy the components(Lamington road is the best place in Mumbai).
  5. Make the Layout. This is new. This is what you have to study this project. Use Eagle CAD. But you dont know how? Ask your senior? No! Use the tutorials. No one is going to teach you. You must learn on your own. Use the free tutorails, read. You will eventually find it very easy. If you have doubts, ask someone who is well versed with the software you are using. If you don’t know someone, use Quora, You Tube, Google. Solve it by yourself.
  6. After you have your layout, its just the same as your last project. Etch, drill, mount, solder. You will want to upgrade. Use solder flux and try to solder your components perfectly. Try using a syringe to make a thin path. You might not want to draw a path. Do refer to this link. You might want to print the layout, xerox on a clear paper and then iron the path on your PCB.  PCB trackMy classmate, Hitesh, used “Laser printing” and made this PCB. He iron’ed the track onto the board.Try to think of ways to make your project compact.
  7. Prepare the report and submit!

It would be great if you get your desired output. You are in your third year. You should be getting the desired output. But don’t fret too much even if you don’t. Highlight the up gradations you made from your previous projects. Tell the external why you think your project went wrong and what you learnt out of it. Final year is  when the output matters the most.

Final Year.

It’s going to be very hectic. You might be preparing for post graduation or placements. They take up a lot of time believe me. You need to save time, and make the project work.

But it’s mostly what you did in your third year, except, a bigger project.

I would suggest outsourcing it if you are looking for post graduation. You will have to prepare for placements too. Solve Aptitude tests, read about interviews, update yourself on news, study the final year subjects, you will be stressed. I was.

I didn’t outsource it. I wanted to. My group mates wanted to learn as they probably didn’t study in their second and third years. But, its okay. I got to learn.

We have a stepper motor in our project.While buying components, you need to specify the motor. How do I know what to say to the seller? What RPM does a stepper motor run at? Do I need to even specify the RPM as a stepper motor is not continuous and has step angle? Should I specify the step angle only? How many wires are there in a stepper motor? What are the types? Which driver should I use? Why Should I use that driver? Is it bi polar or uni polar? What shop will I get my stepper motor at?

Do you see how tough it is buying some components? You need to get all your research done. It’s time consuming. And it is not easy. If your group has people in it that want to do it their self in their final year, make sure they are very enthusiastic about it and they are willing to spend their time and learn. Make sure they are action oriented and not just speech oriented. Make sure that they actually are wanting to learn.

Few Handy Tips:

  1. Use a single strand wire(Bottom extreme left). Even though the multiple strand wires are pretty and come in a wide variety colors, they break often and are tough to use. Wire
  2. Use solder flux.

I will write more tips as I remember.

Hope this post helped you!

Please share, comment, subscribe.

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