Finals Finally Final

Today at 12:30 I finished my last final exam for my BS EE. Now I wait to see what grades will come back. There is a good chance of two As and a C, but we'll see. I have some grading of my own to do for the course I assisted.

What is curious is that I feel neither joy nor satisfaction at having completed everything. Rather I just feel exhausted from the stress of finals now in the past.

My girl and I celebrated at the Indianapolis Rock Bottom Brewery with some fellow engineering students, recent or current graduates. The bison burger was tasty!

On December 22, 2016, the last grade was submitted to the registrar, with the following results:

  1. ECE 321: Electromechanical Motion Devices, B
  2. ECE 421: Advanced Digital Logic Design, A
  3. ECE 463: Introduction to Computer Communications Networks, A

Now I wait for someone to sign off that my degree is indeed complete. My program GPA wound up 3.612, but my degree GPA was 3.803.

BBEdit Citation

Yesterday I updated my copy of BBEdit, a Mac-only text editor from Bare Bones Software that I have been using for over a decade. I never got far with the program during my English-teaching career, but this semester the program was particularly useful to me in writing Python code for the final project in ECE 463.

After installing the update, I opened the About… window and scrolled down to find a familiar name. I cannot recall what I might have done to get on the list, or whether that is coincidentally someone with the same name, but there I am:

Final Semester

The first week of classes has ended, with both relief and repudiation. Since returning from my internship in Arizona, there has been much to do here in Indiana. I have also spent three days taking a Japanese friend to a doctor for a dangerous eye infection. My 2011 Honda Fit has all-electrical steering, no hydraulics, that has begun failing briefly and intermittently, so that is in the shop to be examined.

In addition to doing a final section of the assembly programming lab for ECE 362, I have three electives:

  1. ECE 321: Electromechanical Motion Devices about motors, generators, magnets, inductors, and such.
  2. ECE 463: Fundamentals of Computer Communications about networking, which looks to be quite interesting.
  3. ECE 421: Advanced Digital Logic Design, a VHDL course that requires much work with Xilinx' Vivado.

Spring 2015 Courses

My next term's classes are decided:

I will take my last transferable course at Ivy Tech: ENGR 297, which is an 8-week Matlab course. I've already done half the coursework on my own.

Everything else will be at IUPUI: a probability course, ECE 302; a further signals course, ECE 382; and a circuits course with lab, ECE 255 & 208.

All are required courses. Both 382 and 255/208 are spring-only courses that I will be glad to complete. All my courses should be interesting and challenging.

Fall 2014 Term Completed

The fall 2014 semester is over. I had three finals: two on Thursday, one on Friday. I had been regularly checking for official grades, but for days only my t'ai ch'i course grade was up. Here's how things shook out:

  • HPER 148: T'ai Ch'i Ch'uan, 1 cr. A+
  • ECE 200: Engineering Coop, 1 cr., S
  • ECE 301: Signals & Systems, 3 cr., A
  • ECE 362: Microprocessor Systems & Interfaces, 4 cr., A+
  • ECE 311: Electric & Magnetic Fields, 3 cr., A

The three three-hundred-level courses were tough. The E&M course is widely considered the second-hardest class for electrical engineering; I invested plenty of hours in the course each week to be able to walk into the final with 95%. For the microcontrollers course, we learned to write assembly code for the Motorola HC12. That course's final project consumed the Thanksgiving break of my partner, Nathan Wheeler, and I. Eventually I will provide a short video of our "home automation system."

Not five minutes after writing this, buddy Nathan wrote that grades were up, so I updated everything. Despite concluding a 3.5-year divorce, without children, and taking three demanding courses, I think I did OK.


The other day I found that a fellow ECE 362 student lived in Tokushima, Japan, in 1990. His father was there on sabbatical at Tokushima University's medical school. Since my classmate was only 11, his memory is not the freshest but there were places we both knew: I lived there from October 1999 to March 2006. It was my favorite place to live and work in Japan.


Final Project's Stepper and DC Motors Done

Yesterday, after much gnashing of teeth, I finally figured out how to make our evaluation board's DC motor speed up and down gradually when changing between high and low speeds. The number of hours I put into that is embarrassing, but it is now accomplished.

That follows on the heels of a solid eight hours sunk into getting the board's stepper motor to turn clockwise or counterclockwise (or not at all) in gradually changing speeds depending on switch configuration and the direction of temperatures (current and desired) in a given room; for example, if a room's desired temperature is below the current one but the switches for heating are thrown, the motor should be in neutral, not spinning to alter the temperature in the wrong direction.

No ECE 359

For my coming spring term, I had expected to enroll in an elective course: ECE 359, "C and Data Structures." The instructor was rumored to be someone from whom I wanted to study. Yet today I found the course has been canceled, which complicates my schedule, since the lab course I will take has a recitation section that makes any other choice almost impossible.

It turns out to be a potentially larger complication than expected. Because of a time conflict between ECE 302 and the recitation (graduate-student-led Q&A) section for 255/208, I need special permission to register due to that conflict; however, I also need special permission to register for 302 regardless. The result of this bureaucratic snafu is I had to drop 255/208 to register for 302, after which the department will register me for 255/208. My concern is that I have fallen to the back of the queue and will be unable to register for one or both classes.

That is why I am planning to register for a PLC programming course at Ivy Tech, just in case things don't work out at IUPUI.

Half a Day

Yesterday I was in the computer lab for 12 hours: 2pm to 2am. My course's final project is, for my partner and I, home automation in which we program the evaluation board to have an interactive menu, run motors to represent climate control, play music for alarms, and other things.

My parts follow:

  1. LEDs: when in Menu mode, light LED showing the room you're in. When adjusting that room's 8 lights, light the ones that are lit by flipping switches.
  2. Switches: When not in Menu mode, certain switches determine whether a room's heat, AC, or nothing is turned on. They also read whether the fan is high or low. This is monitored for all 8 rooms.
  3. IRQ: Push special button for IRQ that randomly picks a room, flashes LEDs, and plays alarm.
  4. Stepper motor: Turns clockwise for heat, counterclockwise for AC. The speed should be higher the farther apart actual and desired temperatures are for each room.
  5. DC motor: Again, gradual speed up/down for temperature control.

Apparently I have completed the first two: They work just fine when stepped through in the debugger.

Last night I began working on the stepper motor and tried to get it to work at its most basic level. I could step through the motor portion of my code and correctly read the current room's climate control settings, though ignoring temperature for now. Every X number of interrupts, the program reads motor directions and passes them to the motor; the motor turns incrementally. However, when I run it in real time, the motor does not turn, which casts my previous stuff in doubt.