Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering

ENTC

Semester 3 - Laboratory Practice Project Demonstrations

Written by Dumindu Tissera.

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Demonstrations of the group projects of level two students of the Electronic & Telecommunication Engineering Department were successfully completed on the 12th August, 2015. This was conducted under the module EN2092 “Laboratory Practice 2” which is a mandatory module for semester 3. Students were first divided into groups of four members and the teams were assigned with one of the following five projects

  • Mixed Color Analyzer
  • System to Separate Black Grains in Dhal
  • Optical Transceiver
  • Solar Tracking System
  • Analog Line Following Robot

 

The specialty of these projects which was also the challenge to the students, was the fact that all of the projects were pure analog automated systems. The students were not allowed to use any means of digital systems or programmable micro-controllers or any other pre-implemented modules. This time students had to come up with the design and implementation of pure analog circuitry and logic which was quite difficult to achieve but also gave the students an opportunity to brighten their skills and knowledge.
For each project, a project instructor was appointed. Their
duty was to guide the students to achieve their goals and also to evaluate their progress and the final outcome as well. Instructors encouraged the students to concentrate on their projects from the beginning so that the students were able to complete their projects within the time allowed. Also the students were encouraged to work as a team, manage finance and other aspects and also to face the difficulties on their own and come up with the solutions. These were achieved by the meetings and discussions, Progress reports which were required to submit during the project and progress evaluations.
Almost every group had completed their projects and was able to meet the requirements specified. The demonstrations were evaluated by a panel consisting of senior lecturers and lecturers. The teams were evaluated based on the accuracy of the results, finish of the project, the extent to which the final outcome met the required specifications, team work, and individual contribution.

Dr. Jayathu Samarawickrama, a senior lecturer in the department of Electronic & Telecommunication was the module coordinator. Here are his thoughts:

Q: What is your opinion on having project bases evaluations as a part of the academic work? What is the importance 2of making the projects fully analog?

A: Most of the time our students try to use digital solutions. Therefore, our main aim is to improve their confidence in the analog electronic circuits and components, as most of the systems are equipped with analog front end circuits. Usually most of these project can be done with a simple microcontroller, which is very common these days. This encourages the students to learn analog electronics. We expect that students would explore how to select devices and components to solve real world problems, for example, opams, sensors, based on their specifications.

 

Q: We saw that you spent at least 15 minutes with each group (even more sometimes) to evaluate. Among the evaluators you were the one who took the longest time to evaluate students. Also, we saw that you evaluated the individual contribution thoroughly. What aspects did you take into account in your evaluations? How did you evaluate them?

 A: In order to have the projects improve year by year, we need thorough evaluations. The people who worked hard must be rewarded. That is why I spent more time with the students. I wanted to find who had worked hard and who hadn't. Moreover, I wanted to know whether they know their electronics. The projects' main aim is to give electronics exposure. However, in a project there is a mechanical part and an electronics part. I wanted to know who did what part and give more marks for the students who directly engaged with the electronic design. This, I hope, will make students in electronics department confident in electronics. If a student had actually participated in the electronic design and had an idea about what is happening in the electronics design, I gave more marks. They should know what components were used and how they were selected etc. Group work is another aspect of the project. If the project is functioning according to the specifications they, also got more marks.

 Q: Are you satisfied with the overall achievement of the s5tudents?

 A: Yes, I am satisfied. Most of the projects were excellent. Generally no circuit work at the first time. Many students learnt troubleshooting methods for the first time. That is what I expect from an electronic engineer. Overall they have done a good job and learnt a lot.

 Q: What are the suggestions for improvements?

 A: Comparing alternative approaches and selecting the optimum, making good PCBs, improving the final look-and-feel, have room for improvement. They are still semester 3 students. I am confident that they will improve themselves year by year.

 Q: What is your final message to the students and as well as to anyone who would read this?

A: Keep it up. This is just the starting point. You have to open your eyes and see the world and find out problems for which you can give an electronic solution. Sri Lanka has a lot of problems that we can solve ourselves. However, we do not see them. If you can keep up the good work, you can become successful entrepreneurs finally. You can sell your solutions here in Sri Lanka or internationally. I want all the students to have some interest to do practical projects and be entrepreneurs at the end of this course.

 

 

 

 

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 Dr. Jayathu Samarawickrama while evaluating projects

 

 

 Dhanuja Wanniarachchi, a student who engaged in the projects also shared his experience with us.

Q: What is your project? Can you give a brief introduction?

A: Ours was the analog line following robot. We had to implement a line following robot. You might think that what is so special in building a line follower. Specialty is that this is a pure analog robot. We were not allowed to use any micro-controllers or modules. With those, we would have made the robot within one day.

Q: What was your preparation? How did you manage yourselves as a team?

A: We didn't have any idea at the beginning. But we had experience in building digital line followers. Also from what we learnt under the electronics module, basically about Opamps, we thought that we would be able to go for our goal. We got together and had a lot of discussion. We planned the project stage by stage. First of all, we designed the main circuit and later we had to add some other parts also. We divided the work among us, prepared a time line and always tried to stick to the plan. Finally we succeeded.

Q: What are the challenges you faced? How did you manage to overcome them successfully?

A: We had to balance the project work with our academic work. Dividing the work among us helped a lot.3

We struggled with the implementing certain parts of the robot. The experience we had by doing projects last semester helped us a lot in that case. The biggest challenge we faced was that our robot wasn't functioning properly at the beginning. We had to do a lot of troubleshooting in order to make the project functioning properly. Instructors helped us in achieving these objectives.

Q: What did you learn? Was this effective for you?

A: Of course this was effective. We could learn a lot and obtain experience about so many things, how to design analog circuits, how to use electronic components practically, dealing with relevant tools and equipment, about accuracy and deviations of results, and troubleshooting. Also we experienced the advantage of team work and learnt a lot about how to work as a team, managing difficulties and about how to take a professional approach to a design and implementation problem.

Q: What do you have to say finally to your colleagues?

A: Although it was quite a challenge to implement analog systems there were so many things to learn. I felt that this is real electronic engineering, dealing with basic circuitry rather than going for easier steps such as the use of micro-controllers. I would like to make this as an opportunity to give a message to all the undergraduates that it will be much better if you can get involved in more projects like this, so that you would be able to graduate as real electronic engineers and as persons who can give simple solutions for real world problems. Finally, I would like to thank the lecturers and instructors for giving us this chance to improve ourselves.

 

 

 

Act of Gratitude – Classroom Renovation

Written by Sandamali Devadithya.

Giving back is a part of our culture. It is the tradition of the passed out graduates to give back to ENTC. Keeping along with the traditions, the ENTC 08 and ENTC 09 batches refurbished the two lecture rooms in the 3.5 mezzanine floor.

The two lecture rooms were not very friendly to hold lectures. The ceiling was broken at some points; there was no space to project the slides; no air conditioning. The rooms were used only as the last resort. They weren’t properly utilized.

Hence the 08 and 09 batches got together and refurbished the lecture rooms with the ongoing concept of living space. They have constructed the new ceiling with LED light fittings, put up roller blinds for the windows, repainted the walls and the door and brought new required furniture. In addition they have air conditioned both the lecture rooms. The passed out graduates spent over 1.2 Million rupees for the entire project.

The refurbished lecture rooms were handed back to the department on 2nd of July. The entire staff including the retired Prof (Mrs.) Dayawanse and the Chancellor Prof. K.K.Y.W. Perera visited the lecture rooms and everyone was happy with the new look.  

The lecture rooms now have a learning friendly atmosphere. We are proud of our graduates who have not forgotten us.  Thank you. 

 

  

Abhina 2015

Written by Anupama Mampage.

Once again ‘Abhina’ the the annual talent show of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, which gathered a myriad of talents, overflowing with rich music,drama and dancing was held with much glamour on the eve of the 18th of June 2015 at the Civil Auditorium. The auditorium was overflowing with the enthusiastic crowd anticipating an evening filled with the irresistible and quality entertainment that they once received exactly a year ago. And it is no exaggeration and I guess everyone would agree if I say that the ‘Abhina’ this time was even more powerful and strong in serving its purpose.

It was an enormous opportunity for the students to let out their talents flow freely to an amazingly large audience which was also a breakaway from all the tension and strains of competitive and hectic day to day lives. The chief guest for the event this time was Mr. Rodni Warnakulasooriya, a veteran and a gifted artist in the comedy industry who has created an undying name and won the hearts of many.

The evening wore off magically in the bliss of talented performers taking on the stage on after the other. The entire evening was filled with surprises, let it be the way an item was presented or a fascinating dance or a fun filled drama simply gluing the eyes of the spectators on to the stage for the whole of the few hours. It was a gallant mix of both humor and emotion in due proportions.

As it is always, this event is a result of the combined effort of all the batches currently in the department who have worked in unison day and night to put together such an awe filled evening. While the performers did their best on stage, there were many who worked behind the curtains to make this a success. One such huge commitment displayed in full view and thus admired heavily by everyone was the gigantic backdrop on stage, a creation of two extremely talented artists of the level 2 batch.

The huge pillar behind every ‘Abhina’ the much loved brother, known lovingly as ‘Haal ayya’ now in the immediate passed out batch too was honored at the event. If not for his initiation and inspiration throughout, ‘Abhina’ would never have seen the light of day to this date.

And thus concluded ‘Abhina’ 2015 a grand success and a truly enthralling few hours where there was not a moment of dullness proved by a mesmerized audience exactly as it was one year before.

E-Club AGM 2015

Written by Anupama Mampage.

The AGM of the Electronic club fort this year was held on the 8th of June 2015 at ENTC1 to plan forward the future of the club activities as well as to discuss last year achievements and also to appoint the new committee members for the year 2015/2016. Senior treasurer of the club,senior lecturer A.T.L.K Samarasinghe, Dr. Jayathu Samarawickrama and Dr.Ranga Rodrigo were also present to grace the occasion.

As per the formal proceedings the former President of the E-Club Pradeep Sanjeewa addressed the gathering cordially welcoming all those present to the event and also briefly outlining the session’s objectives, after which Nadee Senevirathne the former Secretary of the club presented the minutes of the previous AGM and the Annual report of the past year’s club activities. Then the Treasurer’s report was delivered by the past Junior Treasurer.

Last year witnessed the planning and implementation of many great projects targeting community welfare, awareness and educational programmes, sports activities, entertainment and many more. Some of the projects out of many more were, Tronic premier league, Sri Lanka Robotics Challenge, E-Care, Tronic Shuttle Fest and E-Forum.

Next in the agenda was to appoint the new committee members for the upcoming year. Following the procedure, Hasantha Malavipathirana was elected as the new President while Kasun Tharaka was nominated and seconded as the new Secretary for the club. All the other committee members too were appointed for the start of a fresh year form all the batches.

The event concluded with the former secretary Nadee Senevirathne congratulating the newly appointed members to the committee and sharing some words of much heeded advice for the new committee about to start a new journey.

Industry lecture series for Semester 3 students

Written by Sahani Goonetilleke.

A lecture series was conducted over a span of 5 days, from the 20th to the 24th of April 2015 with the collaboration of industry resource personnel from Millennium Information Technologies (MIT), Premium-UoM Research Lab and Zone 24x7 (PVT) Ltd, for the semester 3 undergraduates.

The daily schedule comprised of 4 sessions, namely;
• C++
• EDA Software and Microcontrollers
• EDA Software and Microcontrollers Laboratories
• ARM Linux for Embedded Systems

The transfer and incorporation of knowledge and knowhow of the professionals were intended in order to better understand and link industry requirements with the curriculum.

The topics covered included the following.

1. C++
     • Principles of Programming and Compilation
     • Programming Structures
     • Data types
     • Functions
     • Pointers and Dynamic Memory
     • Classes
     • Object Oriented Programming
     • Abstraction, Encapsulation, Inheritance, Polymorphism
2. EDA Software and Microcontrollers
     • Time and frequency domain analysis using OrCAD
     • Altium
     • Schematics and schematic libraries
     • Footprints
     • 3D models
     • Introduction to Microcontrollers
     • PIC programming using MikroC
     • Simulating using Proteus ISIS
     • I/O file handling
     • Multiplexing (Seven segment)

3. EDA Software and Microcontrollers Laboratories
     • PCB design using OrCAD
     • Altium
     • Footprints and footprint libraries
     • PCB routing
     • Gerber files
     • 3D visualization of PCB
     • MikroC PIC Programming
     • Proteus ISIS

4. ARM Linux for Embedded Systems
     • Introduction to embedded Linux
     • Overview of the development environment
     • Computer Architecture
     • Kernel
     • RTOS
     • Usage of development boards
     • Programming within development boards
A comprehensive coverage of C++ programming starting from the fundamentals was taught by a team from MIT comprising of:
     • Mr. Ishan de Silva, Head of Engineering
     • Mr. Lilan Priyashantha, Software Architect
     • Mr. Tharinda Lunuwila
     • Mr. Rasika Withanawasam, Software Architect
     • Mr. Dharmawardhana, Tech Lead
     • Mr. Saliya Hamparawa, Software Engineer
     • Mr. Shanaka

EDA Software and Microcontrollers lectures and interactive laboratory sessions were conducted by Mr. Thilina Ambagahawatta, from Premium Lab and this facilitated hands on learning experience of a wide range of interconnected software.

ARM Linux Embedded Systems module constituted of lectures and demonstrations conducted by Zone 24x7 professionals:
     • Mr. Duleeka Gunathilaka, Tech Lead Embedded Systems
     • Mr. Thilina Yapa Bandara
Various applications of embedded systems and coding of drivers were demonstrated. Udoo was one of the example presented.

C++ module was compulsory while the other 3 were optional. The programme was intended to nurture the minds of the participants to further develop with the correct foundation, tools and guidance.