I recently took a trip to Chicago to spend some time with engineers at Littelfuse and to delve deep into the world of circuit protection. But along the way, I found out just what it was that made Littelfuse engineers tick, and how blowing stuff up is just one of the many perks of the job.
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Readers, what do you love most about your job? What makes your eyes light up at work? And what made you become an engineer to begin with? Let us know in the comment section below.
I like finding simple solutions to complex problems, whether it be a circuit with a handful of components or a fragment of code that only requires a few lines. As Engineers we tend to over-design so I really love it when a simple solution can be found.
Yes, Chuck, that is a great headline. Also, the story gives insight into the work lives of young engineers. It's a new generation of engineers were seeing now. They grew up on video games. They have been around personal computers since they were todlers.
You got the key to solving complex problems Tekochip. I totally agree with simple solutions. I've seen so many times engineers trying to do fancy and complex just to make a mess. More times than not simple works best.
I have the opportunity to manufacture product that is used by emergency crews when they need to help people. It is a great feeling to see a firefighter using one of your chainsaws to help people in need.
I agree William L Weaver, it was the manned space program, specifically Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walking on the moon that made me want to be an engineer. I was 5 in July 1969, and I caught the Apollo bug bad. I knew that we could send men to the moon, then we could do anything.
I worked on the battery charger for the Peacekeeper missle in Minuteman silo. There are two battery systems; megga lead acid traction batteries and lithium primaries. The battery charger had .1 farad capictor which required discharge in 30 sec to less that 30 V and the circuit had to be redundant. If the drawer is pulled out for maintenance the caps are discharged so as to not shock and possibly kill someone. In the lab we are doing reseach to make sure we have met all the specs. We have a device to defeat the micro switch that completes the circuit when the drawer is pulled out. We installed the ciruit and defeat test aid. I left for the weekend knowing there would be testing. So the last words to the other engineer and tech was Don't forget the interlock defeat. I got in Monday morning and did I ever hear about it. They forgot. The four wire wound resisters blew like dynamite. There was white powder over everything from the ceramic core. And the wire sprange out of each of the Al houseings of the resisters. No one forgot after that.
The propeller on my hat spins from the enjoyment of adding value to society by solving problems; applying physical laws, mathematics and hard-won experience to design and predict the behavior of a system. It's really gratifying to implement concepts into a functioning device, and even more gratifying to see the product released out into the market.
Great post Sylvie. Early one spring day my dad came home with a new lawn mower. I was about 11 or 12 years old and very interested in just how things worked. How every thing worked. The very next day he went to work leaving me with "exhibit A". Well, I decided closer inspection was needed so I started taking the mower apart. (So many pieces!!!!!) My thoughts were, it should be easier to put it back together than take apart. I remember making notes and sketches as I carefully laid out the pieces one by one. Five o'clock came with some progress but not really enough to satisfy my dad when he came home. I remember him telling my mom, "that boy can break an anvil". The following Saturday we moved the "debris" to a mower repair shop. James Hudson, was the owner. He was very patient as he demonstrated how the parts neatly went back together and what function they all played in the actual working of the machine. That interest has never waned. I love to spend time in the lab and love to design work cells and robotic equipment that actually provide value-added to their owner. NASA and the "original seven" certainly added "fuel to the fire" and influenced me to get serious about becoming an engineer.
Sylvie, nice article. I like the idea of blowing up things. I designed high voltage circuits for several years and loved it!! I've even designed fuze circuits but never got an opportunity to blow anything up. Work not nearly as exciting now that I do systems engineering.
I never had the guts to take my Dad's riding mower, but I did repeatedly take my bike apart. I particularly liked to disassemble the coaster brake mechanism which is difficult to reassemble and he would have to help me get it back together. It got to the point that he hid all of the 9/16" wrenches to stop me. He knew I was going to be an engineer before I did.
As a kid, I would watch adults or older kids fix or reassemble things. I was always fascinated when there were "parts left over". It didn't make any sense to me.
What I love most about what I do (it's more than a job for me) is making sure that all of the parts fit and are easily understandable. Connecting the dots, and showing how macro trends effect everyday life is so much fun.
Personally, when I can't find what I need in the market, being able to make it myself (and usually give the idea to a colleague) is the MOST fun! Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
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