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 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.
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 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 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.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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