Course Overview

COVID-19 Instructions for ECE 445 Senior Design

We require everyone who uses the 445 lab in ECEB to adhere to the following lab policies regarding COVID-19.

  • You must wear a mask at all times while in the lab.
  • You must clean and disinfect your workstation when you are finished with it.
  • Welcome!

    Welcome to ECE 445! If you've looked at the course Calendar, you've probably already noticed that this class is quite different from most other classes in the department. The class only meets as a whole for the first few weeks of the semester. During these lectures you will meet the Course Staff, learn about specific assignments, requirements, and resources for the course, and have a chance to meet other students to share ideas and form teams. These are some of the most important weeks for the class since the decisions you make during this time will determine what you'll get out of this class and, in many ways, how much you'll enjoy it.

    Outside of lecture, you are expected to be working on your own to develop ideas and form teams. You are also expected to actively participate on the web board to exchange ideas, receive feedback from course staff, and eventually get your project idea approved. Once your team has a project approved, you will be assigned a TA, with whom you will have weekly meetings. Think of your TA as a project manager. Keep in mind that they are not there to do the work for you. Rather, they are there to keep you on track, point you towards resources (both within and outside of the department), and evaluate the result of your efforts.

    Expectations and Requirements

    We have high expectations for students participating in ECE 445. You are soon to be alumni of one of the top ECE departments of the world. Our alumni hold themselves to high technical and professional standards of conduct. In general, projects are expected to be safe, ethical, and have a level of design complexity commensurate with the rigor of the ECE Illinois curriculum. Requirements for specific assignments due throughout the semester can be found by looking through the Grading Scheme for the course. Please read through this documentation well before each assignment is due. Specific due dates can be found on the course Calendar.

    Below are a few words of wisdom to keep in mind throughout the semester to increase your enjoyment and success in the course:

    El Durazno Wind Turbine Project

    Alexander Hardiek, Saanil Joshi, Ganpath Karl

    El Durazno Wind Turbine Project

    Featured Project

    Partners: Alexander Hardiek (ahardi6), Saanil Joshi (stjoshi2), and Ganpath Karl (gkarl2)

    Project Description: We have decided to innovate a low cost wind turbine to help the villagers of El Durazno in Guatemala access water from mountains, based on the pitch of Prof. Ann Witmer.

    Problem: There is currently no water distribution system in place for the villagers to gain access to water. They have to travel my foot over larger distances on mountainous terrain to fetch water. For this reason, it would be better if water could be pumped to a containment tank closer to the village and hopefully distributed with the help of a gravity flow system.

    There is an electrical grid system present, however, it is too expensive for the villagers to use. Therefore, we need a cheap renewable energy solution to the problem. Solar energy is not possible as the mountain does not receive enough solar energy to power a motor. Wind energy is a good alternative as the wind speeds and high and since it is a mountain, there is no hindrance to the wind flow.

    Solution Overview: We are solving the power generation challenge created by a mismatch between the speed of the wind and the necessary rotational speed required to produce power by the turbine’s generator. We have access to several used car parts, allowing us to salvage or modify different induction motors and gears to make the system work.

    We have two approaches we are taking. One method is converting the induction motor to a generator by removing the need of an initial battery input and using the magnetic field created by the magnets. The other method is to rewire the stator so the motor can spin at the necessary rpm.

    Subsystems: Our system components are split into two categories: Mechanical and Electrical. All mechanical components came from a used Toyota car such as the wheel hub cap, serpentine belt, car body blade, wheel hub, torsion rod. These components help us covert wind energy into mechanical energy and are already built and ready. Meanwhile, the electrical components are available in the car such as the alternator (induction motor) and are designed by us such as the power electronics (AC/DC converters). We will use capacitors, diodes, relays, resistors and integrated circuits on our printed circuit boards to develop the power electronics. Our electrical components convert the mechanical energy in the turbine into electrical energy available to the residents.

    Criterion for success: Our project will be successful when we can successfully convert the available wind energy from our meteorological data into electricity at a low cost from reusable parts available to the residents of El Durazno. In the future, their residents will prototype several versions of our turbine to pump water from the mountains.