Getting Parts for Your Project

Steps for obtaining parts

As soon as you know which parts you'll need for your design, it's a good idea to start acquiring them. There are several methods that varying widely in cost and waiting time. The primary methods are listed below, most desirable first.

Note: Each group has a budget of around $40 for parts and resources that may be charged to the ECE 445 course account. If small parts are needed, it is strongly encouraged that you just buy it yourself. Since there is no required textbook for the course, we figure the small monetary payout is more than offset by the savings in time and hassle for your group. Also, if you intend to keep your project when you're finished, we ask that you purchase the parts yourself.

Checkout Hardware from ECE 445

The Srivastava Senior Design Lab has a wide variety of hardware available for use in projects, including microcontrollers, DSP boards, LINX RF transmitters and receivers, GPS units, webcams and more. These things can all be checked out from you TA for use on your project. Please note that parts that you checkout from the lab must be returned by the end of the semester or your student account will be charged.

Please see the working inventory of all components available for checkout in the lab. This inventory is as inclusive as possible but there may be additional items around the lab - feel free to look around but items must be checked out through a TA.

MY.ECE

Parts may be special ordered from a number of companies available through your my.ece web page parts order form. This option requires TA approval before the order is processed. Once you've placed the order, email your TA to let them know there is an order waiting for their approval so that your order can be processed as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the order may be delayed! Since many part orders are usually placed with common vendors like Digi-key, these orders may be grouped into bulk orders placed on Wednesday and Friday.

Parts ordered through this method will be delivered to the ECE Supply Center.

ECE Supply Center

An alternative option is to have the parts ordered from the ECE Supply Center (located in 1031 ECEB). For this option, you will need to fill out an ECE Supply Center Ordering Form and have your TA sign it. Alternatively, you can charge the parts to your student ID if you need to pay for them yourself.

Free Samples from Companies

It should be mentioned that companies many times are willing to provide small quantities of their products to students engaged in design projects. You might consider approaching the manufacturer directly, particularly regarding their newer products which they are interested in promoting. Don't count on success with this, but it has often been very useful.

Personal Purchases

It is always possible and encouraged to purchase your own parts from a local store (Radio Shack, Best Buy, etc.) or order them from online vendors. Subject to prior approval from your TA, reimbursements can be made. The Department will need the original copy of your itemized store receipt or invoice in order to make the refund. Purchases made without prior approval will not be refunded, in any case.

The Business Office (last resort)

If all of these methods fail, your order will need to go through the ECE Business Office with the help of your TA.

Cloud-controlled quadcopter

Anuraag Vankayala, Amrutha Vasili

Cloud-controlled quadcopter

Featured Project

Idea:

To build a GPS-assisted, cloud-controlled quadcopter, for consumer-friendly aerial photography.

Design/Build:

We will be building a quad from the frame up. The four motors will each have electronic speed controllers,to balance and handle control inputs received from an 8-bit microcontroller(AP),required for its flight. The firmware will be tweaked slightly to allow flight modes that our project specifically requires. A companion computer such as the Erle Brain will be connected to the AP and to the cloud(EC2). We will build a codebase for the flight controller to navigate the quad. This would involve sending messages as per the MAVLink spec for sUAS between the companion computer and the AP to poll sensor data , voltage information , etc. The companion computer will also talk to the cloud via a UDP port to receive requests and process them via our code. Users make requests for media capture via a phone app that talks to the cloud via an internet connection.

Why is it worth doing:

There is currently no consumer-friendly solution that provides or lets anyone capture aerial photographs of them/their family/a nearby event via a simple tap on a phone. In fact, present day off-the-shelf alternatives offer relatively expensive solutions that require owning and carrying bulky equipment such as the quads/remotes. Our idea allows for safe and responsible use of drones as our proposed solution is autonomous, has several safety features, is context aware(terrain information , no fly zones , NOTAMs , etc.) and integrates with the federal airspace seamlessly.

End Product:

Quads that are ready for the connected world and are capable to fly autonomously, from the user standpoint, and can perform maneuvers safely with a very simplistic UI for the common user. Specifically, quads which are deployed on user's demand, without the hassle of ownership.

Similar products and comparison:

Current solutions include RTF (ready to fly) quads such as the DJI Phantom and the Kickstarter project, Lily,that are heavily user-dependent or user-centric.The Phantom requires you to carry a bulky remote with multiple antennas. Moreover,the flight radius could be reduced by interference from nearby conditions.Lily requires the user to carry a tracking device on them. You can not have Lily shoot a subject that is not you. Lily can have a maximum altitude of 15 m above you and that is below the tree line,prone to crashes.

Our solution differs in several ways.Our solution intends to be location and/or event-centric. We propose that the users need not own quads and user can capture a moment with a phone.As long as any of the users are in the service area and the weather conditions are permissible, safety and knowledge of controlling the quad are all abstracted. The only question left to the user is what should be in the picture at a given time.

Project Videos