Building and Writing. We Are Engineers AND Authors. -Julie Tapia, Dream Designers

Cutting wood to build the Airstream furniture.

Cutting wood to build the Airstream furniture.

Hello again everyone! It has been sooooooo long since I’ve talked to you all. Two days, to be exact.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, Milestone #3 consists of completing the Airstream by dividing the work among the engineering students and, of course, conquering. Milestone #3 also includes the completion of an eBook. This eBook will have 16 chapters; 8 of them will have Project VENTURA content, while the other 8 will have engineering content associated with the project. For example, one of the chapters is “DC and AC electrical systems in our Airstream” and its complementary chapter is “electrical systems”. Each design team has been assigned a Project VENTURA content chapter and an engineering content chapter. Dream Designers will be writing the “Making models” chapter and the “Fluid power systems and Control systems” chapter. My group further divided the workload among ourselves. Gaby is in charge of the “Making Models” chapter, while Faith and I are in charge of the “Fluid power systems and Control systems” chapter.

Closed-loop control system. (engineersgarage.com)

Closed-loop control system.
(engineersgarage.com)

A control system is a set of components working together to perform a specific task with the help of a processor or a computer. You encounter control systems every day but you might not know about it. For example, an air conditioner has a control system. There are open-loop systems and closed-loop systems. The difference between them is that closed-loop systems receive feedback and open-loop systems don’t. Input (information) fed into a data-processing system goes through a process (sequence of actions) that produce and output (information or actions resulting from the machine controlled by a computer). In a closed-loop system, the output is analyzed by sensors and the feedback is sent to the input in order to correct any errors. An open-loop system, on the other hand, assumes that no errors will occur. Let’s go back to the air conditioner example. An air conditioner unit has a closed-loop system because it contains sensors that read the temperature. Input is fed into the AC data-processing system and the process causes the machine to make a room cooler (the output). Feedback from the sensors is sent to the input and, if the room isn’t the temperature you desired, then the system has the ability to fix the error by feeding another input.

Open-loop control system. (pidtuning.net)

Open-loop control system.
(pidtuning.net)

The AC unit we will place in the Airstream is going to be really cool. It will be able to monitor the teachers’ movements and at what times they enter the Airstream. Instead of being on and keeping the Airstream a certain temperature all the time, this AC will only cool the Airstream at the times it recorded that the teachers came in. Regular ACs only contain the temperature sensors, but this awesome AC will have motion sensors recording the teachers Airstream visiting hours. Another item added to our list of eco-friendly things used in the Airstream! Thanks for reading! Have a nice day/good night!

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