Open Journal


Class Journal 8/21/19

My journals will be made on the GEOFF page, and I am in Team A. This will be done to enhance our groups communication.


Class Journal 1/10/18

Today I am working on the GEOFF control box circuit board, but before soldering other group members and I must check all the nodes, or connection pins on the board. This is a very repetitive and time consuming task, however it is necessary as we found a possible false connection. The same false connection is on both boards, which would suggest that this was not a manufacturing issue, but rather an issue with the instructions or board design. Although I can’t give more details about the issue since the PANOPTES team has asked us not to share the instructions or parts list yet, it could severely set back the project.

Class Journal 12/19/18

Today marked the end to a short term project. For the last few weeks I have been installing an upgrade for WISRD’s CNC mill that will provide new features. The upgrades to the mill required the assembly and installation of a new control system, power supply, wiring, rail(x-axis movement beam) and carriage(moving drill mount and z-axis motor).

The new control system, x-controller, added the capability to pause, start, and send the drill to the home position all from physical buttons on the machine. The new wiring successfully incorporated homing switches and a z-probe to the design, which in short allows for automated calibration of the system, reducing the amount of wasted time and human error. The homing switches give the machine feed back when they touch the end of their rails, and so the machine can reach the “home” position, (0, 0), by itself and then make all of its movements with respect to that point. The z-probe automatically detects how far away the drill bit is from the wood.

Today, the upgraded mill successfully completed a test carve, after using the homing switches and z-probe to automatically center itself.

Class Journal 11/28/18

Teaching fellow GEOFF members how to test for capacitance so that we can find parts, specifically capacitors, for the circuit board.

Class Journal 11/26/18

Today the new interface circuit board is going to be picked up from Caltech. We are also starting to test capacitors for their capacitance.

Class Journal 11/14/18

Today, I worked with the emotive group to test stress levels with Steveen G, sadly these tests were unsuccessful due to a software error. Steveen was able to control his stress levels, but once his stress passed a certain point he had trouble regaining control. He may have accomplished this, but the software glitches and flat lines when it peaks.

Class Journal 11/8/18

Because of delays, we have not yet received electrical components to continue construction of PANOPTES. This means that we have been editing and improving white papers. This week, we have also started to collaboratively edit new PANOPTES instructions outlining the construction of the next version of the PANOPTES telescope. This new version features two prototype “interface circuit boards”, that are both better and cheaper than the previous boards.

Class Journal 11/7/18

During this week’s poster presentation, the emotion display system was successfully tested connected to the emotive with Steveen G as a test subject. While it was functional, the planned delay between when the emotive detects an emotion and the corresponding light lights up was far to long. During the experiment, the delay was changed from 1 second to .15 seconds. This means that emotive coupled with the display lights proved the technological capability of the project as a therapy tool.

Class Journal 10/24/18

Today I 3D printed an anemometer to replace the old one that broke.

Class Journal 10/22/18

Today I finished a working setup of the system that will be used to display emotions through LEDs. The setup si the same as in the designs in the 10/15/18 class journal below.  However, the code did change slightly. Arduino UNO code:

byte byteRead;

#define GREEN ‘a’
#define ORANGE ‘b’
#define BLUE ‘c’
#define RED ‘d’
#define SHUT_UP ‘e’

void setup() {
pinMode(7, OUTPUT);
pinMode(6, OUTPUT);
pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(8, HIGH);


void loop() {

char byte = 0;
while (byte != SHUT_UP)

Serial.readBytes(&byte, 1);
if(byte == GREEN) {
digitalWrite(4, HIGH);
digitalWrite(4, LOW);
if(byte == RED) {
digitalWrite(7, HIGH);
digitalWrite(7, LOW);
if(byte == BLUE){
digitalWrite(6, HIGH);
digitalWrite(6, LOW);
if(byte == ORANGE){
digitalWrite(5, HIGH);
digitalWrite(5, LOW);

Class Journal 10/15/18

In the past week, I have begun to collaborate with the emotive group as secondary project because the PANOPTES group is waiting for a circuit board that should come in 1-2 weeks.  I am working to brainstorm applications for the emotive, a headset that uses signals from the brain to detect emotions and small cameras to detect facial twitches/expressions. From our brainstorming, the emotive group determined that the most practical applications of the technology would be as a therapy tool and as a telepathic control for machines not connected to the human body.  While one of the agreed upon applications was using emotive to control a prothesis, technology that uses muscle twitches is a better and more affordable solution.  I have designed and bread boarded a circuit for the first application; therapy. It is a simple circuit that has 4 lights that turn on when the patient feels a certain emotion. This means that a therapist could know the emotion of someone after asking them a question or talking to them.  The circuit uses an arduino to take the emotive’s data and turn it into an electrical signal.

The Arduino Code:

Class Journal 9/12/18

This year I have been working on the exoplanet detector and project PANOPTES. I will be journaling mostly at the project PANOPTES page.


Class Journal 5/7/18

See aerodynamics page. In the future, all journals will be located there until the project is concluded.

Class Journal 5/3/18

See aerodynamics page for last 2 class journals.

Class Journal 4/18/18

Journal can be found on the anemometer page.

Class Journal 4/9/12

Tested anemometer. Full journal with updates can be found on the anemometer page.

Class Journal 3/19/18

Researching transformer values for the laser communicator’s transformer:

Settings: Square Wave. Max volume. 440 Hz.

Mac Volume: max      Output Voltage: 1.7m

Observations: When tone not playing voltage = 1.6mv, when playing voltage fluctuated between 1.6mv and 1.7mv.

Calculations for transformer magnification if 1.6mv needs to become 4.7v:

1.6mv = .00016

.0016x = 4.7

Transformer amplifying:

1 to 2937.5


This seems very high, and I have figured out that the jack I was using to test was not stereo and apple uses stereo.  I will need to order/buy a stereo headphone jack.

Class Journal 3/15/18

Worked on creating the laser communicator. We are currently close to finishing many of our projects: PCB milling(SVG file has been rendered just have to cut it out and solder components to it), anemometer(need 3d printed parts), laser communicator(need transformer), and repairing the portable speaker(only need aux port for the speaker to be usable again).

Class Journal 3/7/18

We are working on repairing the PE office’s portable speaker. Our objective is to remove a headphone jack that is stuck in the aux port or fix the bluetooth feature of the speaker. We have also found the ridiculous extent which companies go to to stop people like us from attempting to repair their products.  We have gone through the first layer of defense, hex screws which are rare to find as a consumer, and are now on the second layer of defense, philips screws covered in a green super glue, holding the circuit boards down. We have managed to get all of the screws except for one.

After 20 minutes we have detached the screw. We are now trying to get directly at the broken headphone jack.

Our plan for next class is to desolder  the aux connection to the board and get the headphone jack out of it or order the part again to solder a working one into the board.

Class Journal 2/28/18

Today we created a prototype of code that is developed enough to test the anemometer. We are now waiting on 3D printed parts from Emile, who already has a simple model that just needs to be approved by the aerodynamics team and printed. For a more in depth post, go to the Aerodynamics page.

Class Journal 2/21/18

We have been working on the anemometer and have been doing research for the electronic components. This project has taken priority over our light communicator project as without it the aerodynamics team would have nothing to do. Today, I developed Arduino code that will allow the anemometer to easily create data points and have an easy to use interface. The code I have so far is:

int inpin = 1;
int outpin1 = 2;
int outpin2 = 3;
int rotinpin = 4;
float InputVoltage;
float OutputVoltage;
float TimePower;
float Time = 1;
float RPM;
bool RPMSwitch;
long PreviousRotTime;
long TimeSinceLastRot;
float MotorTorque;
void setup()
pinMode(inpin, INPUT);
pinMode(rotinpin, INPUT);
pinMode(outpin1, OUTPUT);
pinMode(outpin2, OUTPUT);


void loop()
InputVoltage = analogRead(inpin);
Time = .2 ;
TimePower = InputVoltage / Time;
PreviousRotTime = millis() * 1000;
if (rotinpin == HIGH)
RPMSwitch == true;
TimeSinceLastRot = millis() * 1000;
RPM = (1 / (PreviousRotTime – TimeSinceLastRot)) * 60;
MotorTorque = (TimePower * 9.549) / RPM;
OutputVoltage =
analogWrite(outpin1, OutputVoltage);
analogWrite(outpin2, 0);

Class Journal 1/24/18

The issue has been found. The light bulb is not capable of outputting light reliably, as the heat does not dissipate and come gain intensity fast enough to match the speed of the frequency. After further rethinking of our design, we have chosen to replace the light bulb with a laser, so that all changes in frequency are directly outputted/displayed through the laser beam. The first issue we encountered with this was that the LED cannot create any (or incredibly small) output when the laser beam is directed at it.  To solve this, the LED receiver is going to be replaced by a solar panel, which can receive the output from the laser beam. Are current to do list/procedure goes as follows:

1.  Determine if transformers are necessary and implement them if needed

2. Research transformers

3. Disassemble laser pointer and jury rig for analog input

4. Implement new systems into existing circuit

5. Remove optics kit as the laser cannot be magnified

6. Test and trouble shoot

Class Journal 1/18/18

This class will be spent determining if I need an amplifier for the LED or if there is another issue with the setup.  Using Back in Black by ACDC as a test song, data was recorded on the oscilloscope. Now, that same signal will be put onto the circuit with the light bulb, and the LED detector will be tested using the oscilloscope. It would be good news if the signal was still there, just of a different amplitude.

The signal is not being picked up. The following setup areas have been isolated as functional:


All headphone jacks

Class Journal 1/17/18

Tested the speakers by playing music (they work). Plugged the audio jack back into the port connected to the LED. When touching the LED connection points, the speaker displayed noise. This means that the signal from the LED is still to small.

This would mean that an amplifier is almost absolutely necessary for this project. I found this website as a helpful resource for both an amplifier and its related mathematics.

Class Journal 1/16/18

Spent this class rebuilding the optical magnification system and identifying audio jack inputs and outputs.

Now tying audio jack to the LED. The LED has been successfully rigged to the audio port and the speakers have been turned on. However, the speakers are not outputting any audible sound based off of the light from the lightbulb, and subsequently the signal from the LED.

Class Journal 1/11/18

After LOTS  of trouble shooting, it has been determined that the led does not give off enough power from the light to trigger anything, including an amplipher.

We are currently using a PASCO optics kit to focus the light, thus making more power.  Our goal is to find the optimal combination of lenses to get the best electrical signal from the LED.

Using a +250mm F.L. Convex lens, our voltameter read .14 volts instead of .005 with out any magnification.

Using a larger magnifying glass produces nearly the same output(.128), even though it does not focus light as well, for it has more light coming into it from the light bulb. We hope to use a system similar to telescopes and microscopes, and use the laws of optical physics to achieve greater electrical signals.

With his setup:

We achieved a voltage of .37v. This was achieved because the bigger lens allowed more light from the light bulb to go through it.

Class Journal 12/13/17

We have installed cheaters that regulate the potential difference between the grounds(same grounds as before, oscilloscope and protoboard)

Our quest to eliminate all noise in our light to sound circuit has brought us to the use of shrink wrap and foil to create faraday cages that eliminate electro-magnetic interference. We have currently finished this process and this is the final result:

This means that we can test to see if this worked using the oscilloscope.

Class Journal 12/3/17

Impedance(z) in an AC circuit.

Impedance must match, if not, then the AC current loses all its energy.

An RLC circuit (also known as a resonant circuit, tuned circuit, or LCR circuit) is an electrical circuitconsisting of a resistor (R), an inductor (L), and a capacitor (C), connected in series or in parallel. This configuration forms a harmonic oscillator.

harmonic oscillator: In classical mechanics, a harmonic oscillator is a system that, when displaced from its equilibrium position, experiences a restoring force, F, proportional to the displacement, x: where k is a positive constant.

Impedance in relation to resistance: Z=R + (ΩL-1)/(ΩC) where Ω is frequency.

And I=V/R. Therefore: I=V/R-(ΩL-1)/ΩC). But if R = 0, or if R is extremely close to zero and is neglabable, then I=V/((WL-1)/WC)

Therefore the inductance L of an inductor changes the relationship between voltage, current, and impedance.

Inductors can act as pots when used in series respective to a battery and lightbulb.

Class Journal 11/27/17

1/5ms * ms/10^-3





wavelength=300,000,000 * period


Class Journal 11/13/17

Compared sine waves with and without an inductor.  Then conceptually learned the idea of how sine waves work. They work by having Theta as an axis and sin(Theta) as another. In our case, Theta was the x-axis.

This shows the general relation ship between triangle construction and theta.

Raidian measure – uses a scale of 2pie = 360 to pie = 180.

Class Journal 11/8/17

Inductor Research Continued:

-an inductor resists a change in the flow of electrons.

Image result for sine wave electrical

With an inductor, the eccentricity of the wave is reduced on the positive and negative side. Inductance, measured in henrys refers to this change.

Class Journal 11/6/17

Inductor Research:

-symbol: _mmm_

-Two terminal component

-Stores energy in magnetic field

– direction of field depends on the direction of current field

-Consists of a conductor wrapped around an insulator

Equation for inductance of an inductor



Nagaoka coefficient =

Magnetic force in relation to curent flow:

Right hand thumb rule


Force acting on parallel conductors

Force acting on parallel conductors


Class Journal 11/2/17

Gave Luke K. plan for test circuit.  Began work on the electronics poster presentation.

Class Journal 11/1/17

Prototyped a simple circuit to use as a proof of concept for our larger capacitance testing circuit board.  We are facing design problems when it comes to SVG files that the CNC mill reads properly.

Class Journal 10/26/17

Measuring components necessary for the circuit board to make another plan, that is proportional and uses a new system of LEDs, resistors in parallel, and multiple capacitors.


Copper circuit board: 6in by 9in, .06 inches thick

Banana plug: .5 inch radius and 1.25 inches length

Rotary Switch: 1 inch total radius, total length 2.25 inches, knob radius .25 inches, knob length 1.25 inches

LED: Bulb radius .25 inches, bulb hight .357 inches, leg length 1 inch

Milling capability: Lines as small as .033 inches

5.1megohm resistor: ceramic covering .25 inches, legs 1.25 inches

6v battery: length 4.25 inches, width 2.5 inches, height 2.5 inches

Drill bit diameter: .16 inches

Class Journal 10/19/17 

Redesigned PCB circuit to account for new switch.

Testing theory about 4 way switching – knob positions turn on a pin in each section A, B, C, and D.

Theory accepted by power to all 4 leds in position 2.  Furthermore, all 4 turn on when the knob positions are set equal to the matching setups of group A.

Class Journal 10/18/17 

Started testing rotary switch. Results as follows:

A – 3, 2, 1,

B- 4, 5, 6,

C – 7, 8, 9

D – 12, 11, 10

Rotary positions(knob positions) 1, 2, and 3, where 1 is the furthermost counter – clockwise position and 3 is the furthermost clockwise position:

A knob positions:

knob position    out putting pin

1 – 1

2 – 2

3 – 3

(Other positions to be tested at later date)

Successfully uploaded code that flashes the on board LED of the Arduino on and off.  Starting to develop an rc car for the emotive project.

Class Journal 10/16/17

Started Arduino research and are waiting for a PCB.

Class Journal 10/9/17

Today we put our plan into action. We have started to create an image that Luke K. can use to mill a PCB. We have also determined the switch which we will be using.  In order to provide plugin points for capacitors, we will be utilizing banana plugs. The goal is to complete all of this before InnovatED.LA.

Class Journal 10/5/17

Good progress has been made towards our machine that will test capacitance.  Using t=rc we are developing a circuit that will be able to test for a capacitance between 1micro-farad 1pico-farad.  By next class we should have a finalized plan and be able to start the PCB milling process. We have decided on a circuit that utilizes a rotary switch to power different resistors and an area to put capacitors in parallel.

Class Journal 10/4/17

In order to showcase capacitor math and the process of finding capacitance for InnovatedLa, we will be building a machine to test for capacitance.  This will consist of multiple switches and resistors, as well as an area to plug in multiple capacitors in parallel.  When completed, it can be used in the future to organize capacitors.  A special switch may be required or invented to make this machine better.

Class Journal 10/2/17

We have decided to move on from testing capacitors.  We created a circuit illustrating the equation for resistors in parallel. Total resistance = Resistance1 + resistance2 / R1*R2. The circuit consisted of a variable resistor in series with another resistor and LED.  This provides a visual element to understanding the Math and will help during our exhibitions for InnovatedLA.

Class Journal 9/20/17

We now have continued with testing capacitors, and have discovered a switch as a clean method of disconnecting and reconnecting test circuits. In addition, we are planning on adding variable resistors to allow for easier testing. We were not able to integrate these things today but we plan to soon.

Class Journal 9/18/17

Today, we were not able to continue with finding the capacitance of capacitors.  Rasmus and I have not isolated an issue, and plan to go back to our original circuit to see what went wrong. We did however, integrate a switch into our circuit, and tested it with an LED. After this, we measured how quickly the capacitor leaked and found that the leakage was more akin to grounding the circuit.

Class Journal 9/14/17

After attempting to capture data with 4 separate 1 megaohm resistors in series we still did not capture enough data.  We moved to a setup  with 5, 5.1-mega ohm resistors in series. We were then able to very accurately capture data. Calculations below:

Point before discharge =(2.167, 6.01)


(2.34 ,2.2237)


2.183 = 255,000,000 C

.00000000856/number of capacitors(6)

.0000000142 Farads = C, or 1.42 nano farads.

Class Journal 9/13/17

The original circuit which we used to find capacitance did not have a high enough resistance to supply enough data points to calculate the capacitance of larger capacitance.  Discovered how to combine multiple resistors to make them into one larger one, and the same was learned with capacitors. This was done by placing multiple resistors/capacitors in series and measuring the input/output across all of the resistors or capacitors. 

Class Journal 9/11/17 

Today we reviewed and relearned how to derive the equation for capacitance and trouble shot our circuit.  Modifying the circuit was the key to allowing the capacitor to discharge.  Performing data collection on this circuit we calculated capacitance for a capacitor that already had capacitance labeled and are now able to organize capacitors with no label. Our calculations:

Point at begging of discharge (9.658, 5.86)

5.86*.37 = 2.1682

Point of Tau (11.139, 2.1682)






.001481=C —–> This capacitance was within 400 micro farads (.0004) farads of labeled capacitance.



This week in WISRD substantial progress was made towards our capacitance tester.  The rotary switch was tested and the experiment results allowed us to add a LEDs to indicate which resistor strand is powered to the machine.  We found that the rotary switch has only 3 positions but has 4 outputs per position. We discovered this by testing the switch with LED outputs.  The downside to the switch is that it requires us to make a new circuit board, which I have sketched before making into a digital SVG file for the CNC mill.  Once the PCB has been milled, we can have the 3D printing team print a box and 6 bolt battery holder for the machine.  This will culminate our work with capacitors and be key for our poster presentation.

Confirmation of 3 switch positions test:                                                       New Circuit Board Design:

WISRD- 10/1/17

This week, Rasmus and I have begun to design our first permanent circuit.  It will be designed to test the capacitance of a capacitor with a capacitance between 1 micro-farad and 1-pico/nano farad, 1 pico-farad may not be realistic. It will utilize a rotary switch to select different resistances, and have an area to put capacitors in parallel, further making the machine capable of testing smaller capacitance.  We will be collaborating with Luke K. who will mill our first PCB(printed circuit board).

WISRD –  9/18/17

Because of a holiday on Thursday, Rasmus and I have not accomplished as much as we have in other weeks.  We did not progress with the testing of capacitors, as finding the capacitance of a different one requires our circuit to be rebuilt.  Our most important advances this week included, adding a switch into our circuit, and the discovery of variable resistors.  These things solve our biggest problems with testing capacitors. The first being that a bad disconnection of power leads to data being erratic, and the second being that each capacitor needs a different resistance to allow for data capturing.  In future weeks, Joe plans for us to move on to LRC circuits, and Bob has plans for us to research, use, and understand transistors.

Note: There will be no weekly recap next week because of Outdoor Ed.

WISRD –  9/11/17

This week Rasmus and I completed our capacitance experiment.  Our conceptual knowledge that Tau=RC was accepted by the data.  The first time we found accepting data can be found in my journal[See Journal – Date 9/11/17].  We then ran the experiment again with an unlabeled capacitor, as the whole purpose of this lab was to find a way in which to organize our capacitors by capacitance, which we captured only 3 data points.  We then learned how to combine resistors to create one larger resistor, and our final setup was 5 51-mega ohm resistors in series, connect to 6 capacitors, which were each the same model.  We were then able to capture data and we found that the capacitor’s capacitance was 1.42 nano farads.  Compared to the previous capacitor we tested this one was 100,000 times smaller. For testing large numbers of capacitors, it would be beneficial to create a circuit where resistance and capacitance could be changed quickly and easily.

WISRD –  9/4/17

This week was a milestone for myself and Rasmus.  This is a picture of our first ever circuit.  It was built to find the capacitance of a capacitor, and to be used in our experiment, which we conducted this week.  The progress was slow during construction, as we lacked experience.  In addition, when the circuit was constructed the capturing of data did not work. The voltage-current sensor and its  PASCO universal interface were lacking power.  I had miss traced the power cable, and as such it was not plugged in.  With power restored, the circuit discharged too quickly to capture data.

The experimented was rerun with a 1 megaohm resistor instead of a 1 kilohm resistor to increase discharge time and capture more data.  The result of this was that there was no visible discharge at all.  From our conceptual understanding this should not have happened.  It was then believed that the capacitor was to blame, as it was the only component that had not been switched out.  With a new and larger capacitor, discharge occurred over a time period of several minutes.  However, this was simply too much data and not time efficient especially if other trials would need to be run.  By process of elimination, either the sensor or interface had a resistor and was causing abnormal data. Later research found that the PASCO voltage-current sensor had an input impedance of one megaohm.  At the time of the experiment, the charging of a capacitor did provide data that accepted our conceptual knowledge, and this was data was saved.

In the future, knowing the limitations of scientific equipment should be a priority.  Next week will be used to prove that the voltage-current sensor was responsible, and for calculating capacitance using capacitor charging data and discharge data should it be available.

WISRD –  8/28/17

Rasmus and I have finished conceptual research on basic electronic components.  Currently, with the assistance of Joe Wise we are applying math to our conceptual knowledge of capacitors.  In the upcoming week, we will conduct an experiment calculating the capacitance of a capacitor.  In the future, I would like to build PCBs(Printed Circuit Boards), using CNC milling with the assistance of Luke K.

WISRD –  8/21/17

After orientation and choosing an area of interest, Thursday marked the start of construction on an educational framework for WISRD.  The program will consist of a folder tree stored on WISRD’s local network, where members after researching a skill, especially an engineering or fabrication skill, leave behind research in a structured way that allows others to learn the same skill.  Over time, WISRD team members interested in learning such skills will no longer have to do the research themselves.  In the short term, Rasmus and I are working on electronics with the end goal of creating an analog computer.  Currently, we are in the beginning stages of researching basic electronic equipment and key ideas about electricity. This skill will allow us to help with electrical equipment around WISRD and help to create a guide on how to structure research that can be used as an educational asset later.