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What to bring or buy

   Please see below for a number of purchasing recommendations.

   Please bring the following things with you to the lab Jan 3rd:

A) Every Student: A new, standard, black, physics type laboratory notebook
   with graph paper on the backs of every second page.  If you begin
   taking notes in it, make sure to leave the first 4 pages blank. 
   This will be your laboratory notebook for design.

B) Every Student: A new, hard cover notebook of 3/4 standard size. 
   One like your 1st year Civ notebook is not required but would be fine.  
   Here there is flexibility, just make sure it is hard cover.  This will 
   be your lecture notebook.

C) Every Student: A pen.  Not a pencil, a pen.  A ruler is always 
   handy too, but there is no need to bring your drafting kit.

D) Every Student: All notes you made before or over Christmas.

E) Every Student: Their complete timetable which includes all classes and
   other weekly personal events (Skule Nite practice, band, clubs etc.)
   and personal diary/organizer which includes all planned absences or 
   other constraints (such as trips, family events and religious 

F) Every Student: $20 cash, money order or personal check for the 1999 
   version of the Reference Manual.  

G) Every Group: $40 cash for the group's purchase-advance account.
   Any money not spent during the term is returned.  Every RFP4 
   student should bring $20+ in cash to pool for this deposit.

H) Every Group: $50 cash as a deposit for your equipment kit.  If the
   kit is returned complete and in good condition, the deposit is 
   returned.  Lost or damaged equipment is charged against the deposit.
   The money should most aptly come from the person signing for 
   responsibility for the kit and the person signing should most 
   aptly be the Interface person since they will use the kit the most.
   Every RFP4 person who has expressed a preference to be assigned to
   interface, and those who have either not responded or expressed
   no preference may expect to be asked for the kit deposit.

I) Every Electromechanical Person: One pair of safety glasses, 
   impact goggles (as opposed to splash goggles) or a face-shield 
   (your preference) which you will use while working in the
   work shop.  This vital safety equipment will be inspected on
   Jan 3rd for its presence and functionality.  Many students
   prefer Canadian Tire hobby glasses (about $3) but my personal
   preference is a face shield --- it is more roomy for someone
   unaccustomed to the view restriction of glasses and far less apt to
   fog.  Remember if it is uncomfortable you are unlikely to be 
   wearing it when you need it.  Every RFP4 person who has expressed
   an interest in Electromechanical, and those who have either not
   responded or expressed no preference should bring their own pair
   of impact goggles. 

J) Everyone: Patience and a snack, especially with no TAs.  RFP 4 people 
   should probably bring more patience and their dinner in a bag.

     Many students have been asking, is there anything they can do over 
the holidays, books to buy, or whatever.  Here are some ideas by RFP and

RFP 1:

     If you are doing RFP 1, you will be presented with a design and 
directions for a computer I/O card that fits in any PC.  This will
be adequate for all your needs.  You may also borrow an equivalent 
card from the lab but must return it in full working order or pay the
replacement cost: $70.  You may also purchase an equivalent card yourself.
Here are some examples that I neither suggest nor endorse:

http://www.tecel.com/x100.htm   either the 48 or 24 model as you require.
ComputerBoards Inc.  DIO24 or DIO48 card (netsearch it)

RFP 2:

     For those of you doing RFP 2: Tag, if you elect to take the option,
you will be provided with a single board computer for free, along with 
some chips, which you then finish populating with some more chips, 
resistors and capacitors.  The cost to the students for this option 
is about $6 (photocopy cost) for the notes, and <$30 for the first 
set of resistors, sockets and other components + 
(between $1 and $26.25) * the number of systems integration (a.k.a. poof) 
mistakes you make during the later part of the term.   The board is 
completely repairable, and in the limit, you can have another board for 
free if it is too badly burned (battery shorts create fires).  There is 
an assembler, compiler, simulator, debugger and on-board 
debugger/upload/download interface to a PC too.  A reasonable
quantity of spare parts will be available in the lab for emergencies.

     The other option is students purchase their own single board
computer.  Not all controllers will be suitable.  You will be 
prohibitted from using a computer so simple that it effectively 
limits the software to being a state-machine implementation --- that
was what the 2 person tag option was all about.  I strongly recommend
everyone one who choses to buy, buys a 68HC11 based board, 
optimally, the same one.  I neither suggest nor endorse this particular
board, in fact I tried and failed 4 times to get these people on the 
phone, but its features (RAM/ROM/IO) are adequate and price is reasonable:

http://www.tecel.com/mc200.htm   (Model MC200-46)

Please do not purchase a board with significantly less RAM, ROM or 
parallel I/O: you will find them too limiting.

     The advantages of a purchased board are:  It will probably
be a bit smaller than the lab provided one.  Its assembly language has
a MULT instruction.  It can be programmed in real 'C' (the full program
storage space will be needed).  This is the one most important reason
most cited for purchasing a board.  History has show purchased boards
to have fewer serious poofs than the lab-supplied boards.  One could
argue the reason for this but caution induced by economics (see below)
and other factors cannot be ignored.  History has indicated that the
success rate of projects (influenced by many factors) using purchased
boards is higher however weigh this against the fact that all
who risked this option in the past have certainly all been very 
confident students and I would estimate on average, far more capable
to start with.  If you chose the right board or processor, people on
the net can be very helpful, given a few days to respond.   

     Things that are equivalent to the lab-supplied board: There is a
lot of free 68HC11 development software out there too.  It will draw 
about the same power --- 24-65mA which is nothing.  Like the lab-supplied
board, it is far more processing speed than you need, by a factor of about
1000.  Most purchased boards are programmable through a download cable too,
however, I would give them a slight edge here because, since it is 
frequently the only way to program them, it is a more polished process. 

     The disadvantages of the 68HC11 or any other board in comparison to 
the lab supplied board:  Cost.  That is $79 to start with.  That is US 
dollars.  Mistakes can be as expensive as that again,
but can be as cheap as $5 Canadian (I am
guessing for the mentioned board).  A mistake may require ordering a 
part which may not be available in Toronto.  Certain boards have chips 
soldered directly to them or surface mount ICs--- a problem in the case 
of a poof.  Ideally, all chips should be socketted like on the lab-supplied
board.  Some 68HC11 boards in particular provide motor control ICs on 
board.  This is a disadvantage because they will make you believe a problem
is solved, especially after testing them with one small unloaded motor.
In fact the energy of a loaded tag robot reversing directions on
the fly is likely to blow a crater in one.  These ICs are commonly soldered
on and hard to find as well.  The last disadvantage is, you may or may not
be able to contact the designer or manufacturer of the board if there is a
problem.  The manufacturer of the board will probably be different from
the programmer of the (public domain) development software and each will 
know little about the other's product.  In contrast, for the lab-supplied
board, though there is other software out there, the designer, manufacturer
and programmer are all available whenever the lab is open --- me.

RFP 3:

     If you are doing RFP 3, please do not purchase anything expensive
as I am collecting material to support your project as I write.  I 
have a large supply of CPLDs and a number of EPROMs that might be used
as your nervous system.  Wait until Jan3rd to see what is available in 
the lab.

RFP 4: 

     Enjoy your holidays.

     Do not buy tools.  If you have or buy tools, buy a tool box and
an engraver.  Engrave anything that is yours.  

Interface (and everyone else why not):

     * Do not buy personal test equipment. *
     If you really feel the need to buy a book, Prof Sedra's  
Microelectronic Circuits is a good book and about 80-90% of all EngScis 
will have to buy it in third year anyway for their electronics course.  
(I think Aeros and Physics are the only ones for whom electronics is not 
core, but since the Aeros have it as an elective it could be nearly 
everyone in the class.)  


     Do not buy anything for your personal computer.  The less your 
personal computer is imvolved in this design project, the more chance 
there will be of it still functioning at the end of the term.  (Poof in 
capital letters.)  We have riskable hardware for use with your project.  
Your $3000 Pentium III is not riskable.


     For those of you who do not feel like buying a book, or are an EM or S 
person, there is one very important thing you can do:  take 5 minutes every 
day and look over your notes your group put together on design.  A good 
time to do this is just before bed or just before a shower.  You will not 
be able to resist coming up with more ideas or refinements to your project.  
Whatever you do, do not lose these notes over the holidays.  Other than that 
you should do as much   :)  uphill     and  
                        C=  downhill   (or equivalent) as possible.

Good luck on the rest of your exams and enjoy the holidays.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
M.J. Malone,  Assistant Professor
University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies
4925 Dufferin St., Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T6
Email Address: malone@aerospace.utoronto.ca     **** Email is best!
UTIAS Office: rm 183, phone: (416) 667-7942
Downtown Off: SF4003, phone: (416) 978-3130  Fax: (416) 667-7799