18. Laboratory Guide

The following items should be completed early in the semester

__ Purchase ATMega board (in class or lab)

__ Install programming programming software on your laptop (lab 1)

__ Qualified in machine shop for lathe and mills (sign up with Mr. Bero)

__ Qualified in machine shop for welding (sign up with Mr. Bero)

__ Qualified for electrical work (sign up with Mr. Grew)

__ Install Scilab on your laptop (week 1)

__ Prepare a web page on claymore (lab 2)

18.1 General Policies

The labs are to be conducted in a professional manner. The steps you are expected to follow are listed below. In essence the calculations and design work are to be completed before the laboratory. When you arrive at the laboratory you will be expected to build lab equipment, conduct tests and collect data to verify the system performance. After the lab you will compare the theoretical and experimental data.

In many cases most of the work will be before the laboratory. In general the division of work will be 50-80% of the work before the lab, 20-40% during the laboratory, 10% after the lab.

If any of the required components in a laboratory experiment is missing, 50% of the final grade will be automatically deducted. If two or more required sections are missing, the lab will not be graded and returned with a grade of zero.

18.1.1 Before the Lab

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Do all required prelab calculations in the lab book.

Normally calculations will be done by hand, unless otherwise noted in the laboratory descriptions. However, it is useful to verify hand-calculations with software.

Students are expected to write a planned procedure to be followed during the lab. When there are questions about the work to be done during the lab, reasonable assumptions should be made. This will require you to read and understand the ’Experiment’ section of the experiment.

18.1.2 During the Lab

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Arrive on time, or early. Arriving late is unfair to everybody; it diminishes your educational experience, it places extra demands on your teammates and the lab instructor.

Have the prelab work in the lab book checked and signed at the beginning of the lab. If work has not been done before the lab marks will be deducted accordingly. However, the pre-lab work must still be completed. Failure to do so may result in a grade of zero for the lab.

Collect a detailed equipment list, including unique ID numbers.

Write the procedure and results in the lab book.

Make note of expected and unexpected observations.

Before dissassembling equipment and leaving the lab students should compare the theoretical and experimental values. If they don’t match, the work must be repeated.

If the laboratory work is done early, students are expected to remain in the laboratory.

18.1.3 After the Lab

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The theoretical and experimental data values must be compared using tables, graphs, or another appropriate method. Failure to analyze the data numerically will result in severe penalties.

Discrepancies between the theoretical and experimental data must be discussed.

The comparison between the experimental and theoretical values must be discussed within the context of the purpose of the laboratory.

Students are encouraged to not include informal statements such as "This lab was valuable and I learned alot.".

Students are encouraged to make brief statments about the results based on numerical values.

18.1.4 Notebooks

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Weekly laboratory checklist

__ use past tense AND passive voice

__ after data is collected, extract characteristic numbers

__ put comments on source code

__ figures should have numbers and titles below the figure

__ tables should have numbers and titles above the table

__ extra sheets (such as printouts) should be attached in the book so that they do not extend beyond the edges. They should be attached with tape, staples, or glue

__ point form must still use full sentences

__ when using ’counts’ convert the numbers to real units

__ consider that I/O is limited and values can be clipped

__ don’t copy the procedure and background from the lab guide

__ the conclusion should address the purpose, using numerical values derived from the experimental data.

__ used numbered steps for procedures

__ when working with integer values recall 2’s compliments rules for negative numbers and the lack of negative numbers for unsigned integers.

__ when using software to draw graphs do not use smooth curve fits for experimental data

__ collect more data in regions where change is occuring

__ when unexpected or notable events occur during the lab they should be noted in the lab book

__ additional data points should be collected in areas of change


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