Just a Hobby?
Some people may wonder why a hobby machinist like me has started a project building a networked control system and ultimately a model boat. It seems so far removed from the machine shop.
It’s OK to wonder but it is simply the indication that I am interested in far more than pure machining projects. If I do say for myself, I have lots of other interests. The fact is I have been building models and experimenting in electronics far longer than I have had my own machine shop.
My real vocation where I earn my living has everything to do with networked computer control systems. My official title at this point in time is Construction Services Manager. Titles change and so does the work I do, either for pay or for fun.
I contribute to very large energy management projects throughout the USA and beyond, saving a significant amount of world energy and resources for each customer. One part of doing that is through distributed (networked) computer based control systems which manage buildings energy utilization automatically.
The process is almost exactly the same as I am developing for the control of the model boat.
Every controller my company produces is a little computer that “talks” to other little computers on a network. Sensors are read and information exchanged between these many controllers linked together by the network. There are controllers with inputs sensors that read temperature, light levels or flow amounts. Some controllers have outputs that move dampers or valves or change motor speeds to provide the best operation at lowest energy cost. Most of these controllers can do both input and output. The scope of what we do is far, far bigger than the simple example given here.
The control concept is exactly the same as the little computers I am applying to my boat control. That is read inputs, process data, and then output information to change the input.
If there are any energy engineers or control types out there who would like to do this and enjoy a good living, contact me. I work for Schneider Electric. You can make a far bigger impact on this world’s energy usage than anything you can do by yourself.
And you thought this was just a hobby.