Hello internet friends! This week was the fourth of July, which also meant that my birthday (July 2nd), fell on Wednesday. During the time that I was in the lab this week, I spent most of my time trying to learn more about programming microcontrollers, which is the main task that I am going to have to accomplish during my remaining time in the lab this summer. I also spent part of the week corresponding over email with one of Professor Volpe’s colleagues who works at General Atomics in San Diego. The two of them co-authored a paper in 2012 that utilized a digital scheme similar to the one I am attempting to implement, so I was hoping that the code for the microcontroller that they used still existed, so that I could try it out myself without having to start from scratch.

I turned out to be in luck. On Thursday, Professor Volpe’s colleague sent me a large file with lots of helpful information that I will most likely spend a significant portion of this week sifting through in order to determine what is and isn’t going to be helpful for my project. The rest of my parts also arrived on Thursday, I’m excited to finally be working with something tangible and not just reading online tutorials which, while helpful tend to be dry and overly detailed to the point where I don’t feel like I am gleaning any helpful information by reading them.

Tomorrow (Monday), I’ll be attempting to get the frequency to voltage converter working correctly. The chip takes in alternating current at a particular frequency and outputs DC voltage that is (in theory) linearly proportional to the frequency of the incoming voltage. I need this DC output to vary from 0 volts to 5 volts across the 0.1 through 20 kHz band of interest for this circuit. This should be no problem at all, but as I’m learning, sometimes the tasks that shouldn’t take any time at all end up consuming way more time than you budget for. That’s why I’m giving myself all day tomorrow to get the chip working.

After that, I’ll need to take measurements on my 90 degree shifter again to determine the resistances that I need to program into the microchip. This will be both tedious and boring, but it needs to be done accurately if this whole circuit is going to function correctly. After that, the programming begins! Hopefully with the code sent to me by Professor Volpe’s colleague, the process will be exponentially less painless.

That’s all for now, I hope you’re smiling