# Competition #1: Most Imaginative Project

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#### ElectroMaster

Competition #1: Most Imaginative Project

Welcome to the very first Competition on Electro Tech!

Sponsored by: - Supplier of PIC based microcontroller kits

Information

Using limited components you must build the most imaginative electronics project. You can use any number and type of interface components (for example LEDs, Relays, Switches, speakers, mics, etc.), however you are limited to maximum of 4 transistors, 10 resistors, and 6 capacitors. You must have a decent amount of text explaining your project, any schematics and also a photo of the completed project.

Judging

For this competition judging will be based on creativity and presentation. Both Moderators and Members have the chance to vote. Moderators (all 6) will each vote on their favorite project giving that project 1 point. Members will also be able to vote and the project with the most votes will be awarded 3 points, second 2 points and third 1 point. That makes a total of 12 points. The top three projects with the most points will win prizes. If there is a draw, the decider will be highest number of Member votes.

Prizes

1# $100 Voucher and a Junebug ( link ) 2#$50 Voucher
3# \$25 Voucher

Entering the Competition

Entries can be submitted by email. Simply send your entry to electro.tech.online.com@gmail.com before 18th June 2008 (6 weeks from this post) and you will be entered into the competition. The subject of the email should be "Contest Entry For Electro Tech". Things to include in the email are:

Documentation - Project Title, Project Overview, Theory of Operation, Bill of Materials, Comments/Notes.
Images - Schematics, PCB pictures, Finished Project.
Video - Do not send via email because of gmail limit, however mention it and we will work something out. Video is not required it is optional.

Please double check your work before sending it in. This is very important because you will be allow one revision only. That means if you send it in with mistakes and wish to correct them you only have one chance. This is to prevent to much work for publishing them on the site.

Good luck to all!

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Note: Please do not debate the competition rules in this thread, if you want to comment on how competition work please use the Feedback/Comments forum. However, if you are unsure or do not understand a rule then it is okay to ask her.

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#### ElectroMaster

Entries Successfully Entered

We have received and approved the following entries for the first competiton:

- High/Low Pulse Indicator

- Charge Pump Using Astable Multivibrator

You can vote by submitting the Poll within the entrants post. Please note that you cannot reply to entries. Voting will end 18th August.

Please also note that some projects may or may not have followed the rules entirely, however, this is the first competition se we have been a bit lenient. If you are unhappy about this simply do not vote for that project.

I would also like to thank all the contestants, allot of work has gone into these projects and it's great to see!

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#### kjennejohn

##### New Member
I love it!

I have some questions about parts use:
1. I have been tinkering with an idea for a circuit using a brandname BASIC-driven PIC processor. Do I have to use generic PIC parts?
2. Is there a limitation to the number and complexity of ICs in this competition?
This project uses an octal latch and an octal address comparator. I might want to implement a serial port, too, so would need to add a MAX232.

The serial port usage leads to the question: Must this be entirely self-contained, or can it interact with other devices, like a PC or other embedded processor?

Neat. I like the idea of an open forum like this running a simple(?) design competition.
Thanks for the opportunity.

kenjj

#### Torben

##### Well-Known Member
2. Is there a limitation to the number and complexity of ICs in this competition?
kenjj
I'm not sure, but I would read the rules to mean that you can use any number of ICs as long as the total number of transistors doesn't exceed 4. Most ICs contain a *lot* of transistors. So maybe 2 Darlingtons would be the maximum number of ICs? I think most other ICs contain way too many transistors.

In other words I thought that ICs were essentially ruled out. If I'm wrong about this I hope someone who does know can correct me.

Torben

##### New Member
You cannot use integrated circuits. Only transistors, capacitors, resistors and other interface components.

#### Glyph

##### New Member
does a potentiometer count as one resistor or two?

The resistances on either side of the tap are seperate, but not independent, resistances.

So from one point of view its two, since those are essentially two resistors in series with a center tap.

From another point of view its one since both resistances are dependent on each other and the relationship cannot be changed or seperated.

Another argument is that the potentiometer is an interface device so might be exempt from the resistor rule.

I have no idea what the rule should be, I'll err on the side of caution and call it two which is the most limiting rule.

What do the judges think?

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
If you use the potentiometer as a single resistor it counts as one.
If you use the potentiometer as two resistors it counts as two.

#### Glyph

##### New Member
excellent, good to know.

Another quick question: One circuit idea i have requires a calibration step before it can be used. The issue is that the calibration requires that the user hook up a voltmeter to the circuit and adjust the potentiometer until a certain reading is reached. Once this is set the voltmeter can be disconnected and the circuit will function as is.

I'm wondering if the calibration step might imply the circuit actually includes the voltmeter (and the excess of components inside). Its nearly impossible to correctly set up the circuit without the calibration step. So you have to have the voltmeter on hand to get the circuit going.

Do all circuits must "totally work out of the box", or are calibrations with specialized equipment allowed?

And:
Am I asking too many questions?

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
Am I asking too many questions?
Heck no.

If you will, PM me what you are thinking about.

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
excellent, good to know.

Another quick question: One circuit idea i have requires a calibration step before it can be used. The issue is that the calibration requires that the user hook up a voltmeter to the circuit and adjust the potentiometer until a certain reading is reached. Once this is set the voltmeter can be disconnected and the circuit will function as is.

I'm wondering if the calibration step might imply the circuit actually includes the voltmeter (and the excess of components inside). Its nearly impossible to correctly set up the circuit without the calibration step. So you have to have the voltmeter on hand to get the circuit going.

Do all circuits must "totally work out of the box", or are calibrations with specialized equipment allowed?
Calibration would be fine, no problem - and a voltmeter actually as part of the circuit would be fine as well, coming under the 'unlimited interface components'. I would also include potentiometers under that banner as well, although obviously if you used lots of potentiometers in the place of resistors to get over the resistor limitation that wouldn't be allowed.

The original premise for this competition was mine, based on the idea that it should be simple and cheap - so everyone has an equal chance (otherwise people with much more money, and in countries with better access to components, would have an unfair advantage). I personally wouldn't consider the rules as "cast in stone", and while using 11 resistors instead of 10 is breaking the rules, it shouldn't exclude the project, merely be a mark against it. So a project using 11 resistors would have to be substantially better than one with only 10, or the one with 10 would beat it.

That's my thoughts anyway!

#### Torben

##### Well-Known Member
Calibration would be fine, no problem - and a voltmeter actually as part of the circuit would be fine as well, coming under the 'unlimited interface components'. I would also include potentiometers under that banner as well, although obviously if you used lots of potentiometers in the place of resistors to get over the resistor limitation that wouldn't be allowed.

The original premise for this competition was mine, based on the idea that it should be simple and cheap - so everyone has an equal chance (otherwise people with much more money, and in countries with better access to components, would have an unfair advantage). I personally wouldn't consider the rules as "cast in stone", and while using 11 resistors instead of 10 is breaking the rules, it shouldn't exclude the project, merely be a mark against it. So a project using 11 resistors would have to be substantially better than one with only 10, or the one with 10 would beat it.

That's my thoughts anyway!
I think that's very reasonable and fair.

Torben

#### jpanhalt

##### Well-Known Member
Calibration would be fine, no problem - and a voltmeter actually as part of the circuit would be fine as well, coming under the 'unlimited interface components'.
The exclusion of human interface components makes sense, but does open a door. What if one used a voltmeter not only to display a voltage but as a component that affected the action of the circuit. I am thinking of something like hacking it or a digital watch to provide timing. Thus, perhaps it should be stipulated that interface components must not be active parts of the device.

I would also include potentiometers under that banner as well, although obviously if you used lots of potentiometers in the place of resistors to get over the resistor limitation that wouldn't be allowed.
If pots will not to be counted as resistors, there should be a limit on number.

I personally wouldn't consider the rules as "cast in stone", and while using 11 resistors instead of 10 is breaking the rules, it shouldn't exclude the project, merely be a mark against it. So a project using 11 resistors would have to be substantially better than one with only 10, or the one with 10 would beat it.
I fully agree that this must be kept a civil competition, and since this is an early venture, it is sensible that some of the rules may need to be re-evaluated early on as the event progresses. However, at some point, the rules need to be fixed. In a football match, there is no such thing as being only halfway out of bounds. Can you image what would happen if the referees has discretion on what the bounds of the field would be for any give player? John

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
What Nigel said was
I would also include potentiometers under that banner as well, although obviously if you used lots of potentiometers in the place of resistors to get over the resistor limitation that wouldn't be allowed.
That agrees with what I said earlier.
If you use the potentiometer as a single resistor it counts as one.
If you use the potentiometer as two resistors it counts as two.
In general if a part is used to provide input to your circuit it will not be counted as part of that circuit. The same sort of thing goes for output. If in doubt ask.

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#### Boncuk

##### New Member
If you use the potentiometer as a single resistor it counts as one.
If you use the potentiometer as two resistors it counts as two.
... and using half of a potentiometer it counts as zero.

Are we counting peas here? How do you use a pot as two resistors?

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#### HarveyH42

##### Banned
How about a separate thread for the actual projects, and another for imaginative ways to circumvent the rules.

Anyway, a potentiometer is one component, and should be counted as such. Is an extra resistor going to give the project such a huge advantage? Judging from the tone of this thread, got a hunch this isn't gaining much popularity.

ElectroMaster stated things pretty simple and clearly, why make it such a nightmare. I probably would have put something in about what order project are submitted. First entered, should carry more weight over similar/same later entries.

#### Glyph

##### New Member
Sorry if i'm making things a nightmare, i just want to make sure i understand the rules before i submit something and end up looking like an idiot because i didn't understand the rules.

The great majority of projects will probably easily fit with the rules clearly and unambiguously. But there are a small set of projects which might use imaginative configurations or components that have alternative intepretations as to their use and function. I'm not trying to circumvent the rules, i want to fit within them. In order to do so, i have to know what they are.

jpanhalt makes a good example with his football example.

Whether a rule is one way or another doesn't really matter, as long as there *IS* a rule that everyone can understand and then adjust their actions accordingly. No one is going to complain about the potentiometer rule as long there *IS* one. I was stirring up discussion over it because there wasn't one and i was uncertain how to label my circuit.

Whatever decision the judges make, i'll abide it, as long as they make a decision.

#### jpanhalt

##### Well-Known Member
Are there limits on diodes and inductors? If the inductor or capacitor is an input device, I assume it is not limited. Is that correct? Does the same go for Hall transistors?

John

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
Using limited components you must build the most imaginative electronics project. You can use any number and type of interface components (for example LEDs, Relays, Switches, speakers, mics, etc.), however you are limited to maximum of 4 transistors, 10 resistors, and 6 capacitors. You must have a decent amount of text explaining your project, any schematics and also a photo of the completed project.

Are there limits on diodes and inductors? If the inductor or capacitor is an input device, I assume it is not limited. Is that correct? Does the same go for Hall transistors?
John
Interface components provide input or output to your project. The examples given were (LEDs, Relays, Switches, speakers, mics, etc). This list provides the spirit of what an interface component is. I do not see a capacitor or inductor as an input device unless it was part of an input device such as a mic or a speaker. If in doubt ask.

As an interface component you can use a relay to turn on a lamp. You can not use relays to build logic circuits. You can use LED's as as indicators, you can not use them in your circuit as a stand in for other diodes.

I can see the use of Hall effect transistors as interface component. If not they should be counted as a transistor. I have no idea if it even makes sense, but this is a contest about innovation.

Nigel can best answer the question about diodes and inductors. This contest is his idea and he is showing interest, so I will not speculate.

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