Solarflare Communications, 2018
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, CB4 1YT
I spent two months working in the hardware department of Solarflare Communications, Cambridge.
SFP+, QSFP, and JTAG: My main project during my internship was to design a device to test the power supplies of Solarflare Network Interface Cards (NICs). The devices interface with the NICs via the SFP or QSFP ports (different PCBs for each). The control was via the I2C bus, as controlled by the XJTAG test software.
Each device features an EEPROM to store the device serial number and use cycle counter. An I2C I/O Expander then controls MOSFET switches which switch 1W loads onto the power supply rails. An ADC then measures the supply voltage both with and without the load present.
Delphi Diesel Systems, 2014
Gillingham, Kent, United Kingdom, ME8 0RU
I spent a week working in the electronics department at Delphi.
Repairing: I was given faulty units – ranging from power supplies to multimeters – and a set of testing equipment including a function generator and an oscilloscope. I would use the equipment to find faulty components either by electronic analysis or by visual examination. Once identified, I would replace the components to attempt to fix the device.
Assembly: I was asked to assemble cables from base components to specification. For instance a four metre XLR male to male cable. This would involve cutting and stripping the cable, soldering it to the relevant terminals on the connector, insulating it with heat shrink, and assembling it into a usable whole.
Radio Design, 2016
Shipley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, BD17 7DW
I spent a week shadowing the production engineers on the assembly floor in Salt’s Mill.
Observing: I followed one of the engineers around as he completed a variety of tasks. These included monitoring progress of particular models or units on the assembly line; negotiating with other technicians and engineers; fault-finding.
Assembly: I helped the engineer who I shadowed to place the tuning screws on a microwave radio filter; at one point in the week, I was required to assemble five identical units which would allow computers to interface with filters for testing purposes. This involved cutting and stripping wire to length, soldering and insulating, and assembling the casing.
Troubleshooting: For the first two days, I shadowed an engineer in charge of fault-finding. He would receive units which had failed their benchmark tests and attempt to determine the cause of failure by comparing the unit to the design files. If the problem was simple, he would fix it (e.g. replacing basic components like resistors and capacitors) then send it back through calibration. If the problem were more complex, he would redirect it to the relevant section of the assembly line to be repaired.
Statistical Analysis: For one afternoon, I was given a spreadsheet and a corresponding table of figures for units which had failed tests and been sent back through the production line. My task was to input the data into the spreadsheet and then produce a graphical representation of some of the data given. This allowed me to identify problems with particular units, models, and areas of the production line based on the frequency with which they appeared on my graph.
Sue Ryder, 2015-16
Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD21 3RB
I volunteered every Wednesday afternoon during term time for a whole academic year. My responsibilities were:
Processing Transactions: With both cash and credit/debit cards for purchases and returns.
Customer Relations: Customers would often note that I was in school uniform and ask me about my school volunteering program along with other questions about my school. Frequently I would have to give directions to places in town or answer questions about Skipton. I also dealt with questions about items in the shop such as the ukuleles and guitars stocked in the windows. As it was a charity shop, I would have to accept and process donations. This quite often involved asking people if they had a giftaid registration with Sue Ryder and talking them through the application form if they hadn’t.
Stock Management: When fewer people were in the shop, I would be asked to price piles of books, DVDs, and CDs. This required me to be organised and efficient so that I could get the products onto the shelves as quickly as possible with no mistakes or omissions.
Electronics with Cyber Security, 2014
Smallpiece Trust in collaboration with Qinetiq, GCHQ, and The University of Portsmouth
The University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, PO1 2UP
I spent a week on the Smallpiece Trust course learning about basic electronics and cyber security among people my age whom I had never previously met.
The main electronic task was to create an electronic “mouse” which would follow a black tape line on a white floor using LDRs and op amp comparators. This task allowed me to experience working in a team effectively where each member had a different responsibility and everyone was equally important.
The cyber security task involved learning basic UNIX commands and navigating to “secret” files to locate cyphers and decode messages.
- Circuit Wizard 3 (New Wave Concepts)
- Xpedition Enterprise (Mentor Graphics)
- Microsoft Office including Excel and Access
- EAGLE CAD (Cadsoft)
- 2D Design (Techsoft)
- Soldering (Through hole, SMD as small as 0201 (imperial) components)
- General Workshop Tools