E80 Spring 2016 – The Ultimate Adventure

Welcome to E80 The Next Generation

What Is E80

E80, Experimental Engineering, is a sophomore-level, semester-long required course, involving multiple experiments covering a number of engineering disciplines. Experimental Engineering is an essential part of the engineering curriculum at Harvey Mudd College, and has been offered as a course for fifteen years. Its predecessor, E54, with more experiments, but without a field experience, was offered for more than 20 years.The primary purpose of the course is to teach basic instrumentation and measurement techniques; good lab report practice; technical report writing; analysis and presentation of data; the usage of experimental results for engineering design purposes; and the beginnings of professional practice. In 2008 the course was revamped to change the field experience to flying fully-instrumented model rockets.

This website has information primarily for students taking the course or planning on taking the course. They will find most of the information of interest to them in the first four tabs: Course Info, The Labs and Lectures, The Field Experience, and Prev. Gen. Rockets. Examples of the final presentations are available on the Flight Report page. However, those intersted in the history and design philisopy of the course, or in replicating E80 elsewhere will also be interested in History and Purpose. Those primarily interested in rocketry and cool videos and pictures should look in Prev. Gen. Rockets and Cool Stuff, particularly Photos and Flight Videos. If you have comments or questions about E80 or the website, feel free to contact Prof. Erik Spjut.

It's Been a Good Run

E80 The Next Generation was first conceived at a series of lunches in 2005 & 2006 by Professors Mary Cardenas and Erik Spjut. The first offering started January 2008. This season (2016) is E80 –TNG's last. As a result, there are a number of ultimate or final events. The photos from the penultimate and ultimate final launches are in the Photos page. There are three videos from the final launches on the Flight Videos page. The photos from the final set of Gravel Pit launches are also in the Photos page. The final static motor test videos are in the Static Test Videos page. As we gear up and plan for the exciting sequel, take a moment and reflect on where we've come from and what we've done. The sequel has a number, E80, but no name yet (although I favor E80 – DSV).


Meeting Times

*The lab sessions will be principally in the E80 Lab Room (P B171) and the Electronics Lab (P B181), but will also use the machine shops, the wind tunnel room, the ECF, the stockroom, and any other room or location that occurs to us, including the gravel pit and Linde Field.


Every E80 student is required to pay a lab fee of $75 in the Engineering Office, Parsons 2372 (Claremont Cash only), to help offset the enormous expense per student of E80. Once the fee has been paid, a kit consisting of a rocket, parachute, solderless breadboard, wire cutter/strippers, and screwdriver may be picked up from the Engineering Stockroom. The assembly instructions for the rocket are different from what is in the kit, so please don't attempt to assemble the rocket until you have read the first lab and the instructions contained therein.

LabVIEW and myDAQ

For most of the labs with electronics in them we will be using the myDAQ for data acquisition. We are not requiring students to purchas a myDAQ, but we strongly recommend that you buy your own myDAQ (with LabVIEW, Multisim, & Ultiboard). The biggest advantage is that you can work on your data collection VIs as part of prelab, which isn't allowed for the college-owned DAQs. You might as well be ahead on the curve and install LabVIEW on your own machine. If you choose not to buy the myDAQ with LabVIEW license, we still recommend you purchase a student version of LabVIEW and install it on your personal machine. There is also a 30-day trial complete version of LabVIEW available here. We use LabVIEW extensively in E80 and you have 7 LabVIEW assignments to complete. While LabVIEW will run on Windows, Linux, or OS X (although not currently on El Capitan, 10.11.X), the myDAQ and most other NI hardware only has drivers for the Windows version. For Mac users both Boot Camp and Parallels or VMware work reasonably well.

LabVIEW Text

We recommend you watch the Self-Paced Video Training instead of buying a text. There are also E80-specific training videos on the LabVIEW Assignments web page.

If you want a text, we recommend you get: Bishop, Robert H., Learning wth LabVIEW, Prentice Hall 2015, ISBN-10: 0134022122, ISBN-13: 9780134022123

We don't recommend the current or previous student edition texts that comes with the software because the texts all have older versions of LabVIEW.The software is upwardly, but not downwardly compatible. You will want the same version on all of your machines.


Course Objectives

By the end of the course students will:

  1. Demonstrate hardware and equipment skills:
    1. Demonstrate the safe and proper use of basic laboratory equipment: e.g., digital multimeter (DMM), signal generator, oscilloscope, breadboard, and analog transducers.
    2. Demonstrate the safe and proper use of computer-based and embedded-processor-based data acquisition systems.
    3. Demonstrate proper techniques for debugging/troubleshooting an experimental setup.
    4. Design, build, and fly a custom set of transducers to make engineering and/or scientific measurements.
  2. Demonstrate experimental and analytical skills:
    1. Demonstrate the design/planning and completion of safe experiments to answer open-ended questions.
    2. Demonstrate manipulation and presentation of experimentally-obtained data to answer open-ended questions.
    3. Analyze and compare the results of mathematical and computer modeling of an experiment with actual experimental results.
  3. Demonstrate the beginnings of professional practice:
    1. Effectively communicate in written form the design, completion, and analysis of experiments to answer open-ended questions.
    2. Effectively communicate by oral presentation and Q-and-A session the design, completion, and analysis of experiments to answer open-ended questions.

The Lecture Schedule

The Lecture Schedule
Date Tuesday Date Thursday
19 JAN 2016 Flight Data Basics 21 JAN 2016 Data Fitting and Analysis
26 JAN 2016 LabVIEW & MATLAB 28 JAN 2016 Basic Electrical Measurements
2 FEB 2016 Op-amps & Signal Conditioning 4 FEB 2016 Temperature Measurements
9 FEB 2016 Wind Tunnel & Fluid Measurements 11 FEB 2016 Thrust Measurements & Flight Modeling
16 FEB 2016 Inertial Measurement 18 FEB 2016 Vibration & System ID
23 FEB 2016 Atmospheric Science 25 FEB 2016 Sensors & Transducers
8 MAR 2016 Flight Hardware    
5 APR 2016 Field Operations & Safety    


The Lab Schedule

The Lab Schedule
Week of Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4
18 JAN 2016       First Flight
25 JAN 2016 First Flight First Flight First Flight BEM
1 FEB 2016 BEM BEM BEM Rotation 1
8 FEB 2016 Rotation 1 Rotation 1 Rotation 1 Rotation 2
15 FEB 2016 Rotation 2 Rotation 2 Rotation 2 Rotation 3
22 FEB 2016 Rotation 3 Rotation 3 Rotation 3 Rotation 4
29 FEB 2016 Rotation 4 Rotation 4 Rotation 4 Rotation 5
7 MAR 2016 Rotation 5 Rotation 5 Rotation 5 Propose & Design
14 MAR 2016 Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break
21 MAR 2016 Propose & Design Propose & Design Propose & Design No Lab
28 MAR 2016 Breadboard & Test Breadboard & Test Breadboard & Test Breadboard & Test
4 APR 2016 PC Board & Test PC Board& Test PC Board& Test PC Board& Test
11 APR 2016 Build, Test & Launch Build, Test & Launch Build, Test & Launch Build, Test & Launch
18 APR 2016 Rebuild, Retest & Relaunch Rebuild, Retest & Relaunch Rebuild, Retest & Relaunch Rebuild, Retest & Relaunch
25 APR 2016 Write Up Write Up Write Up Write Up
2 MAY 2016 Present Present Present Present
The Rotation Schedule
  Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5
Rotation 1 Op-Amps & Sig. Cond.

Static Test & Flight Model

Wind Tunnel Accel & Gyros Temperature
Rotation 2 Temperature Op-Amps & Sig. Cond. Static Test & Flight Model Wind Tunnel Accel & Gyros
Rotation 3 Accel & Gyros Temperature Op-Amps & Sig. Cond. Static Test & Flight Model Wind Tunnel
Rotation 4 Wind Tunnel Accel & Gyros Temperature Op-Amps & Sig. Cond. Static Test & Flight Model
Rotation 5 Static Test & Flight Model Wind Tunnel Accel & Gyros Temperature Op-Amps & Sig. Cond.


The LabVIEW Assignment Schedule

The LabVIEW Programming Assignment Due Dates
Due Date Number Name
29 JAN 2016 1 Read In Data File
5 FEB 2016 2 Write Out Data File
12 FEB 2016 3 Create Sub-VIs
19 FEB 2016 4 Use a For Loop
26 FEB 2016 5 Use a While Loop and Shift Register
4 MAR 2016 6 Control Execution Timing
11 MAR 2016 7 Frequency Response Function


Motor Testing Schedule (Subject to Change)

Date Team Motors
4 FEB 2016 S4T2 G79W-M, F62T-M
8 FEB 2016 S1T2

G77R-M*, F37W-M

9 FEB 2016 S2T2 G79W-M, F62T-M
10 FEB 2016 S3T2

G77R-M*, F37W-M

11 FEB 2016 S4T3 G79W-M, F62T-M
15 FEB 2016 S1T3 G77R-M, F37W-M
16 FEB 2016 S2T3 G79W-M, F62T-M
17 FEB 2016 S3T3 G77R-M, F37W-M
18 FEB 2016 S4T4 G79W-M, F62T-M
22 FEB 2016 S1T4 G77R-M, F37W-M
23 FEB 2016 S2T4 G79W-M, F62T-M
24 FEB 2016 S3T4 G77R-M, F37W-M
25 FEB 2016 S4T5 G79W-M, F62T-M
29 FEB 2016 S1T5 G77R-M, F37W-M
2 MAR 2016 S3T5 G77R-M, F37W-M
3 MAR 2016 S4T1 G79W-M, F62T-M
7 MAR 2016 S1T1 G77R-M, F37W-M
8 MAR 2016 S2T1 G79W-M, F62T-M
9 MAR 2016 S3T1 G77R-M, F37W-M

Thrust curves and data for the motors can be found in the rocket motor package, on Aerotech's website in the products PDF, or at thrustcurve.org.

*Motors marked with an asterisk are pre-loaded leftovers from last year. You'll have to switch the forward closure to a plugged forward closure.

Flight Schedule for April 2016

Sec 1 Team 1 G79W-M, G79W-M  Sec 1 Team 1 I205W-14A**, G79W-M
Sec 1 Team 2 I205W-14A**, H115DM-14A*  Sec 1 Team 2 G80NT-14A, G80NT-14A
Sec 1 Team 3 H135W-14A*, G125T-14A  Sec 1 Team 3 G79W-M, G79W-M
Sec 1 Team 4 G75J-M, G125T-14A  Sec 1 Team 4 H195NT-14A*, G125T-14A
Sec 1 Team 5 G80NT-14A, G125T-14A  Sec 1 Team 5 H135W-14A*, G80NT-14A
Sec 2 Team 1 H238T-M, G79W-M  Sec 2 Team 1 H165R-M, G79W-M
Sec 2 Team 2 H165R-M, G79W-M   Sec 2 Team 2 H128W-M, G79W-M
Sec 2 Team 3 H182R-14A*, G79W-M  Sec 2 Team 3 I205W-14A**, H115DM-14A*
Sec 2 Team 4 H238T-M, G79W-M   Sec 2 Team 4 H238T-M, G125T-14A
Sec 3 Team 1 H195NT-14A*, G80NT-14A   Sec 3 Team 1 H182R-14A*, G125T-14A
Sec 3 Team 2 I205W-14A**, G79W-M   Sec 3 Team 2 G79W-M, G77R-M
Sec 3 Team 3 H128W-M, G77R-M   Sec 3 Team 3 H238T-M, G79W-M
Sec 3 Team 4 H195NT-14A*, G75J-M   Sec 3 Team 4 H182R-14A*, G75J-M
Sec 3 Team 5 H135W-14A*, G80NT-14A   Sec 3 Team 5 H135W-14A*, G125T-14A
Sec 4 Team 1 H182R-14A*, G75J-M  Sec 4 Team 1 H115DM-14A*, G80NT-14A
Sec 4 Team 2 H115DM-14A*, G80NT-14A  Sec 4 Team 2 H195NT-14A*, G75J-M
Sec 4 Team 3 H165R-M, G79W-M  Sec 4 Team 3 H165R-M, G79W-M
Sec 4 Team 4 H128W-M, G80NT-14A  Sec 4 Team 4 H238T-M, G80NT-14A
Sec 4 Team 5 H238T-M, G125T-14A  Sec 4 Team 5 H128W-M, G75J-M

*Rockets flying with these motors require an extra-long motor mount.

**Rockets flying with these motors require an extra-extra-long motor mount and an extra-long body tube.

The list of available motors is here. If your motors are not already pre-assembled, we'll want you to assemble and label your two motors for a given week in the lab session preceeding the flight day.

Important: You need to check the flight characteristics of your finished rocket in Rocksim or Open Rocket with the motors you will fly. The "M" delay is approximately 10 seconds.We will have a limited number of "L" delays, which burn for approximately 14 seconds. We can't modify the delays to burn longer, but we can modify them to burn shorter. You may want to shorten the delay so that the 'chute pops out at apogee and not back on the ground. It's easiest to modify the delay time before you assemble the motor.


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