About The Experiments In This Book

Before launching into Experiment #1 in Chapter 2, it will be better if you first understand what is involved in the setup of all five experiments. After reading this section, you will come away with a much better appreciation of how we structured the code you will use to execute the experiments.

To establish a basis for our coding structure, we will treat the five interrelated experiments as one grand experiment, where each experiment shares some components of the whole. To do this effectively, we need to design a plan to successfully accomplish this task. For example, you wouldn't start building a house without a detailed plan to build the entire house. Imagine just building individual rooms that "might" come together later on with some luck, nails and duct tape! Then neither should you begin a series of interrelated experiments without a well thought-out plan. Scientists and engineers rarely just start experimenting without first considering the scope of the work to be done, as well as the procedures that will be carried out to correctly accomplish each experimental task. So, to stay in line with what the pros do, let's review what we want to accomplish and how each experiment will proceed.

First let's examine the name and intent of each of the five experiments:

• Chapter 2: Experiment #1, Programmable Battery Charger

• Chapter 3: Experiment #2, Dueling Solar Cells

• Chapter 4: Experiment #3, Solar Cell Sun Tracker

• Chapter 5: Experiment #4, Half and Full Wave Rectification

• Chapter 6: Experiment #5, Three-Phase AC Alternator

It may not be evident at this point but as we said earlier, each experiment draws on components of the whole. Therefore, it is vital for you to carefully follow directions and not deviate too much from the plans that are presented, including the order in which they are presented. There will certainly be enough opportunity to work "outside the box" in each experiment, but it is important to follow the detailed directions that serve as the foundation and structural framework of this entire experimental process.

To help visualize this process, think of each experiment as a separate floor in a five-story building. To make the building strong enough to support each floor, one needs to start with the correct foundation and then build the superstructure to hold each floor. In other words, you can't proceed to the next floor until the first floor is finished. Similarly, you can't jump to the Solar Cell Sun Tracker experiment unless the previous A/D Converter and Dueling Solar Cells experiments are built, programmed and tested. And that's just what this chapter is about; building the foundation and superstructure for each experiment, in the correct order, so that when you're done your final experimental results will stand strong and tall!

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