Professor: Mr. Charles B. Malloch, PhD
University of Massachusetts- Amherst
Abstract: CoolerPAD is a 'smart-cooling' station that responds to change in temperature of its surrounding by switching On/Off the fan, once a predefined temperature threshold is reached. Can be used as a laptop cooler, table-top fan or even as an exhaust fan.
1)12 V DC Brushless computer fan.
2)12 V DC input.
4)TMP36 (temperature sensor)
5)LCD Module 1602A (optional/ for temperature display)
The project started as a simple 'on - off' fan that would have been achieved with the help of a tactile switch. But as time classes progressed, and more and more brainstorming sessions, it took a more 'automated' turn. This gave birth to the idea of creating a automated- response oriented cooling solution. Given that this was my first , full fledged hands-on project where I actually built a circuit, it demanded a lot of research regarding both theoretical and practical content. Researching right from why thermal management is crucial in a circuit to working of a simple MOSFET, I tackled a lot of topics throughout the semester.
Of course, this came with problems. Since, currently I have a limited coding experience, I faced some difficulty while applying and implementing the basic idea. I overcame this by learning as I was coding, i.e. looking up various/similar lines of codes, and thus applying the concepts while learning about them. Secondly, since I was basically combining two separate projects (1. Displays temperature /2.Switches fan on/off) I faced some difficulty while interweaving them together. Apart from this, debugging the circuit/ choosing components etc. were some of the smaller problems. But, of course , all of this helped me achieve what I had set out for. I successfully completed the project and was ready for the final, Circuits and Code event. As far as future plans for this project are concerned, I wish to clean up the circuit by implementing a more sophisticated wiring and soldering the required components/wires. Furthermore, I wish to assemble the circuit in an enclosure that will serve the purpose of a laptop cooler, by 3D printing the case and the necessary air vents. Finally, for portability, I'll connect the circuit with batteries.
M5: M5 has played a pivotal role in the completion of this project. By 'M5', I not only mean the Maker-space or the countless readily available electronic components, but also the helpful staff, TA and of course the professor!There is a fine line between 'spoon-feeding' and 'instruction' which I think M5 handles beautifully. Professors, staff helps by guiding towards the solution and not by simply 'giving' the solution, thus provoking critical thinking among the students. Apart from this, M5 can help improve by adding extra operational hour slots either during breaks or holidays, which can help students work on their projects etc.