Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A last minute problem

Finally my group completed the fabrication of Auto Pumping Water Treatment Unit for Engineering Team Project (ETP). It's basically to use a small mechanical pump (sprinkler) to push water through the filter (LifeStraw Persona).

This evening, we carried out detailed testing to check again the flow rate and if the unit is working properly with all the piping fixed.
P/s: the water quality is empirically proven to be safe for drinking.

Earlier on we had preliminary testing on the flow rate. The flow rate was slightly fine with voltage set to be 12v. However, something went wrong this evening. The water didn't come out at all despite that the pump kept pushing in the water through the filter. Thus, it's sort of project fails. Everyone started to appear anxious and become very helpless considering very little time left and worst of all was having no idea of which part caused the problem. We revisited the problem. A simple theory is applied --> [accumulation = volume in - volume out]. Two solutions we managed to think of. My Robocon member suggested replacing with an AC pump with bigger capacity which we have not procured yet. I came out with an idea to raise the operating voltage to 18v. The pump is prescribed to be operated at 6v. We however had tried out 12v, so why not 18v! The rest were kind of skeptic and pessimistic about my idea. They were afraid that the pump could be spoil. But I managed to make them to go back to lab for retesting.

So, we got the lab again and tried it by raising the voltage 3 times as much as the prescribed voltage. Firstly, the pump can actually sustain 18v. Perhaps can raise it to 24v which for sure will yield better flow rate. haha...I would say that it is very rugged and all rounded! Luckily. Secondly the flow rate was improved significantly. Filling 1.5 liter mineral bottle took 2.20 minute. What do you think? It's essentially to cater for campers and hikers. They do not rush time!

So, problem is virtually resolved and hopefully there is no more problem pops out. When there is problem, everyone like turned it to me being the leader! What pissed me more is that they said that we should not have chosen this project. There's a saying in Cantonese: "There will be no beggar if one knows early that he or she can possibly in future." Screw them!...

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