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  • How did you get started?

    I'm considering a change of career to something in the renewable energy/solar sector, and currently exploring various paths.

    I'm curious how people currently working in the industry got started. What got you interested? What did you do before? Tell your story.

    ☀️

  • #2
    I am not in the industry. But here is where I got my degree from : ElectronicLab.jpg

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    • #3
      Originally posted by cebury View Post
      I am not in the industry. But here is where I got my degree from : ElectronicLab.jpg
      Hey: I had something very similar to that when I was ~ 10 yrs. old or so. Honest. Great learning tool. A breadboard, a bunch of components, and probably still one of the best and clearest basic books on electricity I own. That's how I learned about & made my 1st and very own Wheatstone bridge.

      Flash forward ~ 25 yrs. I'm fooling around with a some components, small step motors and a some photocells in my basement shop trying to design a sensor for a gimbaled tracker for a small collector I'd made. Among other things, I remembered what I learned about the Wheatstone bridge, still had the manual from the old kit and got more useful info out of it. The tracker might have worked if I'd not lost interest. Point is, training never stops.
      Last edited by J.P.M.; 10-06-2017, 12:15 AM.

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      • #4
        Yeah, real engineers knew what they wanted to do at about age 10. I can never take too seriously those who "decide" to become engineers in college. They might have the degree, but a true engineer already has 10-15 yrs on them. So how did I start? By taking things apart as a kid and figuring out how stuff works.

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        • #5
          wow. all they had in mine was a cats whisker & crystal
          Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
          || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
          || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

          solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
          gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kb58 View Post
            Yeah, real engineers knew what they wanted to do at about age 10. I can never take too seriously those who "decide" to become engineers in college. They might have the degree, but a true engineer already has 10-15 yrs on them. So how did I start? By taking things apart as a kid and figuring out how stuff works.
            When I was 10, I thought I wanted to be a farmer after helping/hanging out at grandparents' farm. By 16 I knew I didn't have the balls to work that hard or as persistently, and also gamble with my future every time a crop went in the ground. I've got lots of respect for those who do.

            As for higher ed., what's learned in university is no more than a template, or a set of facts to be used as tools and examples that, hopefully, the student will then use to develop real skills and a world view that will allow the student to begin a real engineering education, and use all that to think and see the world like an engineer to develop and use those acquired skills in ways that will improve things. Too bad some confuse a tuition receipt with a profession.

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            • #7
              And don't get me started on how kids these days are brainwashed into feeling they're special. We get new college grads who are disappointed that they don't get the corner office, and assume they'll immediately make enough to get the BMW M-coupe and the house on the beach. Talk about an entitlement mentality...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by cebury View Post
                I am not in the industry. But here is where I got my degree from : ElectronicLab.jpg
                After fixing clocks and fans, I got into electronics with a Knight 10-in-1 kit, 3 vacuum tubes. Receiver, transmitter,
                electric eye and a few other things. It was a while before transistors got into the experimenter price range, and
                integrated circuits hadn't been invented yet.

                School might teach basics on how things work, but that is a small part of what is required to
                get and maintain quality stuff in the field. Some never do get the quality part. Bruce Roe

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by kb58 View Post
                  And don't get me started on how kids these days are brainwashed into feeling they're special. We get new college grads who are disappointed that they don't get the corner office, and assume they'll immediately make enough to get the BMW M-coupe and the house on the beach. Talk about an entitlement mentality...
                  We are on the same page. Those with fewer critical thinking skills than ego are easier to brainwash. Glad I'm retired and don't need to search for technical people to hire any more. When I did, I noticed a generally inverse correlation between ego and the ability to think like an engineer in the people I interviewed. Entitled feeling people were always around. Somehow, they just seem more prevalent now. But that's way off topic.

                  Rant mode off.

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                  • #10
                    Another aspect not touched on is that hands-on real-world experience - before or during college - is extremely important. We've had new grads who where experts at CAD design, but because they hadn't had the experience of making things first, they'd come up with designs that couldn't be built. And yes, way off topic.

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                    • #11
                      I was 8 or 9 yrs old and got a Tonka Fire Truck for Kwanzaa, I tried to be grateful and I admit it was fun for a few min's. later that day my mother ask what was wrong and I told her that I had hinted to her all year that I would love a chemistry set and or a 75 in one electronic set. We already had so many toys, What I wanted was tools. After the holidays we had to make a trip to the dump, we were not supposed to get out of the truck, but I could see a hospital operating light on a counter weighted boom and could not contain myself. I begged and she agreed to let me get it. I could have lifted the lamp end of the thing myself but the counter weight was lead and close to 60lbs, so a man at the dump helped me get it into the truck. it was a deep parabolic aluminum reflector with a high polish chrome finish on the inside 4 feet in diameter, I was able to burn wood, boil water and fry eggs and bacon. I even used it to amplify sound with a center placed microphone and experimented with my super precious radio shack silicon solar cell. I must have run test and experiments for several years with that thing. I utilized every part, the large lens made a cool chicken coop window and the lead smelted and poured into bullets for black powder and reloads. Best of times.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kb58 View Post
                        Another aspect not touched on is that hands-on real-world experience - before or during college - is extremely important. We've had new grads who where experts at CAD design, but because they hadn't had the experience of making things first, they'd come up with designs that couldn't be built. And yes, way off topic.
                        I observed that the best machine designers were machinists before taking up design, and the best piping system designers were pipe fitters before becoming fluid system designers. CAD jockeys who think they know things because they can operate software are dangerous and are time wasters, and seem to be on the verge of becoming ubiquitous.

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                        • #13
                          I figured that pic would bring back a lot of memories for folks here. I was going to start my own thread but wasnt sure it was worthy of more than a chuckle so I hopped on the OPs question about early experiences. I played with one at age 10 and wanted my own, but we were poor until I got my first job and bought one myself at 14. I just pulled this one out last month, had given it to my son at 12 who went through maybe 10 of the designs and got bored. My 9 year old daughter is really into science now, wants to be in forensics somehow, but she was excited when she saw the kit, which is what I was secretly hoping. If I said "I have a new learning tool for you" she wouldve made a face and put it back into her books. But because I took some pics and left it for her to find, I got more of her attention. I hope it holds.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Logan5 View Post
                            After the holidays we had to make a trip to the dump, we were not supposed to get out of the truck, but I could see a hospital operating light on a counter weighted boom and could not contain myself. I begged and she agreed to let me get it. I could have lifted the lamp end of the thing myself but the counter weight was lead and close to 60lbs, so a man at the dump helped me get it into the truck...
                            Back before children were hidden away from reality, we used to ride our bikes (by ourselves!!) to the county dump and dig through the piles to find really cool stuff. Kinda like you, I found a "big ear" microphone which I promptly covered with aluminum and did much like you.

                            I also recall finding big appliance cardboard boxes, climbing into them, and rolling down the slope where everyone dumped stuff. You know, like broken glass, sharp pipes, cactus. It was the best of times...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Logan5 View Post
                              I was 8 or 9 yrs old and got a Tonka Fire Truck for Kwanzaa, I tried to be grateful and I admit it was fun for a few min's. later that day my mother ask what was wrong and I told her that I had hinted to her all year that I would love a chemistry set and or a 75 in one electronic set. We already had so many toys, What I wanted was tools. After the holidays we had to make a trip to the dump, we were not supposed to get out of the truck, but I could see a hospital operating light on a counter weighted boom and could not contain myself. I begged and she agreed to let me get it. I could have lifted the lamp end of the thing myself but the counter weight was lead and close to 60lbs, so a man at the dump helped me get it into the truck. it was a deep parabolic aluminum reflector with a high polish chrome finish on the inside 4 feet in diameter, I was able to burn wood, boil water and fry eggs and bacon. I even used it to amplify sound with a center placed microphone and experimented with my super precious radio shack silicon solar cell. I must have run test and experiments for several years with that thing. I utilized every part, the large lens made a cool chicken coop window and the lead smelted and poured into bullets for black powder and reloads. Best of times.
                              Good story.

                              Thanx.

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