Ordering Parts

Steps for obtaining parts

As soon as you know which parts you'll need for your design, it's a good idea to start acquiring them. There are a few ways to do this, depending on what you need:

  1. ECE Service Shop: The first option is to check the ECE service shop in 1041 ECEB. You will find many of the passive components you are likely to need. You can check the ECE Service Shop catalog here. Note that there will be some items available that are not in the catalog, so you might want to check with the ECE service stop staff if you do not see something you need on this list.
    The ECE service shop also has larger components, such as transformers or large batteries. You will need an instructor to check these out for you. All major parts provided by the service shop must be returned at the end of the semester.
  2. ECE Supply Center: The second option is to have the parts ordered from a catalog by using your my.ece page or the ECE Supply Center (located in 1031 ECEB). You need the permission of your TA for this option, and if you do not place the order through my.ece, you will need to fill out this order form and have your TA sign it. Alternatively, you can charge the parts to your student ID if you need to pay for them yourself.
  3. Orders that the Parts Shop and ECE Stores cannot help you with can be special ordered from a number of companies available through your my.ece web page parts order form. This will require TA approval before the order is processed. Once you place the order, it is important to email your TA to let them know there is an order that requires their approval. Otherwise, the order may be delayed! Since many part orders are usually placed with common vendors like Digi-key, these orders may be grouped into bulk orders placed on Wednesday and Friday.
  4. If all of these methods fail, your order will need to go through the ECE Business Office with the help of your TA.
  5. Of course, it is always possible and encouraged to purchase your own parts from a local store (Radio Shack, Best Buy, etc.). Be warned that unless you receive TA approval to be reimbursed for these parts before you purchase them, you will not be reimbursed!

Note: Each group has a budget of around $40 that can be spent on parts and resources. If small parts are needed, it is strongly encouraged that you just buy it yourself. Since there is no required textbook for the course, we figure the small monetary payout is more than offset by the savings in time and hassle for your group. Also, if you intend to keep your project when you're finished, we ask that you purchase the parts yourself.

Details on obtaining parts

There are four main methods, varying widely in the cost incurred to the course and the waiting time. They are listed here, most desirable first.

The ECE Service Shop (aka Parts Shop), room 1041 ECEB

This is the Department's electronic service facility. They maintain a large stock of standard components which may be used without charge for student projects in this and other courses.

The shop's available stock may be examined on-line via the shop's web site. The staff in the parts shop are also a good source for information, so if you have trouble tracking down a particular part, they can sometimes help brainstorm alternatives.

ECE Stores

ECE Stores, in 1031 ECEB, has a wider range of parts and carries other things such as small pieces of test equipment, computer cables, office supplies, etc. It is run as a self-supporting retail operation, however, so that these parts are not free.

ECE Stores sells directly to students for personal purchases at any time. No authorization slips are needed if you are purchasing parts with your own money.

The ECE Stores catalog is available on-line.

To order from ECE Stores and charge to the course, figure out your order and fill out one of these order forms. The authorization form must be signed by your TA, as it involves transfer of funds from the course account. The orders are filled immediately over the counter, once authorized.

my.ece.illinois.edu

Items not available directly from either the ECE Service Shop or ECE Stores may usually be specially ordered through the parts ordering form on your my.ece page.

These requests must be approved by your TA, so it is your responsibility to notify your TA once the order has been requested online. It is generally recommended that you discuss the order with your TA beforehand to ascertain if it is truly necessary. Delivery for most companies varies from two to seven business days, and your order will be delivered to the lab. Ask your TA if you're uncertain where it has been placed.

Orders from Digi-key will be grouped together and placed Wednesday and Friday. Please have orders in by noon Wednesday and 3pm Friday.

Free Samples from Companies

It should be mentioned that companies many times are willing to provide small quantities of their products to students engaged in design projects. You might consider approaching the manufacturer directly, particularly regarding their newer products which they are interested in promoting. Don't count on success with this, but it has often been very useful.

Personal Purchases

Personal purchases can be made through local merchants or mail-order.

It is sometimes expedient or desirable to make a personal purchase, even when the project is not being built to keep as personal property.

Subject to prior approval from your TA, reimbursements can be made. The Department will need the original copy of your itemized store receipt or invoice in order to make the refund. Purchases made without prior approval will not be refunded, in any case.

S.I.P. (Smart Irrigation Project)

Jackson Lenz, James McMahon

S.I.P. (Smart Irrigation Project)

Featured Project

Jackson Lenz

James McMahon

Our project is to be a reliable, robust, and intelligent irrigation controller for use in areas where reliable weather prediction, water supply, and power supply are not found.

Upon completion of the project, our device will be able to determine the moisture level of the soil, the water level in a water tank, and the temperature, humidity, insolation, and barometric pressure of the environment. It will perform some processing on the observed environmental factors to determine if rain can be expected soon, Comparing this knowledge to the dampness of the soil and the amount of water in reserves will either trigger a command to begin irrigation or maintain a command to not irrigate the fields. This device will allow farmers to make much more efficient use of precious water and also avoid dehydrating crops to death.

In developing nations, power is also of concern because it is not as readily available as power here in the United States. For that reason, our device will incorporate several amp-hours of energy storage in the form of rechargeable, maintenance-free, lead acid batteries. These batteries will charge while power is available from the grid and discharge when power is no longer available. This will allow for uninterrupted control of irrigation. When power is available from the grid, our device will be powered by the grid. At other times, the batteries will supply the required power.

The project is titled S.I.P. because it will reduce water wasted and will be very power efficient (by extremely conservative estimates, able to run for 70 hours without input from the grid), thus sipping on both power and water.

We welcome all questions and comments regarding our project in its current form.

Thank you all very much for you time and consideration!