A Question about the population here

I just found this group. I have some experience in the groups but never really thought of looking for a controls group. I happened
across this group and was surprised to find a population. I thought I would post a little about myself and ask the regulars here to say hello.
I have been in instrumentation and controls for 25 years and started my own business about 15 years ago. My main customer base is the water/wastewater industry and small manufacturing plants. I started out learning controls in the US Navy where I took care of the control systems for the main propulsion plants on a conventional aircraft carrier (USS JFK). These controls were mainly pneumatic. Later I went to work for a company that contracted control systems work for the Navy and merchant marines. During that period I trained and went to school learning electronics/electricity and ended up running the labs at the company that I worked for at the time. This was in the mid 80's and I was also busy playing with those new fancy computers that had just come around and learned to write code. I'm talking about hex here. Later I learned some assembly languages which of course are now pretty useless other that understanding the history of computers, PLC and such. Blah bla blaaaa.
Anyhow, I moved back to my hometown and started a business, basically whoring out myself to anyone that would pay for my knowledge and found no shortage of work. My business did well and grew for six or seven years until I had the bad experience of having mental meltdown after a string of bad luck. At this point I should sidebar and explain a few things just to be fair.
It turns out that my family has a history of bipolar disorder (manic depression) and Celiac disease. It took me a while to get diagnosed properly and learn what I needed to do to get well again. For anyone that does not know bipolar disorder is a genetic predisposition for having swings in mood. Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune problem where the immune system sees gluten which is in bread as a poison and reacted against it, damaging the body. Celiac also causes mental confusion and mood swings. It appears to have triggered what the psychiatrists call bipolar disorder and I ended up having a wild ride of depression and hypomania. I do not recommend it. If anyone wants to simulate it, try taking speed one week and then valium the next for a few years and come talk to me. Anyway enough of that. The cure is pretty simple. I now eat only a few things that do not have the stuff that makes me sick. These medical problems pretty well screwed my business for a few years. I had to drop out for about six years now. I did not stay away from the industry and know some of what has transpired since then. I also took the time to investigate some emerging tech that I though would be hot soon and am in the process of building a business again.
So I thought that I might hang around here for a while and see whether you guys were all idiots or worthy of my notice. :-] Just a joke here. Flame me if you want. It makes no matter. I do have a lot of experience in a lot of different areas and I still am pretty sharp, though a bit slower getting around. Feel free to say hello or comment.
I need to spend some time researching the industry. For instance I was reading another post about nonlinear loading and followed a link to a web site one of you guys have up for their company. I see that he is using a software program to model process response. I never had this option and one of the things that I was well known for was my ability to tune complex systems by feel. I always was surprised at how poorly it seemed that most control techs understood the PID loop. Throw nonlinear I/O into this and forget it. Anyway like I said, I have a lot of experience in a lot of areas. I just touched on some of the things I have done. Hopefully that will come later.
I'm hoping that I will find a population here of some really bright people with good solid knowledge and experience. Maybe I can learn some new things which I am always open to and bring something to this group. Maybe I can make some good friends. I prefer to be positive. UseNet is a strange world. During my sick time I participated in a support group for bipolar disorder which I found very helpful, but also a rough place. Hopefully the sci groups will not be this way.
BTW can someone direct me to the FAQ for this group?
Be well,
HoP
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HoPpeR trading at 1492 wrote:

...
Well then, hello. I'm retired, so this is a sort of busman's holiday for me. I used to do a fair bit of instrumentation and control, along with mechanicking, machining, logic, and analog circuit design. I live in central New Jersey, where I was a member of a local sewerage authority during its construction and startup. I'm still associated with it as a member of the Oversight Committee, and I can put you in touch with people familiar with the state of the art. Maybe you'd like to read my notes on servo design at http://users.rcn.com/jyavins/servo.html . Maybe you'll yawn or laugh.
Jerry
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Engineering is the art of making what you want from things you can get.

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HoPpeR trading at 1492 wrote:

My boys and I have Celiac. The best description I have of the effects are "it's like being a mean drunk without the drunk". I am continually thankful that my wife figured out what was going on and got us all off of wheat.

Don't limit yourself -- there are a wide variety of things you can eat, particularly if you cook for yourself. Celiac is getting more recognition, as well, so the amount of stuff on the market is continually expanding.

There are surprisingly few idiots here -- only the trolls that just pick newsgroups at random.

I do embedded control, which is a slightly different animal (itty bitty clean things, as opposed to great big dirty things), but I suspect that you'll find that software simulation is great for commissioning systems and helping get the loop values at some sensible starting point, but once the system is in place you'll never need the simulation. This is my experience with embedded controls -- I use simulation to prototype the loop, but once it works in hardwary I tune it using emperical data.

Your average run-of-the-mill software engineer also has problems.

Yes, that's what consultants are for!
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Tim Wescott wrote:
...

My daughter and her two children also have difficulty with wheat products. It's not full-blown celiac disease, but real none the less. Fortunately, they tolerate spelt well, and I do a fair amount of baking with it. (I haven't dried making pasta with it.) I keep rice and/or quinoa pasta on hand for when they visit. There is a local store where I can buy all of that and spelt bread too. Bless your wife!
Jerry
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proclaimed to the world:

Well my problems are a bit more complex. I appear to be sensitive to other things like MSG and such. I have to just try something and see, so the quickest way to health was to eliminate everything and then start adding back one thing at a time. It is still a slow process and I am not well today from some mystery munchy. Also meds have fillers that get me. But yes, there has been an improvement. It took a long time to get diagnosed. Like you my wife and I did it ourselves and forced the doctors to see. Long story. It runs in my family. Mom and two sisters have it, plus their kids. No one knew what it was until I got to the bottom of it. Mom died from it. Now my sisters are well. There are a lot of less known symptoms of this too which we have.

I am well familiar with the trolls.

Actually I followed embedded controls pretty closely and was excited about taking this up myself. I have/had a lot of applications to use this with. Which chip are you using?
but I suspect that

This is what I would suspect too. Starting out in pneumatics for high pressure boilers and turbines for warships made it necessary to learn how to tune complex systems quick. I believe the spec for tuning was 10 to 90% load in 45 seconds with set point deviations no greater than 5% and stability within 3 min. With all the steam subsystems and catapult requirements, it was a demanding system. That would not be hard with electronics but the navy did not trust those to work in battle. Rightly so too.

I guess I should be grateful.
Nice meeting you. I took a look at your web site. Your in OR, right? I'm in VA. I hope to get a lot out of this group. It appears that there are people here that I can gain alot from and perhaps I will contribute. I am impressed and surprised. UseNet, as I said is a strange place.
Be well,
HoP
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HoPpeR trading at 1492 wrote:

snip
What chip have I not used? I've been at this for quite a while. I've used Motorola's (Freescale now) 68HC11 (in assembly for speed and a 24-bit integrator), Intel's 80196 and 80186, the Motorola's MPC820, Analog Devices' ADSP 2185 and TI's TMS320F2812. I've written control code in assembly, C and C++. I've consulted on projects that use the ARM processor and one of the the Renassis 16-bitters. There's a wide range of processors that are suitable, depending on the problem at hand.
------------------------------------------- Tim Wescott Wescott Design Services http://www.wescottdesign.com
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proclaimed to the world:

I have heard some about Freescale and when I was looking into working with embedded the ARM was about it. I have had some things I wanted to patent, manufacture and market in the past. A few of these needed some custom chips, at least until production volume allowed a chip run. I don't think this is out of the question for the future depending on health and my ability to regrow finances.
What does a typical small project end up costing your clients? I'm just thinking of future possibilities. Perhaps this is best taken offline.
Be well,
HoP
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HoPpeR trading at 1492 wrote:

Hi, and welcome.

(snip)
I went other way round. Started out training as an electronic circuit designer, and got backed into controls when no one else nearby was willing to volunteer for the work. I was amazed that all that feedback theory that unfolds in amplifiers in microseconds, observed with a good oscilloscope, also happens in factories, but while you have a cup of coffee.
I look forward to your contributions to the group.
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proclaimed to the world:

Thanks John. I do electronic design some too. What you said about feedback and such reminds me of my weird trip into the nature of the human mind when I started having mood swings. My training and experience in controls gave me a unique opportunity to look out how the human condition operates from inside the head of one that was not doing so well. There is nothing as educating as watching something broken trying to work. I've learned a lot about the brain and mind. I've learned a lot about myself. Actually it was very crushing to my ego. Romantic ideas I had about humanity were exposed for what they were. Most people never really understand how little they really control about who they are. The animal side of use at least is nothing more than a machine with complex controls loops. What more than this are we? I do not know, but I have a lot more compassion for those that got built a little less well than I did.
Be well,
HoP
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HoPpeR trading at 1492 wrote:

I had a related realization when my wife started having hot flashes and couldn't believe that her temperature was not actually changing rapidly. She was feeling the output swings of a control loop who's setpoint was undergoing step changes. The process variable was not changing at all, at the moment of the experienced step.
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proclaimed to the world:

And I bet she did not appreciate you thinking about it in this manner!
Be well,
HoP
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