The main project for Electronic Products starts half way through the Summer term of year 10. The project forms the coursework for the subject and carries 60% of the GCSE marks. Past experience has shown that the grade achieved in the coursework closely matches the grade achieved in the GCSE.
For the duration of the project, students are expected to make good use of their time at home to work on their design folder. They may also work on prototypes and design their printed circuit boards at home. We have a license for students to use Ranger2xL and ProDesktop at home. These are professional software packages that can help students achieve work of a very high standard.
Coursework consists of two components.
n design folder
n artifact comprising an electronic circuit housed in an enclosure made by the student
As much of the design work is produced on computer, a computer generated folder is preferred (using applications such as Powerpoint). A good folder will contain most of the following sections:
|Brief||Designing begins with the identification of task need or problem which has to be investigated. This enquiry results in the formulation of a brief which is a formal statement of this task.|
|Research||The gathering and ordering of relevant information relating to the brief. The information should come from a variety of sources and technologies and include practical experimentation where relevant.|
|Analysis||The examination of the factors which influence the brief, for example appearance, ergonomics, functional modes, environmental consideration.|
|Specification||A bullet point list which gives details of requirements necessary for a successful solution. It should include technical and functional considerations. At least two points should be electronic, measurable parameters. e.g. power supply voltage, operating frequency, output power et. Click here for further information.|
|Circuit ideas||Give details of relevant circuits you have looked up.|
|Block diagram||A diagram showing each section of the circuit (in block form). A block diagram produced in ranger2Xl is fine. (You can add notes and annotation to your block diagram using <nonelec> drop down menu in the schematic editor.|
|Final circuit diagram||If the PCB design derives from fps building blocks, then the circuit diagram can be printed straight from Ranger. This will be a series of circuit diagrams detailing each block The diagrams must include component references (IC1, R4 etc)|
|PCB design||Different stages in the design should be shown. This could be a series of screen shots showing how you arrived at the final design. Make sure that you generate a silkscreen layer and include this in your folder. The component references on the silkscreen should show where the parts given in the circuit diagram are placed. See PCBDesign|
|Testing schedule||This should give a build sequence for assembling your PCB. It should give details of tests to be carried out as you construct your PCB block by block - you should not aim to test individual components. Click here to download an example of a test schedule.|
|Test results||This should gives details of the test carried out as you assemble your PCB.|
|Ideas for enclosure||Quick sketches showing possible designs.|
|Final enclosure design||This should be detailed and give enough information (by way of notes and annotation) for someone else to be able to make.|
|Overall evaluation||Judgments made at any stage as the work
proceeds together with testing and subsequent appraisal of the realisation
against the specification/brief. Evaluation should not be regarded
simply as a final assessment of the completed exercise.
Evaluations should be objective and, where necessary or useful, give ideas for further improvements or development.
The evaluation should refer back to each specification point and discuss whether or not the specification has been met using, where relevant, test information.
n No estimate of folder size is given but a good folder could consist of no more than 20 pages. Folders should demonstrate the progress of a candidate's thinking and not be filled with irrelevant material. Being an Electronic Products folder, the content should contain a substantial amount of electronics.
n Preliminary sketches and unused ideas, all provide evidence of the thinking process which ultimately gain much of the overall credit in the folder. The folder should also contain well produced drawings, photographs and notes, where they are appropriate.
n The design folder is a working document (produced largely during the event) and not just a presentation document (produced after the event).
n Where the nature of the project requires it, some work may be undertaken outside the classroom although some associated work must be done under the direct supervision of the teacher.
n Any help given beyond normal learning support must be recorded - this will be taken into account during assessment.
n The folder is worth 20% of the GCSE.
The document, 'Project - Electronic Products', describes the content which should be included under each heading. Candidates may also add their own headings where this is relevant. To give inspiration, the exam board has provided an exemplar folder which is available in room K15 and the library.
Projects are individual and varied, inevitably folders will all look very different according to the product designed, and the students' ability. 'Project - Electronic Products' gives a full and detailed description of an ideal folder. Many students will not be able to achieve the standard described, but they should all use the document as a target to aim for.
The diversity of project work with its myriad of technical problems mean that the teachers' time in class is fully occupied helping students with designing and fault finding. Progress can be limited by the time it takes to get around the class. To speed up proceedings students are encouraged to seek help at lunchtimes and after school.
The bulk of marks for coursework is given for the design and making of a printed circuit board. Although there are manual methods for PCB design, the use of a computer results in more professional work and a greater success rate. Students can avoid the bottle-neck on our computers by using them at lunchtimes or by taking a copy of the design programme home.