The sun never sets

I am beginning to appreciate the true spirit of PIP.

Oct 22, 3am, UBC electronics lab.

Except for our fallen comrade sleeping on a table at the back, the lab looks just as busy and lively as it did 12 hrs ago, at 3pm (we had been there since then). Soldering smoke everywhere, occasional smashing of the tables and loud profanities, and busy keyboard typing sound. Only the increased number of coffees and redbulls gave it away (“no food and [non-alcoholic] beverages allowed in the lab”).

This has got to be one of the busiest weeks of my life. We were in the lab at least 8 hrs every day for a week, including Saturday and Sunday. Everything else in my life was paused. Social life was canceled indefinitely until further notice.

Our first project, a computer-controlled battery charger, was due the morning after, with an hour-long demo to a few profs. We didn’t even have the prototype for some of the boards =P. Talk about procrastination skills and pressure management.

We spent the first half of the night designing, simulating, and prototyping the boards, and the next few hours soldering with heavy eyelids. Some people used coffee, some used redbull, some relied on the cold wind blowing through the open window, some gave up and went to sleep in the lounge, and I believed in will power. It has never failed me.

And we went to McDonalds at 2am! It was pretty much the only place that was open, and there was a long lineup… with very drunk people. The campus looked and felt very different at night. No one on the streets, and the cold wind was refreshing. It felt almost like we were walking through a necropolis.

A few hours and a sunrise later…IMAG0014
Charging circuit and monitoring circuit! 17 transistors (51 pins!), 5 op amps, and a few dozen wires.

The aftermath –
IMAG0016
IMAG0015

Then we raced against time to put everything together and test it before the 9am presentation. Unfortunately, while we DID manage to put everything together 5 minutes before the demo, we didn’t have time to test it at all. And expectedly, it didn’t work =(. It’s no fairy tale, there isn’t always a happy ending (actually, most fairy tales don’t either, but more on that later). The demo went well otherwise, though. They like our designs, we answered the questions well, etc. Except it didn’t work.

I’m guessing the other groups’ stories are equally exciting, too, judging by all the prayers and Jesus appreciation =P.
IMAG0012
IMAG0013

I slept a total of 2 hours in the 48 hours leading up to the presentation (and a technical communications midterm later in that day, that I totally didn’t study for. I didn’t even know what’s on the test until 15 minutes before the test). So glad it was over. I would probably need a few ambulances if it lasted a bit longer.

Life goes on. To the second project. I’m so excited to see what’s up ahead for us.

The immense pressure and feeling of accomplishment. It’s addictive.

One thought on “The sun never sets”

  1. i’m in utter disbelief at the power of your, well, will-power!

    =D

    congrats on finishing the project!

    lol at the jesus references

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