Jump to content
Llisas

I need your advice to decide if I take a project or not

Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

I have to make the decision if I take a project or not.

 

I have worked with LabVIEW for less than a year. I'm a CLAD but I only have experience in one project, which involved only using modbus tcp to communicate with a controller, so I don't have any experience (aside from taking Core1 and Core2) with data acquisition.

 

I was offered a project which consist on acquiring sound. The hardware used is a microphone connected to a cDAQ, and then a cRIO is connected to the cDAQ. Periodically (about 5 mins) the data is sent to a local database. If the sound is higher than the maximum dB level allowed, then the system should record the sound for X seconds. Then that audio file (it can be wav) must be sent to a Web Server, via HTTP or FTP. The last requirement is that the maximum level of dB allowed should be a parameter that can be changed remotely.

 

I don't have any idea on how to do any of that stuff (except reading and writing to a database), and I have never worked with cDAQ or cRIO. The ideal is that the project lasts about 1,5 months. I have to tell them soon how much time I think I would take, and that's where I'm complicated. I know the LabVIEW enviroment, and I know there are APIs for almost everything, and I'll also have the cDAQ and cRIO for myself to test everything I want, so I know that eventually I could finish the project. But my main concern is that since I don't know how to do anything of this project, I don't know what's the learning curve for all that and much time would it really take. I'm inclined to take the project to win experience, but I don't want to tell them a deadline I won't be able to meet. I was thinking in telling them 2 months. Is that unrealistic? How much time do you think I would take to learn all that stuff if I don't have any experience at all with their requirements for this project?

 

I know that there's not a clear answer for this, in the end everything depends on me, but any estimation you could make based on your experience is very welcome.

 

Thanks in advance. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Llisas,

If you want to learn LabVIEW take the job, IMO there is no better way to learn.  When I first started with LabVIEW all I had were the manuals and a project.  The result wasn't pretty but it worked and over the last decade plus I've expanded my LabVIEW skills and refined my technique as I've worked on many more projects.  There are lots of resources to learn from:  examples that ship with LabVIEW and the NI knowledge base being two of the best.  I haven't dealt with audio files or Web Servers and have only a little experience with the cRIO, but the cDAQ is very easy to use.  If you are willing to put in some late nights I would think you could do what you've described in a week or two (just my guess, your mileage may vary :) ).  I've always looked at this sort of challenge as a no lose situation -- if it takes me longer than I estimated up front, my hourly rate went down, but in the end I've been paid to learn new skills.

 

Before telling the client how long it is going to take you to do the job, I'd spend a few hours searching for examples that show you how to do the various functions you described and on NI's website looking for tutorials, white papers, and other resources on the same topics.  That will give you an idea for how much learning you are in for and how long it will take you to get everything working.

 

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

 

I was thinking in telling them 2 months. Is that unrealistic? How much time do you think I would take to learn all that stuff if I don't have any experience at all with their requirements for this project?

 

First, I'd advise you to break down the project into small sub-tasks, then estimate how long it will take you to do each sub-task. Remember to add "Testing and Debugging" into your estimates. (And if you want to be conservative, multiply all your estimates by 2) Does it all add up to 2 months?

 

Some requirements aren't clear to me:

  1. What exactly is the data that needs to be sent to the local database?
  2. By "local database", do you mean a database on the cRIO, or a database on the PC?
  3. When the sound level exceeds X dB, you said you need to record to file. Do you need to record any "pre-trigger" data? In other words, do you need to record any data from before the sound level crossed the threshold?
  4. When you send the audio file, what other data do you need to send with it? I'd imagine they want a timestamp, at least; anything else?
  5. Does your customer want you to create a nice graphical user interface as well? If so, what needs to be in it?

 

Also, here are some other things that will influence the time required:

  1. Do you have access to the Sound and Vibration Measurement Suite and/or the Sound and Vibration Toolkit? If so, you can probably implement your calculations much more quickly.
  2. If you answered "No" to #1: Do you know how to calculate dB from the recorded waveform?

 

 

If you are willing to put in some late nights I would think you could do what you've described in a week or two (just my guess, your mileage may vary :) ).

 

I really don't think that's realistic for a beginner.

Edited by JKSH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to all of this, it is important to be open with your customer.  Nothing would sour the relationship faster if you try to sell yourself as more than you are and you fail to deliver.  Obviously don't undersell your abilities, but be up front and let them know that there are portions of it that you are not entirely familiar with.  If I were the customer I'd probably be looking for a fixed price knowing all of this and would expect to pay less than I would to an established consultant.  On your end, make sure to get everything spelled out in your proposal to make things clear for all parties and to protect yourself from feature creep.  You'll be more than willing to add features for more $$.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.