Fitzgerald Engineering, Inc.

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Electronic control system for a low cost Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) device, the TapBlaster™, that is used to remove broken taps and studs.  This unit uses a DC motor to control the speed and direction of the cutting electrode.  The TapBlaster™ uses a standard AC welder for a power source and includes a recirculating coolant system to cool the electrode and remove particles.

A microprocessor based aquarium pump controller that turns on one to four pumps for various user programmed time intervals in a sequential or random order.  This unit is used to prevent aquariums from developing "dead spots" that develop when pumps are run continuously.  It includes a switch to disable the pumps while feeding the fish.

Design of an automated Liquid Analysis Unit that uses a tungsten light source and one of six different filter wheels to test for more than 35 chemicals and minerals.  The unit is controlled by an Intel 8052 processor and uses a Liquid Crystal Display and membrane keypad for the user interface.  This unit operates from three Ni-CAD cells and includes a battery charger and a serial port interface that connects to an IBM compatible personal computer.
Hardware and software design of an automated Electronic Scoreboard, configurable for several sports.  This is a battery operated unit that is controlled by a microprocessor.  The displays are electromechanical units that use a short pulse to turn on or off, but no power while not being changed.  A six volt lead acid battery is boosted to 15 volts with a switching regulator to provide the drive for the displays.  The control unit includes a Liquid Crystal Display and keyboard that may be located up to 4000 feet from the scoreboard.

Design of an automated Water Analysis Tester that uses a light source and photo-detector to detect various chemicals and minerals in the sample.  This microprocessor based unit allows fast reconfiguration for new or modified tests and replaces units that relied on a color matching chart to determine concentrations.  The LCD readout is programmed to give results in parts per million and prompts the user to ensure proper testing.  Test results are displayed on the LCD and sent via an RS-232 port to a printer or personal computer.

Design of a sub-atomic particle detector that is  installed at CERN, Switzerland as part of the L3 Detector.  The particle accelerator at CERN is the most powerful in the world and it is the result of a cooperative effort between many countries and universities.  The Johns Hopkins University contracted with Fitzgerald Engineering to design several printed circuit boards for a data acquisition system that takes the output of 4800 scintillating fibers and amplifies the 2-8 photon output with forty-eight 100 channel Micro Channel Plates (MCPs).  This design uses a custom charge amplifier integrated circuit and an eight layer, flexible, surface mount technology circuit board to amplify and transmit the signals. The analog signals are digitized using 20 MHz flash Analog to Digital converters on a VME board designed by Fitzgerald Engineering.  The MCPs use a 3000 volt power supply and customized bleeder networks to ensure proper amplification.  This entire system  was designed to meet the CERN safety standards for personnel safety.

Hardware and software design of an automated material testing system for the U.S. Navy.  This system uses a personal computer to control an apparatus consisting of:  specially designed mechanical transducers for shear and flexure measurements,  a frequency response analyzer, a printer, and a Hewlett-Packard plotter.  The system measures the dynamic mechanical properties of materials over a continuous frequency range of 1 to 10,000 Hz at temperatures that can be varied from -25 to 125oC.

The following projects were completed by Roger Fitzgerald while employed by Rexnord Automation in Hunt Valley, MD:

Design and testing of an "Audio Subsystem" chassis for IBM Systems Integration Division of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Mr. Fitzgerald led the project team that designed the chassis to meet TEMPEST and MIL-STD 461 standards for secure communications and EMI.  This unit includes a backplane, several 68020 processor boards, two 760 Megabyte Winchester disk drives, a tape drive, and an 800 watt power supply.

Mr. Fitzgerald was the project leader on a contract with the U.S. Air Force that required two new printed circuit board designs to improve the Minuteman Power Processor.  This job involved coordinating the efforts of four engineers in the design team, the hardware design of one P.C. board, and installing the revised units in Minuteman and Peacekeeper Missile silos.  

Developing a specification for and designing a micro-processor controlled rehabilitation exercise machine for the Toro Company.  This machine uses electromagnetic particle brakes to provide a calibrated load for exercise.  This unit has been designed to meet U.L. Standard 544 for safety and FCC Docket 20780, Part 15 for electromagnetic interference.

Design of a business computer that is used for estimating contracts from blueprints.  Mr. Fitzgerald's contributions included selection of the power supply, testing the unit to the I.E.C. 380 Safety specification, testing to C.S.A. C22.2, and EMI testing to FCC Docket 20780, Part 15 and VDE 0871.  This unit was also tested for susceptibility to static discharge, elevated temperature operation, and shock that would occur during operation or shipping.

Design of a new distributed process control system, the Emcon D/3 Integrated Process Control System.  Mr. Fitzgerald's contributions to this effort include:  Design of two Analog Input boards and one Analog Output board, specifying and evaluating all power supplies, design of a custom UPS for this application, and   specifying and evaluating a state-of-the-art solid state multiplexer for the analog input boards.

Design and development of a microprocessor based vending machine controller for the Coca Cola Company.  The controller was sold worldwide, including Japan, where it had to be compatible with 50 and 60 Hz, 100 Volt power.  This included analog and digital circuit design and the mechanical design of the case and heatsink.  This product was optimized for high volume production and designed and tested to U.L. 873, Standard for Temperature Indicating and Regulating Equipment.  

© 2002 Fitzgerald Engineering, Inc.

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