Featured Engineer

Interview with Manjunath Naik

Manjunath Naik

Interview with Manjunath Naik - Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer

Who are you, what do you do?

I am an Electronics and Telecommunications Incorporated engineer. I graduated from the Engineering Council, UK. I also hold a B.Sc (Hons) degree from the Bombay University, India. I am presently back in India after working for a large utility company in the gulf for twenty eight years.

Why did you choose Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering and when did you start?

Electricity as a subject always fascinated me right from age ten. Later having observed the behavior of semi-conductors, electronics was the way to go for me. I graduated from the Bombay University with pure sciences. I was associated with building mini electronic projects for quality control activities in my first job with a cigarette company. Later I was picked up by a premier Japanese electronics company which trained me and deputed me to the Canary Islands as their technical specialist. I had by then heard of the engineering council professional engineering programme which could be taken up far distance from any part of the globe. I enrolled and finished the program within the stipulated time period of three years. Project work took me another year and finally I graduated as an Electronics & Telecommunications Incorporated Engineer.

What are you currently working on?

Presently I am trying to get into the engineering areas of green energy. This includes Solar and Wind energies which are in abundance on our planet. The electronics which go into regulation of current while generating energy fascinates me. Storage of energy is another huge area of interest. I intend to get into this field at the earliest and try to bridge the gap of supply and demand in our energy deficient country India.

Can you tell us about your work at Electricity & Water Authority?

I was with Electricity & Water Authority (EWA) – Kingdom of Bahrain as a Senior Electronics Engineer for all SCADA & Communications activities for the control center as well as the external electrical and water stations. EWA operates an integrated power network at voltages of 400kV, 220kV, 66kV, and 33kV. The transmission network comprises of plant from various manufacturers, European and Japanese. There are 180 primary electrical sub-stations with nearly 8500 Km’s of transmission feeders. There are an approximate 40 primary water stations.

The whole power system is controlled from a modern System Control Center upgraded by ALSTOM in 1999. My principal work involved routine and breakdown maintenance of the SCADA & ICS Communications equipment at the System Control Center (SCC), Distribution Control Center (DCC), four power stations and 180 primary electrical sub-stations and communication part of the water stations. On the telecommunication front, it was my principal activity in maintaining connectivity with all telecontrol equipment through IEC 60870-5-101, IEC 60870-5-104, IEC 61850 within stations and various proprietary protocols like the Indactic 2033. I was also responsible for the routine and breakdown maintenance of all 48v DC chargers, UPS’s, and their backup batteries at primary sub-stations, SCC and the power stations.

What do you like best about being an Engineer?

There is always something to learn for a true engineer. It need not necessarily mean the branch of study one undergoes academically, but also areas which amalgamates with electronics. Industrial automation where Mechatronics as a subject has evolved in the last few decades is an example. Literally every product today has a reference to electronics, be it through its hardware content or the software contribution which goes into analysis and new creations. Today being an engineer, I can well appreciate the effort put in by my fellow engineers to bring out the best in engineering for making life worthwhile and easy even for the mentally as well as the physically challenged. Reading about innovations on a daily basis is my new found hobby, which I feel would have not been well appreciated if I was not an engineer.

What are your favorite hardware tools that you use?

It was drilled into my mind during my in depth training in a premier Electronics Company in Japan during the early 80’s that tools make up the principle aid of an electronics engineer, without which one would rather grapple in the dark. I have equipped myself well. I have measuring tools for all type of waveforms through oscilloscopes and hand held digital meters. I also have signal generators which span up to the RF frequencies. I have a whole lot of stock of TTL chips both in DIL as well as CMD packages. In general, I have access to a small laboratory where I can spend good time and my leisure for pleasure as well as mini research.

What are your favorite software tools that you use?

I am not much of a software man, though I have software applications which can help me make my own pcb multi layered boards, circuit analysis etc.

What books do you like to read aside on Engineering books?

I read fiction which is a good source of ideas which go beyond my scope of true understanding or implementation. I am sure some of the fictional stuff I read is just a matter of time before they become practical.

What did you do during your free time?

I spend quality time with my family, go for outings, trekking, movies and reading.

Few years from now, what direction do you see yourself?

I expect myself to contribute a lot towards making green energy available in plenty at every nook and corner of India. Storage battery science where conditioning and good maintenance procedure needs to be put in place will be my main area of interest. I intend to work full fledged in this direction and make a name for myself.

Is there anything you’d like to say to young people to encourage them to pursue Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering?

Electronics and Telecommunications engineering is a fabulous field one can get into, but one needs to understand that the subject in itself is like an abstract painting. It takes years to get a grip into the core issues of the subject, for which hard work and dedication is the cornerstone of progress and getting a high on the subject. I encourage every individual who has a flare for electronics to get into this engineering field, where the uncertain but truly controllable behavior of a semiconductor replicates the amazing but truly fascinating behavior of humans. There is tremendous scope for a true Electronics and Telecommunications engineer, who would find the inter connectivity networks of the future truly amazing and mind boggling. Here’s wishing each one of you the best.

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