Featured Engineer

Interview with Mehmet Er

Mehmet Er

Mehmet Er - Electronics Engineer

How did you get into engineering and when did you start?

I was very impressed when I first saw the handheld calculator of Casio when I was a small child; I think that was the starting point of my entrance into the field of electronics and engineering. It was amazing for me at that moment to consider the speed of calculation and digital display, and that was the early 80’s.

Later on, I discovered a ‘‘flying car’‘ named KITT with many different types of electronics on board. I started to ask myself if I could build such a thing during those early years. I noticed that every day there were interesting developments in the field of electronics and engineering, such as satellites, computers and so on.

When I neared my university years, this new “internet” thing was blowing up the world, which justified my decision to enter the field.

What challenges do you face as an electronics blogger or website admin?

I face mainstream problems. One of the problems I face is the speed at which the internet seems to function. I may post a tech news article or a product blog today, and tomorrow it may be out –of –date; people might even already be asking when the next product will be arriving. Think of the iPhone 5. On the internet it seems that websites start to search for iPhone 6 specs and rumors even before iPhone5 has been released. Humans can’t compete with the speed of development in technology, so most of the time I’m have to try to catch up and overcome that. Also, sometimes there are so many choices about what articles to write and topics to choose from that my mind is paralyzed.

What are your favorite hardware tools?

To get my job or a project done properly, most of the time I use oscilloscopes, multimeters, and analyzers. I think using these tools verifies what you do. I’m very comfortable with this equipment in the laboratories and other necessary environments. Today’s hardware tools do provide more than just providing raw data which is perfect.

I feel very relaxed and happy when I see the expected output at my measuring tool.

What are your favorite software tools?

C/C++, Matlab, Verilog, VHDL, SQL, and Visual Studio are the ones which I favor (however there are others that I use whenever necessary).

Since they have applications in many areas (airline, automotive, and communication), it’s easy to talk about them with a colleague in a forum should there be a problem. Most of these tools now have the ability to run on the web, which makes remote work easy and flexible. Not all the solutions come to your minds when you are at work, so sometimes you need to do some troubleshooting at home, which is possible because of these web-based programs.

What is the hardest bug you have ever fixed?

Once I was designing a CMOS Image Sensor while I was working in Stockholm, Sweden. I was very upset that the circuit was drawing up too much current and that the power consumption was increasing beyond tolerance rates. I worked night and day to find a solution, looked for forums, talked to professors about it, and finally solved the problem through implementing dual transistors in a single pixel structure.

What is on your bookshelf?

I have recently read The Lost Symbol, Alexander the Great, Atlantis, and some parts of Spartacus. I do read some tech books, such as ASIC Design Engineering, and VHDL Design as well.

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve?

I‘m an optimist and most of the time this helps me a lot. I believe any problem can be solved as long as you discuss them and try to listen to what other people have to say — team work is important. However, avoiding complex problems is always my favourite trick, as well as never delaying solving a problem — it will just become bigger and will take more time to solve. Sooner is better than later.

What has been your favorite project?

I think since it was my first industry–related digital design, designing an FIR filter for a DSP application while I was studying for my master’s degree was my favourite project. It was such a huge, interesting project for me, and what I learned can be applied to many areas.

Do you have any note-worthy engineering experiences?

I ranked first in my class while I was studying Electrical Engineering at my university. You do get success when you love what you do and lose track of the hurdles.

Do you have any experiential stories you would like to share?

I have made some small errors but they weren’t very damaging.

What are you currently working on?

I was working at Sahsuvaroglu Tractor Factory in Balikesir, Turkey but the factory is now closed and we are awaiting news from the manufacturing company.

I’m open to new challenges that would suit my interests. While I was working, I tried to fix problems like reducing the carbon emission in tractors, which I achieved through fixing some valve timing and controlling air flow into the cylinders through help of electronic control units. Normally, the tractors we produce come from Italy, and since the conditions here are different than the ones in Italy, we had to make some adjustments. We to persuade our manufacturer do allow this, and I would like to work on more challenges like that one.

What direction do you see yourself heading in the next few years?

I hope to be an R & D manager in the future in the field of electronic design. I’m especially interested in vehicular electronics and embedded microprocessor architectures. I would like to establish my own company should the right conditions arise.

What challenges do you foresee in our industry?

Size is getting smaller and smaller every day, and power and battery management is becoming more difficult with today’s consumer and industry demands. We may start questioning Moore’s law in the future or just confirm it again.

What profession would you choose if you were not an electronics engineer?

I’d choose the same one.

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