This design group I am in is being led by a mechanical engineer who has his limitation. Initially I thought it was just that he didn't know much abou t electronics. Then I found his thinking for mechanical issues to be a bit lacking in sophistication. Now I realize he doesn't understand fundamenta l principles of analysis.
I was not involved in the project from the start. They had built a revisio n 1 of the board which was essentially an arduino with a motor controller c hip and some comparators. I realized they were not very skilled at electro nics design and figured I could help.
What I didn't realize was the extent of ignorance in project development an d management. The entire project has moved along in fits and spurts and ma ny, many backflips because of a lack of initial analysis and specification of requirements.
All through this project they have been planning to measure flow rate by me ans of detecting the differential pressure across an orifice. They had a g uy who seemed to have that as his sole task so I expected it was covered. There were concerns about the resolution at the low end so a separate circu it was added to provide more gain for the low end giving more resolution. Again, I expected they had it under control.
I am designing much of the FPGA that reads the differential sensor and othe r inputs to calculate the flow rate. The ADC will be a delta-sigma built i n the FPGA with over 17 bits of resolution. I'm thinking that is enough, b ut to be sure I ask for a number for the resolution in flow rate required.. .
No one could provide that simple piece of data. It has gone on for weeks w ith every excuse in the book for not providing it. Instead they talk about having to take into account all manner of errors and could not explain wha t they were talking about. Today I finally found out they want to determin e the resolution based on it's contribution to accuracy. Once I had that d ata it took me about 15 minutes to do the calculations that show even if th ey assume no other source of error the resolution required would be about 1 part in 15,000 or 14 bits of ADC. That's great, but this worst case happe ns at the low end of the scale and the error of the pressure sensor itself is pegged to the full scale value and so is enormously large at this close to zero.
I think they are now trying to rationalize continuing down this road by pic king a higher value as the minimum to be measured. Trouble is they don't h ave control over that.
Months ago I suggested they go with a flow sensor that was cheap, available and produced a digital output of 14 bits, adequate for this purpose. That was rejected because they were new and in short supply. However, the pres sure sensors used in ventilators are all in short supply. So it doesn't ma tter much which device you pick if they are all in short supply.
I'm about fed up with this project. We can replace anyone on the project, except for the guy running it, the one we need to replace. Sounds like man y of the jobs I've had.