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About my future: college choice EE or ME?

  1. Jul 12, 2016 #1
    Hi!
    I already posted something here, but I think there's no problem in asking something different yet a bit related with my previous post.
    In the future, I see myself starting a company of electrical motors and generators. I want to master the designing and the technology used in order to build an electrical motor or generator, what course is better to do so? Electrical engineering or Mechanical Engineering? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2016 #2

    analogdesign

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    Any system as complicated as a non-trivial electric motor or generator will be multi-disciplinary but its very nature and will need people with varying skills and educational backgrounds. For cutting edge work, the contributions of people from EE, ME, materials, and even computer science will be required.

    I would approach this from another angle. Simply put, Engineering school is hard. You'll do much better if you're interested in the material. EE and ME are different enough that people tend to naturally gravitate to one or the other. Even if you're doing motor design, keep in mind that most of your work will be down in the weeds with details. Are you more excited about physical objects and mechanics, or does the idea of simulating current flow and capacitance in a system speak more to you?

    I would focus on the work, not the end product.
     
  4. Jul 12, 2016 #3
    So in EE I won't have knowledge enough to build like an homemade alternator?
    How do you define Electrical Engineering?
     
  5. Jul 12, 2016 #4

    berkeman

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    EE and ME have pretty standard curricula, at least in the US. You can just go to a typical university website to see the class lists for each major.

    It sounds like you would need both skill sets for the work you mentioned. You can either try to double-major in both EE nd ME (which would be a lot of extra work, because there is not much overlap of classes in the 3rd and 4th years of the degrees), or pick the one you like the best, and plan on partnering with another person who has the complimentary skill set.

    How are your math skills? There is probably more math in a BSEE degree compared to a BSME, although it depends on the specialties you choose. E&M has a lot of math for EEs, and fluids has a lot of math content for MEs.

    Have you built any circuits yet? Did you say in your other thread that you have worked with Arduino projects? What kind of mechanical projects have you built? Have you done any woodworking or metal work in projects?
     
  6. Jul 12, 2016 #5

    analogdesign

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    You don't need an EE degree to have knowledge enough to build a homemade alternator. You can get that from self study. If you want to build a world class alternator you're going to probably need a graduate degree (or a BS and a lot of experience).

    In my opinion, double majoring in ME and EE is insane. If you survived it, you'd end up a jack of all trades. No one wants that.
     
  7. Jul 12, 2016 #6
    Seems your interest are closer to EE than ME. I looked into a special branch of EE called Power Engineering is what your seeking. University of Southern California (USC) or North Carolina State University (NCSU) have specialty programs, but I suspect many more colleges have power engineering as a specialty
     
  8. Jul 12, 2016 #7
    Why not? Just curious. I agree that double majoring in two different fields of engineering is insane.
     
  9. Jul 13, 2016 #8

    analogdesign

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    Because no one has the time to become truly competent in two disparate fields in this time of hyper-specialization.

    Given you put in 60 hours a week for class/studying, you can after four years be:

    1. An outstanding BS-level EE
    2. An outstanding BS-level ME
    3. A mediocre EE and a mediocre ME

    For better or for worse in industry people tend to be rewarded for deep, world-class skills in a narrow area more than for than broad-based skills. You want to have breadth of course, but you really want to have something to hang your hat on, where you can stand out from the crowd.

    The ideal engineer in my experience is someone who can get a lot of different things done when needed but has one key skill or area he or she is known for.

    This is of course only my opinion, but it is based on 10 years in college and 12 in the working world. When I was an undergrad I was interested in four or five different areas and I had a professor sit me down and explain all this to me. Basically his message was: "pick one thing. And be the best at it you can be".
     
  10. Jul 13, 2016 #9
    My math skills are pretty good actually, I've built some simple circuits with arduino, planning on building an quadcopter but I think I'm not quite prepared for that yet. Mechanical none, I've only built one alternator and to do so I've done some woodworking and metal work.
    But what bothers me is the lack of information, I want to learn, I want to know everything, for example, when I was building my alternator, I didn't know what would be more efficient, the rotor be the armature or the stater, how many poles, the shape of the magnets, things like that. Because I wanted it to be the most efficient possible.
    Before I go to college, I want to learn many things, specially with my arduino and in electromagnetism, I've researched a lot but there's only tutorials with the basics and many details are missing!
    Hopefully I'll learn some eletronics with a book that I brought called "The Art Of Electronics"
     
  11. Jul 13, 2016 #10
    I'm actually from Europe, and what maybe that's what I want after all, is that a Master?
     
  12. Jul 13, 2016 #11

    berkeman

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    Well, the PF is a great place to get help on this. Just be sure to show us your work so far and ask specific questions, and we usually can guide you well. :smile:
    That's one of my favorite introductory EE books. It's a great book to read cover-to-cover and be sure you understand it all. That makes for a good start. :smile:
     
  13. Jul 13, 2016 #12
    Thanks a lot! I'll try to learn from you guys the best way possible and hopefully in the future help some newbies too ;)
     
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