Contract Jobs

Here are some of the contracts which Dave/DDS has performed. Note that in recent years there have been many more small contracts, and I have not kept this document entirely up to date.

Time Lapse Video Controller

The time lapse video controller is an 8051 based control box, which connects to a video camera using the LANC (Control-L) protocol. The controller is configured with a PC based interface program (serial connection), and can then be deployed (with the camera) to perform unattended video "snapshots" according to it's programmed mission schedule and configuration. The device controls all functions of the camera (including power ON/OFF), and contains a real-time clock which allows it to "Wake-up" and perform its functions according to a time schedule. During inactive periods, the controller switches to a power-down mode, to conserve battery power. The controller supports additional inputs which can be configured to control aspects of the mission, as well as digital (relay) outputs which can be activated in accordance with the mission. An optional lighting system can be configured for PWM gradual On/Off to conserve the life of incandescent bulbs. This system is currently in use by several research institutions.

DDS role in this project:

[Note: This project was performed for "Environment Canada" - a branch of the Canadian Government, who have graciously permitted me to make the final deliverables available as an example of my work (see sample files)]

Small Office PABX Development

DDS works on an ongoing basis with an Ottawa based company in the development of a small home/office PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange) telephone system. As this is an ongoing project, DDS role continually changes, however some of the hilites are:

Feature Telephone Set

Developed in cooperation with a local PABX vendor and an asian manufacturing company, this high-functionality/low-cost telephone provides support for both POTS (standard) and PABX specific features. This includes many features, soft keys and displays, as well as enhanced caller-ID message parameters to provide the PABX with direct control of the set displays and features via the FSK data stream. The set's primary application is fully upgradable/downloadable (even though the phone is based on a factory masked Caller-ID processor).

DDS role in this project:

Telephone Switch Production Testers

These are PC based testers for a small "smart telephone switch" (PABX). The tester interfaces with modified versions of the switches using custom firmware to allow it to place calls, detect signals and otherwise perform and verify all hardware functions of another (unmodified) unit under test. A readable voltmeter was also incorporated into the tests to allow the tester to verify power supplies and voltages. Two separate testers were developed, for two different product models. The testers are very flexible/configurable and have a comprehensive user interface allowing the test operator to perform many different functions and tests, as well as supporting an "automatic mode" where all functions are tested with little operator intervention.

DDS role in this project:

Windmill Controller

This was a controller to handle mid sized (2-50KW) electric power generating windmills. It handled Regulation, all Sensors, Yaw control (avoid too little or too much wind), Emergency shutdown situations, and allowed complete reporting and control via an internet connection.

DDS role in this project:

Police Chase Eliminator

The Police Chase Eliminator is a system proposed by a local Ottawa company which would enable a police officer to remotely shut-down a vehicle via a radio channel. It consists of a control unit in the police car, which has an operating panel and a user interface allowing the officer to select a vehicle profile and activate the various remote functions, as well as a low-cost module unit which resides in the target vehicles, and has the capability to flash the 4-way lights as well as to shut down or slow the engine. Additionally, a hand-held remote unit allows the officer to activate certain key functions on his control unit while he is outside of his cruiser. There are many features and capability of this system, which are too numerous to include here.

DDS role in this project:

Keychain Device Programmer

This is a device programmer (unit for programming flash microcontrollers) which is small enough to attach to a keychain! It is loaded with the code to program from a PC, and can then be carried by a field service technician to install instant firmware updates at remote sites without having access to a computer (PC).

DDS role in this project:

Intelligent Device Programming "Dongle"

This is a double-headed "Dongle", which can be attached to either a PC serial or parallel port, and supports a command set used for in-circuit programming of flash microcontrollers. Designed as a compatible replacement for a popular vendors serial-only dongle, this unit featured a larger command set with more capabilities, support for more devices, and much higher programming speed.

DDS role in this project:

Medical Device Timer

This is a microprocessor (6805) controller replacement for a medical device timer which had previously been implemented with discrete logic. The upgrade was done to improve reliability and enhance the feature content of the device. This timer is used to measure and control the duration of radiation exposure of medical samples. Many failsafe and failure detection functions were implemented, including monitoring the radiation source, the rotation rate of the sample beaker, failsafe limits on times, and monitoring of the timers own hardware and software operations.

DDS role in this project:

EBT Retail Terminal

This is a point-of-sale terminal for processing EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards. Implemented on a Verifone Tranz330, the EBT terminal has many "modern" features including multiple printout reports, configuration menus, statistics logging, user/cashier administration and more.

DDS role in this project:

EBT Voucher Clear Terminal

This is a TRANZ/TCL terminal application which handles the clearing of EBT vouchers submitted by non-electronic retailers through a clearing house. It is unique in that it has the capability to dynamically assume the identify of the submitting retailer, and maintains log records and statistics for each retailer. Otherwise features are similar to the EBT terminal above.

DDS role in this project:

Debit/Credit POS Terminal

This is a TRANZ/TCL application which implements a full Point Of Sale terminal supporting Debit, Credit, EBT as well as proprietary cards. Replacing an existing application, this terminal added many updated features including: support for more cards, enhanced printout reports, administration and configuration menus and more.

DDS role in this project:

Coupon Redemption Application

This TRANZ/TCL application is used to validate "coupons" for an internet edition of a popular television game show. The communications protocol was based on an XML format common to internet applications rather than the BASE24 formal traditional to TRANZ/TCL financial applications.

DDS role in this project:

Stand Alone POS Capture Application

A custom TRANZ/TCL application developed for use in a remote situation where the vendor did not have access to a network connection, this application performs sale entry, capture of the customer card information, and printing of a receipt. The customer manually clears the transactions through his PC software after returning to his working location.

DDS role in this project:

Network POS Interface

This job involved modification of an existing dial-up application for a Verifone Omni3200 POS terminal to interface it to a local network through an RS-232 serial concentrator.

DDS role in this project:

High-End POS Terminal

Operating as a member of a small team, DDS is involved in developing the applications and support software to launch a high-end Point Of Sale terminal currently being introduced into North America.

DDS role in this project:

Prototype Voice Over Ethernet

This was software and device drivers for audio codecs and an ethernet controller chip, which demonstrated the feasibility and quality of sending voice data over an ethernet network in real time. It was used by the manufacturer of a small "smart telephone switch" (PABX) as the basis for the development of an ethernet voice switching interface on the unit (Development of this network interface was subsequently handed back to DDS - see description above).

DDS role in this project:

MP3 Audio Player

This MP3 player uses an IDE hard drive and an MP3 decoder chip to provide instant access and playback to a large selection of music which could be loaded from a PC.

H3DDS role in this project:';

Diagnostic Tools

This was a small job, but it was quite interesting... A small technical company had been asked to maintain and repair the 8085 based control boards from a ships telegraph (the ornate lever that relays engine speed and direction from the bridge to the engine room) on a cruise ship. Several boards had failed, and there was no documentation or technical information available.

DDS role in the project:

Gas Pump Data Retrieval

Another small job - A local government building required a means of retrieving the logs and statistics generated by their gas pump from an off-site location.

DDS role in the project:

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