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THE DESIGNER AND FLOWCHARTS
V. Ryan © 2010
A flowchart is an excellent way of planning a project. Each stage of the
project is set out as a sequence of events. Part of a typical,
standard flowchart is shown below. It shows the sequence of events in the
manufacturing of a small table. The flowchart below is split into parallel
columns with headings;
Manufacturing Sequence, Equipment Required and Quality Control Check.
Designers use flowcharts to plan their design work and research, also to plan the manufacture of a product. They can be extremely complex and involve many stages. Constructing a flowchart allows the designer to consider every stage of the design and manufacture of a product, in minute detail. When used to plan manufacture of a product, each stage is represented. Errors or mistakes in the production process are usually solved, before the first production run takes place. This saves money and time.
Designers involved in the design of programmable circuits use flow charts.
They are used to plan the way a circuit will work, when it is programmed.
Programable circuits usually have three main aspects (see diagram below).
1. They have inputs, such as movement sensors and temperature sensors.
2. A main circuit which monitors the sensors.
3. Outputs such as motors or lights.
The flow chart determines the way the circuits work. For example, a circuit designer may want security lights to illuminate when movement is detected by the inputs.
The flowchart opposite shows a simple programme for a programmable circuit. The designer 'downloads' the programme to the circuit.
When the circuit detects movement (input0 On?) it turns security lights on
for 30 seconds (Output2 ON, Delay 30s). After 30 seconds, the
programme turns off the lights (Output2 to off).
A designer could use this programme as part of a security system for switching on security lights when movement is detected.
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