Andy Bell's "I am in China" blog

China Pics

I took over 2000 pictures in China and I wanted to share them so you can find them in twelve albums below

1st part - travel & new school 2nd part - Beijing 3nd part - back to school
4th part - Wuxi 5th part - side trip 6th part - just school
7th part - CREC 8th part - Trip to island 2 9th part - food and fun
10th part - build stuff 11th part - Progress 12th part - the final act


The following videos were created while I was in China and I am now able to post them.






Final Entry

November 15, 2014


It is almost over, I have said most of my goodbyes and I am ready to leave. The Chinese people have treated me like family and some of them would like me to stay, lol, but it is time go home. My experiences here have been tremendous and unforgettable, it has left a mark. The staff, students and people here in Wuxi China and the other places I have been have treated me with kindness and friendship. All Americans should have the opportunity to see them as they really are, it would greatly improve the relationship we have between our two countries.


Our single panel solar panel project is "done". It was a wonderful international project that has brought Germany, China and the USA together, men and women of all ages and students to work on a global problem. It was a perfect project to show what could be done to improve the quality of life of people to include my own life. It was a good idea and I hope the Wuxi Professional College of Science and Technology can use the solar panel and what it stands for as a platform to build a better life for all of us. I also gained valuable technical information that I plan to use to improve our own engineering programs at Ivy Tech.


I think I have also made new lifelong friends who have driven me to Starbucks for coffee, offered me a knife and fork with a giggle, introduced me to their own loved ones (mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and spouses) without fear. They have shown me a part of China in all of its glory, its mountains and rivers, its art and culture, its food and history and it is a wonderful place worthy to explore, enjoy and see. I wish each of them a long life and prosperity in their journeys. Also to my fellow travelers we have each maybe been on a slightly different path but I have enjoyed our time together and wish you well and to quote Spock “I have been and always shall be your friend.”



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Final Days

November 15, 2014



It is almost over. We made more great progress today on our solar tracker and we are almost done with the assembly of it. I have been working on the Arduino code with a little help from Matt back in Fort Wayne. I can now control the motor which will get attached to the solar panel tracker. Everything looks very nice, it has been a great project for the school. It will be hard to say goodbye to my friends in Wuxi. They have been so kind and understanding...




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November 11, 2014


We are almost done with assembly of the solar panel project thanks to Joseph, Sylvia and Mr. Zhao and of course the student at Wuxi Professional College of Science and Technology. It has been so cool to see this project come together so well. We mounted the solar panel to the stand today it looks like something like we designed now. It moves great and with a few more pieces it will be mechanically assembled. We also got some batteries to use today and more people helped and came to see what we have been doing. We have also been working of the Arduino code that we will be using to control the position of the panel throughout the day as the sun moves through the sky. I am very proud of our team ...




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More Sites and Sounds

November 11, 2014



Was on two more boats this week, one on the Grand Canal in Wuxi and one that took us out to Fairy Island on lake Taihu. Both rides were very enjoyable and no I did not fall in, lol. When we docked on both rides we got to see some old stuff. On Fairy Island there are many temples and statues. I also took many pictures of flowers and I had no idea what they were, lol. In a few cases the info was in English but I still didn't understand everything. On the Grand Canal boat ride we went with Mr Zhao and his family. We got to see some of the Nanchansi Temple and walk around to see the many shops selling all kinds of food and gifts. We did go into a bookstore (thinking of you Nathan) but everything was in Chinese. We also saw a Brick Museum with a massive model of the canal area that you could walk over. Wuxi is full of some amazing art, history and beauty. It has been an incredible time ...




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New Friends

November 11, 2014

I have met many wonderful people here in China. Including my "new" friends from Ivy Tech, Bess, Lloyd and Aaron. We are having fun exploring China. I wanted to share some of the pictures I have of some of the people I have met so I made a small movie for you to show you who they are ... enjoy



Solar Panel Conference

November 11, 2014


Went with Mr. Zhao to the CREC (Chinese Renewable Energy Conference) in Wuxi at the WTIEC. Solar is very big in this city and the conference showed it. I talked to many of the local manufacturers and told them about my desire to bring solar energy technology to places like the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. I am not sure they totally understand but it was exciting to see all the technology.

Back at school we are working on build our 100W single axis solar tracker. My friend from Germany, Joseph, has worked hard on machining all the parts we need to build the frame to hold the solar panel. He is working with some of the students in the machine shop. I have been doing my best to keep up with all the 3D drawings using SolidWorks. We will probably also include an Arduino Uno with a motor shield for fun.

We could also be working with the school to design, build and fly a CubeSat in either a LEO or Lunar orbit. I have requested info on the next missions for CubeSat and NASA sent me info on two potential missions and I have asked the school here if they would like to join Ivy Tech in a join mission ...


Kirk: I take it the odds are against us and the situation is grim?

Picard: You could say that.

Kirk: You know if Spock were here, he’d say I was an irrational, illogical human being for going on a mission like that.

Kirk: Sounds like fun!


(from Star Trek: Generations)

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What a good day!

November 5, 2014



Back to school and I met Joseph from Germany. He is here to work with the school on their Sino-German Dual System. We had breakfast together and walked over to the school. He has decided to help us with the Single Tracker Solar Panel design so he pitched right in and we worked on the drawings, ordered parts and worked with Sylvia. So in a sense, we now have three countries represented work on the project, it's a real global effort.


They invited Joseph and me out to a nice restaurant for dinner and I got stuffed again. The people here are so nice to us and we are doing our best to try to help and learn from them. I stayed up to late trying to draw everything up using SolidWorks but it is not as easy as it looks, lol. Oh, I forgot to say that they have something pretty cool here in the mall (Powerlong mall). Joseph, Sylvia and I rode to the mall with Uncle Zhao. Then he parked his BYD car and we went in to eat. After dinner on the way out we saw a machine, like an ATM machine, and people were typing their license plate numbers in and it told them where they parked their cars. Pretty cool ...

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End of week 2

November 3, 2014

We have designed a 100W single axis solar tracker using SolidWorks that uses an Arduino Uno and motor s shield. They are working on machining the parts we need now and hopefully we can get it built before and tested before I leave. Also built a sensor tester circuit that uses 5 small sensors that can be used as a standalone trainer. I was walking along the hallway and the instructor, Sylvia, just asked me to come into her class and tell them about the sensors on the spot since she was showing them what I built. So I did and had great fun with the students explain each sensor. Then I said that there were other sensors as well and I noticed that she had written F=ma, so I asked them what was "a" and they all said "a". Then I said, what does "a" mean and they all said "a" and laughed, me to. Then I said no it means acceleration and we laughed some more. I won't tell you what they said when I asked them about "m" but you could probably guess, lol ...




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A trip to the island

November 3, 2014

This weekend I went with Sky, Sunny and Shine to the grandparent's home on the island in the Yangtze River. They we all so nice and treated me with honor and like a family member. We ate out at a nice buffet style restaurant, took a boat ride around part of the island and walked around and looked at the local flower gardens. We went to the grandparents and the father (who is a professional chef) fixed puffer fish for us. It was pretty good. The mom also made some delicious food and we all ate well and then picked oranges off the orange tree for desert. Near their home, which is pretty close to the river, are rice fields ready to be harvested. Some of the rice was already harvested and it was just spread on the streets to dry (still in the husk). We walked on the rice and had a great time at the parents' home. Many people drive electric bikes of both the two wheel and three wheel varieties. We had a great time but I think we all were tired.




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More about my trip

November 3, 2014




It is not quite home but the people here in Wuxi are very nice, always laughing and enjoying the moment. I have had some great food and I think I am helping them as much as they are helping me, lol. Yesterday I got asked to just come and teach a class, no prep or anything, the slides were already in English and it was on dimensional analysis. In Wuxi there is a fair amount of student integration and involvement so I decided "when in Rome" so I drew a line on the board and said it was 1 meter long. I gave a student a piece of chalk and said, find a half meter. Then I gave another one and another one. I picked students that were quiet and sitting alone or one from a large group, they all seemed to love it.


Also bought some snacks, can you tell how much money I spent in US dollars if I bought 0.568 kg of bananas at 6.59 RMB and 0.728 kg of apples at a cost of 11.62 RMB? Extra credit if you can tell me how much I spent per fruit item if I bought 4 of each item, lol. Sorry but I don't know how much stuff costs in the US, Linda does all the food buying there for us ...


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My First Lecture

October 29, 2014


Today was the big day, a lecture to some of the students and faculty. I wasn't nervous and my friend Sylvia helped me with the slides. I think we had about 50 people in the room at the end of the day, so it was a pretty good crowd. I talked then Sylvia or another person translated. The topic was "Why am I here & Ivy Tech Community College" and I really enjoyed it. I tried to use a little humor but I am not sure if it worked, until the laughed ...



Lecture announcement



Day 9

October 29, 2014



The people at Wuxi are wonderful and treat me with respect and friendship. Today they invited me to a wonderful lunch and we all had great fun together. I think they get a laugh out of seeing me try to eat with chopsticks. It ain't easy, lol. I am impressed with the faculty by their eagerness to work together to help students learn and to expand their own horizons. There is laughter and friendship between the students and faculty.


They asked me to lecture tomorrow on "Ivy Tech and why I am here". Seems semi esoteric but I do have a reason for being in China ...



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May you live in interesting times

October 28, 2014

Went to Beijing, climbed the Great Wall


"One who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a hero" ... Confucius

Went into the Forbidden City which is massive and impressive. We also went to Tiananmen Square and saw the picture of Mao Zedong and the many Chinese people that were gathered in the square. Also, near the Great Wall I battled and won against a Mongol horde, gave a shout out to my Vulcan friends, hey Mr. Spock! Having fun and could have used that Vulcan neck pinch on that Mongrel horde. Got my picture taken a really big elephant. Did a selfie near the Forbidden City and decided to "do nothing", lol (this means go with the flow and is shown in one of the pictures). Got a picture of myself in Tiananmen Square with a giant flow pot, man they grow big flowers in China ...


All kidding aside, all of the sight, sounds, tastes and Beijing were awesome. It is a very cool place but I am happy to be back in Wuxi.

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Day 3

October 24, 2014

I am in Beijing now. We took the bullet train from Wuxi to Beijing and we travelled through the country side reaching speeds of 300km/hr. It was very cool and such a smooth ride, like being on a plane.

Tomorrow we go to the Great Wall of China. Construction took over 2000 years and it stretches more than 5,500 miles in length. It is claimed to be the only man made structure that can be seen from space.

It should be an exciting event for an engineer to see the wall first hand ...


More to come,


Day 2.1

October 24, 2014



Went to the store and bought some snacks, spent 115 RMB or about $21. There is a fair amount of English in the culture, to go to college you need to learn English. I like some of the customs like the way they toast each other and exchange gifts.


I asked one of the instructors if this is where the geeks and nerds were in the school and she said, “what are geeks and nerds?” In our society people who like technical things are viewed as being a little off, but not here ...


On my way to the Great Wall of China today in Beijing.


Day 2

October 23, 2014

Another day in China


It was a long day but I got to meet a lot of the instructors at the college. They want to see their students succeed. The school is pretty big and they are proud of their school. The students are 18 to 22 and seem young. I got to see many of their labs and everyone seems fully engaged. We heard some music over the loudspeaker and some of the staff went outside and exercised. Lunch was good, I am learning how to use the chopsticks.




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Day 1

October 23, 2014

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Today all the Ivy Tech faculty and Sue Smith were part of a meeting with the president of the Wuxi Professional College of Science and Technology. Our name plates were in both English and Chinese. It was very cool. We each made opening remarks and they were translated into Chinese. I asked about the solar panel industry and they said that Wuxi had a large solar panel facility and that I would be able to see it.


Dinner was later and we had an exotic meal with some local Wuxi dishes ...





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We made it!

October 21, 2014

We made it!


After a very long plane flight (Dallas to Shanghai, China) we made it to China and all is well. We took a bus to the hotel in Wuxi and it was already pretty dark when we got to our rooms. I am traveling with three other faculty members: Bess Gonyea from the Franklin Campus, and Aaron Miller and Lloyd Brooks who are both from the Columbus Campus. I will be at the Wuxi Professional College of Science and Technology which has about 10,000 students and does have some engineering programs (electronics and mechanical). The school has had a relationship with the Columbus campus for a while and I was able to join the team back in September. I believe Wuxi has a fair amount of solar panel manufactures so I am excited to see what they are doing with the technology.

Post more later


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Going, Going, Gone

October 19, 2014


I am almost gone. On my way to Wuxi China on Monay morning around 7:00 AM. Then a short flight to Dallas and a very long flight to Shanghai China. Then we take a car to Wuxi and should get there mid day Tuesday.

Wuxi is 12 hour ahead of Fort Wayne.

It has been a little crazy trying to get everything ready for the four week trip. I have uploaded apps to my iPad, saved files to my laptop, prepared my cameras to take pictures and after many hours of prep I am almost ready…