Week 2 Readme
At this point you should have:
- Read everything in the Week 1 Readme
- Read What is Circuit Design
- Read The Four Basic Parts of Every EDA Tool
- Completed EDA Tutorials for your selected software platform.
I hope that the course content makes sense -- or that you are comfortable enough to ask questions. You are among friends here.
This week, we will:
- Discuss "What Makes Part Selection Difficult?"
- Learn "How to Search for Parts"
- Learn "How to Catalog Parts"
- Create a "Bill of Materials" in our design groups.
- Participate in a "Design Review" (see the bottom of this document)
- Continue working through sample files in your EDA program
This is the last week for you to familiarize yourself with your EDA tool. Use the Resources for Getting Started in your EDA Software to work through the example files and lessons provided by your individual tool. Next week we begin making footprints for our library.
Schematic and Layout
- Schematic and Layout
- Create a simple schematic.
- Create a simple layout.
- Make a simple custom pattern using the pattern editor
- Make a simple component
During the design process, many engineers will arrange a design review. During this activity, engineers present their designs and seek the input of other engineers. Before we get into the details of how these processes work, we first need to talk about mental health, because the process can be so emotionally taxing for some individuals that they avoid the activities altogether.
It is very common to make several mistakes over the course of the design process. That doesn't make you a bad person. That makes you human. More than 93% of boards ordered at Royal Circuits are put on hold for one mistake or another.
I have only ever worked with one engineer whom I've never known to make a mistake. He is a brilliant writer, an excellent engineer, a wonderful father, husband, and friend. He is, as near as I can tell, a unicorn.
I refer to Robert as "the Keim" (his last name). I am not as good an engineer as him. I am not as careful as him. I allow too many interruptions in my office. My desk is a mess. My notes are sometimes illegible. I sometimes juggle multiple projects at once. And I sometimes eat dessert before I've finished eating all my vegetables. And all of that is okay -- I'm happy with who I am. You should be too. Mistakes do not define you as a human being. Mistakes don't make you dumb. Mistakes are part of the process and mistakes are learning opportunities.
I have made mistakes, and I will make more mistakes. I view them as an unavoidable part of the design process. And unless it's a careless error, I usually enjoy them. (Careless errors drive me up the wall.) Electrical Engineering is too complicated a subject to be perfect 100% of the time, especially when you are new to the field.
Logically, what I've said probably makes sense -- someone points out a mistake, and you acknowledge and correct it. But I have seen young engineers on the verge of tears during a design review process.
Don't let that happen to you. Put your work out there -- let other people pick it apart. Gather their feedback, thank them for it. Then, if you need to, walk away for a bit. Go to the park and stare at a hummingbird gathering nectar, or take a short jog. But get your head out of the emotional space and get it into a logical space. Either your work is correct, or it needs revision. There's no need to bring your ego into the equation -- the only person you'll hurt is yourself.
Not all the advice you were given will be good advice. No one has the time to understand your project at the same level you do -- there's a chance that the advice you are given is lousy advice and you shouldn't follow it. You are still the engineer and you still get to make the final decisions.
Pick it Apart
Bob and I have placed what we believe to be a functional schematic in the Design Files. This week we'd like you to go over the files with a fine-tooth comb. Look for errors, look for mistakes. If you've been active in the course, you've probably seen plenty of users do this in the Question and Answer Forum -- we've been doing an unscheduled design review all along. Please post any errors or potential errors in the Question and Answer Forum. We'll need a functional schematic at the end of next week.