Hardwaredesign

Written by Kai Chmieleffski on Thursday April 2, 2020

The main task of an electronics design engineer is finding ways to develop the product a customer wants to have. There is way more behind the process of bringing an idea to life than just creating a schematic, creating a layout from that and selling the product afterwards.

A big bunch of questions need to be answered first, including, but absolutely not exclusively:

  1. How is the user supposed to interface with it?
    • Does it need a display, does it needs buttons?
      • What kind of buttons does it need? 
      • Does it need a rotary knob?
        • Potentiometer or incremental encoder?
      • Which kind of display is the best choice for the purpose? LED, LCD, OLED, VFD, or something completely different?
    • Does it need an external interface?
      • Which one? USB, RS232, GPIB, Ethernet, Bluetooth, WiFi...?
    • Is there any sort of feedback needed?
      • Beeper?
      • Control lights?
  2. What should it do?
    • Does it need to connect to external devices?
      • How?
    • What should the internal function be?
      • Is it possible to do that and still comply to normative regulations?
      • Which regulations apply?
        • How can the device be built to comply to those regulations?
    • Is it neccessary to take user errors into account or will it only be used by trained personel?
  3. Is there a predefined case where this thing should fit into?
    • What are the size constraints?
      • Is it even possible to build it into that case?
        • What needs to be changed to make it possible?
  4. Which documentation is needed?
    • Revision history
    • Schematics
      • Calculations to make the circuit behave as it is supposed to be
    • Layout
      • Documentation about critical layout aspects
    • Gerber Files
    • Assembling Documentation
    • Code/Firmware

and so on. The design process of a product is much more than just creating a schematic from an idea. And that is what an electronics design engineer is neccessary for - to find all those little details that could potentially be a problem and to find solutions to make your idea become reality.

Since I take intellectual ownership serious: The Photo was made by Green Chameleon on Unsplash.