As a circuit designer, you have every right to say that your job is far from the easiest one out there. Working in this area of design is equal parts unique and challenging, perhaps mostly because your preferences and what you’re taught can vary significantly from the final product you’re tasked with designing.
Diagrams and real-world circuits often have little in common, thus requiring extensive knowledge of each component and how it fits into the overall picture. Here are some must-know circuit design tips that you can use to streamline your workflow, helping you save valuable time and effort without compromising on the quality or accuracy of your design.
Divide the Workload
The growing need for faster results, coupled with the increased use of modular components, has made the divide-and-conquer strategy a popular approach for circuit board design. By allocating specific blocks to different designers, you can save time and easily locate issues, subsequently taking the hassle out of troubleshooting.
Use the Right Tools
Your software of choice can mean the difference between painfully wasting time on minute elements and breezing through the process with ease. Consider using Gepetto, a dedicated electronics design app developed by Gumstix. This software features a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to design custom, complete boards in no time.
Start With a Block Diagram
Obvious to some, ignored by many, block diagrams provide a simple and exact representation of your circuit. By starting with a block diagram, you’ll have a clear and accurate outline of the final design. This not only reduces your chances of making a mistake later on but will also serve as a great reference material that can easily be interpreted by others.
Make Components Visible
Making it easier to identify your components will save time and prevent confusion. When drawing up your schematics on paper, you can use pins to label each component. They’ll stand out and stay firmly in position, without taking up much space. Of course, when you’re using software, it’s as simple as remembering to label them.
Document the Process
Be sure to take notes throughout the design process, documenting the mistakes you make and the solutions you find, as well as any other relevant information. This can help you find out where you went wrong and serve as useful information for future projects.
Title Your Pages
Using a clear and concise title to describe what each page of your schematics contains will make indexing easier and improve readability. This will prove useful during troubleshooting when you need to reference a specific area in your circuit design. It’s a quick and simple task that will save a great deal of effort in the long run.
Go With the Flow
There’s no reason to compress your ideas into a limited number of pages. Instead, focus on the quality of your schematics and make sure that the circuit designs follow a consistent flow. This makes them more legible and facilitates better application. Circuit board design is no place for shortcuts and greater effort leads to greater rewards.
It’s always a good idea to identify areas for improvement in the way you work. Doing so will help you produce better designs with less effort.