Breaking News
Comments
Oldest First | Newest First | Threaded View
Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Freshly baked circuit boards
Max The Magnificent   10/31/2013 12:09:55 PM
NO RATINGS
@Adam: One of the most exciting stages of an engineering project is when the hardware arrives in the lab for the first time...

Ah, I love the smell of a freshly baked circuit board first thing in the morning...

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Freshly baked circuit boards
zeeglen   10/31/2013 1:20:55 PM
NO RATINGS
Throw lots of ground test points at the board so that you always have one nearby when scope probing fast or low-level signals.  These do not tolerate long ground wires to the probes.  If there is room, a connector for a logic analyzer can save a lot of pain.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Freshly baked circuit boards
Max The Magnificent   10/31/2013 2:02:34 PM
NO RATINGS
@zeeglen: Throw lots of ground test points at the board...

Good one!

MKolb
User Rank
CEO
First thing
MKolb   10/31/2013 3:12:35 PM
NO RATINGS
One of the first things I do is a detailed visual inspection and then a continuity test between the power and ground planes.  Nobody likes unpleasant surprizes the first time you power it up.

Adam-Taylor
User Rank
Blogger
Re: First thing
Adam-Taylor   10/31/2013 3:16:16 PM
NO RATINGS
Mkolb That is the first thing everyone should do

Adam-Taylor
User Rank
Blogger
Re: First thing
Adam-Taylor   10/31/2013 3:23:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Infact I recenty wrote about this in a little more detail in Xcell http://issuu.com/xcelljournal/docs/xcell_journal_issue_85

page 48 onwards

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: First thing
zeeglen   10/31/2013 3:47:13 PM
NO RATINGS
Yup, and use a current-limited lab supply and crank up the current slowly.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: First thing
Max The Magnificent   11/1/2013 8:01:58 AM
NO RATINGS
@MKolb: One of the first things I do is a detailed visual inspection and then a continuity test between the power and ground planes.

YES!!!  I do this too -- I think it's so obvious I didn't even think to mention it ... but as they say "Common sense isn;t as common as it used to be" :-)

betajet
User Rank
CEO
Re: First thing
betajet   11/1/2013 3:06:30 PM
NO RATINGS
I always do a continuity check of all power and ground pins on a bare board as soon as it's available.  This doesn't take much time, and makes sure the PC design software or the PCB manufacturer didn't miss something.  I also check the Gerbers before they go out to the PCB house.

If you have a package with a large ground pad on the bottom of the chip, expect that the assembly house will forget to solder it for the prototypes.  In many cases, that's the only ground connection for the chip.  If possible, extend the PCB artwork for the pad out from under the chip so you can heat it up with a soldering iron.

If you have programmable parts, always bring out spare I/Os to test points (vias).  These are invaluable for debugging FPGA logic in real time.

Draw your schematics as if you're going to be the one debugging the board.  Number your passive components in a sensible way so they're easy to find in the schematics -- I like to number all components in the same sequence as the pages of the schematics.  Don't use automatic numbering: the hours you saved by not numbering the components by hand will become days added to debugging.

Draw component symbols to match the package pinout.  This will make it a lot easier to debug.  For BGAs, match the pad sequence on the chip itself.  For Xilinx FPGAs, you can get this from the graphical chip editor.  For others, BSDL will probably get you the information.

_hm
User Rank
CEO
Fourth dimension - talk to friends
_hm   11/2/2013 3:33:29 PM
NO RATINGS
Fourth important dimension is to talk to your friends of what you are doing and how it will work and what problems do you have. Review process and talking to some part to friends outside is also desired. Main advantage of this is self realization of mistakes. When one explain it to friend, and when he asks few questions, one self realize mistakes to be fixed or design to be enhanced. 



Most Recent Comments
Flash Poll
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Engineer's Bookshelf
Caleb Kraft

The Martian: A Delightful Exploration of Math, Mars & Feces
Caleb Kraft
6 comments
To say that Andy Weir's The Martian is an exploration of math, Mars, and feces is a slight simplification. I doubt that the author would have any complaints, though.

The Engineering Life - Around the Web
Caleb Kraft

Surprise TOQ Teardown at EELive!
Caleb Kraft
Post a comment
This year, for EELive! I had a little surprise that I was quite eager to share. Qualcomm had given us a TOQ smart watch in order to award someone a prize. We were given complete freedom to ...

Design Contests & Competitions
Caleb Kraft

Join The Balancing Act With April's Caption Contest
Caleb Kraft
57 comments
Sometimes it can feel like you're really performing in the big tent when presenting your hardware. This month's caption contest exemplifies this wonderfully.

Engineering Investigations
Caleb Kraft

Frankenstein's Fix: The Winners Announced!
Caleb Kraft
8 comments
The Frankenstein's Fix contest for the Tektronix Scope has finally officially come to an end. We had an incredibly amusing live chat earlier today to announce the winners. However, we ...

Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)