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Becoming Hardware designer- competent in both schematic and PCB designing

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  • Becoming Hardware designer- competent in both schematic and PCB designing

    Hello sir, I am Clinton Alexander. First I really want to thank you for the course that i enrolled in Udemy! BUT I'm stuck somewhere now! I really want to become a hardware Design Engineer and at this juncture, I know that in order to become that, one needs to be competent in Schematic as well in PCB designing. From the courses that you do offer, I can really look forward to becoming a best PCB designer but how about schematic side? How to become a master in Schematic design? Currently, I do poses a bachelor degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and I'm capable of designing simple schematic diagram for simple project. What if I need to design a certain product and I need to design it by my self from the scratch what steps should I do? What principle should I consider in order to come up with a complete complex schematic like that of Arduino board, Raspberry Pi or Motherboard? Therefore Is there any course that you specifically teach one to become a schematic designer? which software to use during schematic designing that will support simulation and analysis or Is the Altium Designer capable of those features above?

  • #2
    Depends on what kind of boards you are designing, however, many complex boards are not designed from scratch. Usually you find a reference board what is close to what you need and you adjust it. Even motherboards are not designed from scratch - you will get a reference board schematic and layout to start with. Usually you then add connectors and some peripherals (same, you will get reference schematics for using specific chips). Of course, you can go to extreme and start changing also other things, but usually people do not do it ... you really would need to know what you are doing.

    You do need to know how to connect some interfaces, but it can be learned when working on projects and studying how other people do it (you have a look at number of reference boards, maybe specifications and you need to try to understand how it works and how it should be connected).

    Most you will learn when something is not working and you need to debug a board.

    So, it's a lot about experience + it is useful if you have some electronics background to understand what is happening on your board and in the circuits, but it si mostly about working on a LOT of projects.

    PS: Simulation will not do miracles. You can not really simulate how your whole motherboard is going to work - you can simulate a lot, but you would need expensive software and a lot of time to do it. Very often I only simulate critical parts of layout (e.g. memory layout) and even then only in cases when I have to break to many recommended rules.

    PSS: Altium is not good in simulations.

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    • #3
      Thank you a lot Sir, this information has really made me foresee clearly on what is really need to become a hardware design Engineer. Moreover, are there useful sites to obtain those reference schematics and layouts? Are they freely available or need some cash? So far I know from the course "Learn to design your own boards" we took reference schematic from an open site of Arduino. Last but not least do you offer live training or of the sort like Internship (including internationals)?

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      • #4
        Every good chip manufacturer offers reference schematics and layouts (so, there are many). Maybe, decide on your own project (what would you like to build), find chips for it and then find reference boards for the chips you decided to use.

        I do not do live trainings (it is very complicated with my time).

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        • #5
          Thank you!

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          • #6
            I just want to add a bit.
            Here in Russia we have University Major called Design and Technology of Electronics (of Radio, of Avionics, of ... any kind of staff). So I have started my journey as Mechanical engineer (!). But I made my way through PCB assembly technology engineer (so I was trained to be fabricator's engineer as assembly house's engineer), to PCB layout engineer and now I am Electronics engineer (head of design engineer department). But, we found interesting balance in our life with my collogues: I can do schematics, but not so complex and I do it slower, but I easily do schematics to design breakdown, so is PCB design and mechanical and EMI staff. So we divided: Now we have Engineering department, where guys do schematics for big, complex board and do some minor PCBs layouts, RF analog guys, and design engineers department where have of my man (mostly girls) do PCBs and half of theme do Chassis and all of as from time to time do not to complex board (Schematic+layout).
            You must to find your passion, but you need to remember your are a human and you can not do it all on the same high level. Look at apple's openings: they looking for electronics engineer who will do schematic and also they are looking for layout engineers. When you go into deep, there will be plenty on each plate.

            There were videos where Robert was looking at Olympus project. I doubt that same people did that schematic and the board (also I thing various engineers did there separate parts).
            But if you want to build staff go for architecture of electronics, go way up high, cuz if you do not you will be just a tool in hands of a master and your real choise will be like what FPGA to use and not Should I use FPGA at all. Can you see the difference?

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            • #7
              Hello Calex ,
              From my experience so far, You need to be passionate about anything you want to learn be it schematic design or PCB design.
              robertferanec's courses are like the torch light in you hand once you enter the design world.. They have helped me alot.

              Few points from my end (May be some of them are already mentioned above)
              • Refer to the reference design in the component datasheets.
              • Refer to the open source projects and see what they have done to achieve the purpose
              • Learn spice tools like LT spice , TINA (By Texas Instruments) and several others.
              • For you point on designing the board from scratch:
                • This depends on what you want to design
                • Start by designing a simple 555 timer circuit to get the gist.
              • When it comes to design there are primarily 3 categories
                • Analog design
                • Digital Design
                • Mixed Domain Design (Both analog and digital)
                • You can decide in which you would want to proceed only if you know somewhat about these.
              • Read books, attend webinars even if you do not know what they are about initially attend them and slowly and steadily you will understand.

              For schematic design basics are very essential. Even though they are simple but it get complex..
              So keep reading the books on basic electronics and electrical and see how those things are implemented pratically.

              Once you start doing all these you will see there is whole ocean of knowledge, Just take you glass along and drink sip by sip and you will realize that you have become what you dreamt off..

              Cheers.
              All the best.

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