Solve design challenges

-August 24, 2012

This article has been superseded by Design Ideas Submission Guide.

One of the really cool things about EDN is the Design Ideas section, where readers can post their idea for a new circuit or system, and others can comment on it, suggesting improvements or pointing out flaws. I recently spent some time talking with some new EEs, and one of the things that impressed me was their appreciation of the experienced engineers that they get the opportunity to work with. Well, in some small companies or specialized areas, EEs may not have that kind of opportunity. That’s where EDN’s Design Ideas come into play. Readers can post their ideas, and others can chime in on what works. Here is a quick list of some of the more recent ones that have to do with test & measurement:

Circuit automatically switches off DMM

Vladimir Oleynik, Moscow, Russia

Single hex-inverter IC makes four test gadgets

Raju Baddi, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Pune, India

How to recover a pulse signal with a large capacitance load

Chenan Tong

Have an idea that you want to get input on or score bragging rights for? All you need to do is send your design idea to

If you want to know more, here is a list of FAQs on Design Ideas that might be of assistance:

What are Design Ideas? 

Design Ideas are short, compact articles (about three to six paragraphs on average) that help you solve problems or show you innovative ways to accomplish design tasks. The topic is up to you. We review articles that fall into virtually any technology area: analog or digital circuits, programmable logic, hardware-design languages, systems, programming tips, useful utilities, test techniques, and so on. The idea should be useful or innovative or tricky. 

A Design Idea is not necessarily a complete engineering package. You don't have to submit a design for your complete system-just the idea that is the heart of your system (see the links above for examples).

How do I submit a Design Idea?
E-mail a version of your idea and graphics in .tif, .gif, or jpeg format, to Design Ideas must be your original work, and you must not have published them elsewhere. 

Can I send in hand-drawn schematics?

Sure. Our art department will often redraw the Design Ideas schematics anyway to conform to our selected style. Just make sure the drawing is legible and complete. Include pin numbers of the ICs for the convenience of readers who build the circuit. Label components designations (R2, C3, IC1) if they are mentioned in the text of the article. Make sure you include component values, ratings, and tolerances, and if you have an unusual component in your design, tell us the manufacturer, source, materials, etc. For instance, if your design involves a homemade inductor, we'll need to know the core material, wire gauge, and the number of turns. For program listings, e-mail a file. 

Can I put hyperlinks to related content in my Design Idea?

Absolutely! Links to software downloads, related articles, additional technical information, white papers, and any related topic are strongly encouraged. Readers find them very helpful.

How long does it take to find out if my Design Idea is accepted?

We want to give each Design Idea a fair shake, so we have established internal and external panels of experts in all technical fields to evaluate the articles. The process can be as short as three weeks to as long as seven.

Do I get paid for a Design Idea?

You bet. You won't get rich, but your idea will be read by hundreds of thousands of your colleagues around the world. If we accept your Design Idea, we pay $150. 

Can I send my idea to more than one magazine at a time?

Don't do it. Most professional publications will reject an article outright if it has been sent to multiple magazines. Send your article to only one magazine at a time. If Magazine #1 declines to publish your article, then you're free to try Magazine #2. Don't give up-if you have a neat idea, it will get noticed. 

What about testing the designs? Do you do it?

We cannot emphasize testing enough, but we don't have the time or facilities to do it. It's imperative that you wring out and test your design yourself! If your design is a power supply, for example, make sure it can withstand temperature extremes, input overvoltages, and output short circuits.

Include some measured performance data in the text or table. Make sure there won't be a problem if any critical component fails. Test, test, test!

Tips and requirements:
•    Design entered must be submitted exclusively to EDN. Design must be original with author(s), must not have been previously patented or published, and must have been constructed and tested.
•    Fully annotate all circuit diagrams with components' part numbers and electrical values.
•    Keep it short.
•    Email your idea and graphics and supporting materials in one email, such as with a ZIP file.
•    Don't worry about style or grammar, but make sure we can figure out why your Design Idea is clever, how it works, and which applications it suits.
•    Send questions and completed Design Ideas to

Loading comments...

Write a Comment

To comment please Log In