Thinking_J

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Design products for many industries


Thinking_J

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  • 10.24.2017
  • An overlay transistor cautionary tale
  • This relates to many issues .. Starting with the importance of a company's part numbering system and process controls. Nearly all companies have to create their own part numbering system .. Not really a requirement back in the "good ol days".. (but still a good idea) But with the nearly ubiquitous use of automation (SMT) .. a very important issue. why? While we can create databases with alternative - QUALIFIED - manufacturer's part numbers .. Rarely can this be applied within an automated assembly line in a reasonable fashion. The SMT pick and place machines and operators want a single part number for a given location on the pcb. With hundreds of parts on a given design... the operator doesn't have the time to be redefining the number used or tweaking the placement for each new reel of components. Bad enough to track (scan) date codes, etc. of materials used to pcb assembly serial numbers. Bottom line? each component introduced into the system must be qualified to work on Regardless, be prepared to re-qualify it everywhere it is used, with every reported change from the manufacturer of the part. It pays to be registered with your distributor/manufacturer as a consumer of a given part. They will keep you updated on ANY changes to the parts in question. Nobody can assume a JEDEC number will ensure changes to a component will stop. There are simply too many variables (some unknown at the time) to document. Just a few of the issues (complexities) of electronics engineering. And why we have few standards on part numbers.
  • 09.26.2017
  • Who cares that we no longer have privacy?
  • Transparency will ultimately "win".. (for many many reasons) What will be "new" because of this? A requirement by society's members, to be more tolerant of each other. Previous generations (government) solutions of passing laws based upon current views of "right and wrong" will have to give way to more flexible understanding. They just repealed the NY city ordinance making dancing illegal ! .. .yea! This law has been in place for entire 20th century. Under the present systems, EVERYONE is breaking the law.. (avg 38 times a day in US?) Becoming worthy for authorities to ENFORCE the law .. is all you have to worry about. Protecting yourself with privacy .. is a losing game. Kent1.. now Trump's admin is using private email server for gov business. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/29/white-house-investigation-private-email-accounts Nothing changed. I doubt either person (Hillary or Jared) really compromised our security. But.. both are likely guilty of breaking the law (or at least someone understanding of the law). Were they better served with attempts at privacy? or a understanding public?
  • 08.16.2017
  • Whipping a cheap LED PSU into usable shape
  • You may want to consider a larger electrical box (they are available) ... those alternative PSUs look much better (and less than $2 more expensive). A larger electrical box might be a better compromise. Just a thought.
  • 08.16.2017
  • Whipping a cheap LED PSU into usable shape
  • $3.15? in low quantities?.. very impressive. Obviously this supplier is resolving some of their quality/truthfulness issues without impacting pricing. (same price.. using a better cap in newer units.. revised specs) Quality doesn't always track (to an expected level) with pricing (picking 2 of 3). This is the illusion that Japanese shattered in the 1980s. (Std deviation in quality can be minimized without cost increases) As pricing drops to a such low levels.. I start to question what I would be supporting in the purchase of the product. Slave labor? or theft out the back door of the factory or during product transit? (informed consumer.. turning a blind eye to how that pricing was established) Similar to the moral questions we face when buying our clothing. Responsible, moral living .. is complicated (sigh).
  • 08.16.2017
  • Whipping a cheap LED PSU into usable shape
  • Interesting project.. I have considered a similar one .. (to get the lighting effect I wanted) And points out the responsibility of individuals (in this case engineers) to speak truth to authority. AKA: brave enough to tell your boss - when you know they are breaking the law. To note: Most fed, state, county, city electrical building codes - include qualifications for what you can plug into your wall outlets.. even more, what can be permanently (?) wired into your home. UL (or equ) qualifications (in the national and local electrical codes) are there for safety reasons .. (fire and accidental electrocution). While I am sure Michael will make sure it his installation is safe, In many instances you can open yourself up to legal issues. (don't show off your installation to your neighbor if he is the local building inspector.. and happens to be also be a bit "anal retentive". He won't care about the conducted or radiated emissions (unless it interferes with his TV/radio, is a Ham radio operator or if you live in a "quiet zone" for radio astronomy) But he might care about you starting a fire in the neighborhood... and not trust your skills in making sure it safe. Michael.. I would trust you. We are a nation of laws.. randomly enforced.
  • 09.07.2017
  • A lifetime designing PCBs: Early design adventures
  • Reminds me of my early years ... I worked with 4x scale red/blue/black tape ups..over the light table. Never did 2x scale work. (avionics work mostly) Rubylith? .. was mainly used for 10x scale thick film hybrids. Agree with you Charles...these manual methods certainly instill a certain level of discipline to your design processes. I healthy dose of experience as production process engineering has been another valuable resource. Every pcb designer should "experience" the build processes of the facility that will build their design. They will become better designers because of this experience.
  • 04.05.2012
  • Pulp packs a punch
  • Mike.. ( I didn't see this when first published).. a late response. "CE" expects you to test your product to their standards for "Susceptibility" to radiated and conducted interference to levels deemed appropriate for the intended environment, if you intend to sell it to others. It is likely their product was tested and met the conducted and radiated emissions standards of FCC and CE (office equipment would be class "A" levels) of the time. After all... the copier is a product sold to many, and your "Product" was only used within your company (with no indication you tested it to prevailing susceptibility standards). If this tale happened before 1980... the copier may not have met any emissions standards, because these standards were only beginning to be introduced to products that were non-intentional radiators. takeaways: - don't be quick to judge other's designs. - if you don't test for susceptibility.. don't be surprised if it becomes an issue later. - technology moves faster than any legal system.
  • 09.14.2017
  • Speak up, your job depends on it
  • expanding upon Bob's thoughts... I really dislike the use of generalities about any person.. based upon their profession. Just another form of "pre-judging" a person or group. (AKA: prejudice) Assuming engineers are introverted .. is just wrong. Wrong .. as in .. "not based upon facts" It is a popular misconception (joke?) .. as wrong as all Polish people or all blondes are "dumb". And don't get me started on the impact of these misconceptions in the corporate world's HR departments. Preconceptions based upon laziness (people trying to simplify/reduce their thinking or workload). As to speaking "truth".. This has little to do with introvert vs extrovert. It has to do with honesty, bravery and recognizing the appropriate time and place to share your "truth". "better be right"? Everyone has a different idea of what "right" is. Realize your (or your immediate friends) "right".. isn't always the "right" shared by everyone else ( Snowden?) As to encouraging engineers to be "disruptive"... If being disruptive is called for (by your conscious) then be disruptive. But be mindful of the cost. Most engineers are working for others (this is viewed as temporary? Hell! every job can be viewed as temporary.. temporary becomes meaningless ) .. and being disruptive can "burn bridges" , impacting future employment. The engineering world isn't all that big.. and word gets around. If being thoughtful, mindful, honest, brave when speaking up is a trait assigned to engineers .. I am all for it. But I would prefer these traits become common among all people.
  • 09.06.2017
  • Beware the TO-220
  • the phrase: " the devil is in the details" comes to my mind. Nearly all the component suppliers have fine print in their product specifications that give notice they can change damn near anything about the part . .without notification. However, if you are a product manufacturer .. with a history of purchasing a component.. you will generally get notification of ANY changes in the making of the parts in question. I get these notifications all the time. (ugh).. I have to review each of them as to their significance. Pick you poison.. .the effort required to stay informed or getting a surprise on occasion. I wish the definition of common words (much less parts under JEDEC definition) .. remained unchanged. However, the world seems determined to confuse me.