There are a wide variety of techniques used in electronics.
- 1 Printed circuit board design/fabrication
- 2 Circuit construction (Prototyping - Other than custom PCB)
- 3 Soldering techniques
- 4 Hardware tools
- 5 software tools
- 6 Software design tools
- 7 PC-Microcontroller Communications
- 8 Embedded System Programming and Testing
- 9 driving motors
- 10 Enclosure
- 11 Misc Tips Tricks
- 12 Further Reading
- 13 Environmental Issues
Printed circuit board design/fabrication
Circuit construction (Prototyping - Other than custom PCB)
- Solderless protoboard
- Point-to-point (Wikipedia:Point-to-point construction)
- Wirewrap (Wikipedia:Wire Wrap)
- Dead bug style
- Manhattan style
- "Ugly Construction" (like deadbug... )
"Construction Ideas" has nice photographs of the above circuit construction techniques. ["Effects Building Techniques" by R.G. Keen 1999 reviews, compares, and contrasts these techniques for circuit construction -- also a few more.
Most of these techniques are designed to use through-hole devices with pins on 0.1" centers -- and vice versa: most through-hole devices are designed to fit into stripboard or other prototyping board with holes on 0.1" centers.
So how do people prototype something with a surface mount device (SMD)?
- Some people continue to use prototyping boards with 0.1" holes, with a bit of creativity, for some SMT devices ()()()()
- Some people solder many SMT devices to tiny "generic" "surface-mount prototyping boards", then those tiny boards wired together into a complete system (perhaps also including through-hole parts on a stripboard or solderless breadboard). ("Universal through-hole and SMD prototyping board"), (Schmartboard Schmartboard forum), ("Surfboards"). Alas, none of these are completely generic for most kinds of SMT parts the way that stripboard is completely generic for almost all kinds of through-hole parts.
- Some people buy a demo board with the SMT part already soldered to it; then these small boards can be wired into a complete system (perhaps also including through-hole parts on a stripboard or solderless breadboard).
- Sometimes people are forced to build a big custom PCB with precise footprints adapted to that SMD device. (This seems to be what manufacturers that make SMDs expect you to do).
- Basic soldering -- How to use a soldering iron.
- Surface Mount
- Rework -- Techniques for fixing mistakes, or for adding new features to a board that almost does what you want.
(Optional: ) After all the parts are completely soldered down, some people like to spray the board with some kind of conformal coating, or completely seal in the board with some kind of potting compound. See "Electronics and Robotics: What's the best way to protect a board from corrosion in a hot/moist environment?".
A directory of hardware tools that you may find useful.
Software design tools
A directory of software tools that you may find useful.
Discussion of the various methods to connect a microcontroller or embedded system to a PC...
Embedded System Programming and Testing
To add to the confusion programming in embedded system can mean a person writing a program or a device called a programmer "burning" a program into a chip. This section is for the "burning" meaning of programming.
- Many systems use JTAG for programming and testing. (Such as Atmel AVR embedded systems]).
- Other systems use some other kind of in-circuit programming.
- Some people use bootloaders to make re-programming a little quicker.
-- not sure that this next one is not misplaced ? -- We're talking about "programming and testing" ? What else do you use to test op-amp circuits?
- Many people use an oscilloscope (o'scope). See oscilloscope for a list of Keith has made a list of low-cost o'scopesl "PC USB logic analyzers that cost under $1000." for a list of low-cost logic analyzers.
Humans writing a program almost always do it in a language. Here is a section that discusses some of these languages: Programming Languages
- The Earth Signal should short to whole metal Case
- Digital/Analog GND should separate to this Earth Signal, and should connect a Y-cap. to filter the noise between them.
- Attention: do not place near between Earth Signal and Digital/Analog GND, otherwise some spark come out, and affect your whole system.
- See enclosures.
Misc Tips Tricks
- "Electronics Design" from Airborn gives an overview of the complete process: specification, (schematic) circuit design, layout, prototypes, firmware, pilot run, production.
- EDA electronic design automation software is a subset of CAD in general. Is there a wiki that discusses CAD in general? Until I find it, I'm going to post these tools here: "Google SketchUp is a powerful yet easy-to-learn 3D software tool" http://sketchup.google.com/ ; "Inkscape is the best tool for SVG standard vector graphics" http://wiki.inkscape.org/ ; Visual Wiki http://visualwiki.org/
- "What's All This Ground Noise Stuff, Anyhow?" by Robert A. Pease
- "What's All This Teflon Stuff, Anyhow?" by Robert A. Pease -- explains a situation using lots of metal (instead of carefully insulating everything with lots of Teflon) causes less noise. Also mentions "why am I telling you all of these details? If I design a tester with greatly improved performance to help me test a really high-performance product, why should I tell all our competitors so that anybody in the world can test their products using the improved tester? Why should I give away all of these hard-earned secrets?" and gives some very good reasons.
- sci.electronics.design: EDN: Measuring Nanoamperes discusses some ways to measure extremely small currents.
- MillPCBs.com for techniques on using a small cnc machine to mill PCB's
- Dave McGuire says "The notion that through-hole soldering is easier than soldering surface-mount devices is, and always has been, a myth." (Now, about keeping all the look-alike passive parts straight... :) )
- Intro into SMD Soldering
- PMinMO.com is THE PLACE for DIY CNC driver information
- 18 Essential Skills for a Maker