I just completed the Fedevel Academy Advanced Hardware Design course. It was mostly a review, but I did pickup a few tricks and shortcuts I was unaware of. I’m now going to start the Advanced PCB Layout course. This is all in parallel with everything I’m doing at work (i.MX6, DDR, HDMI, LVDS, WiFi, Bluetooth, SD, USB, Ethernet).
Very interesting data on technology jobs in the states done by Dice. It has an interactive map showing average salaries and growth in certain cities. Check it out here.
This is a big deal. It looks like Altium has created a hobbiest version called CircuitMaker. I signed up for the beta, more to come….
I have recently changed jobs. I’m now at FirstView Consultants as a hardware design engineer.
Signal and Power Integrity by Eric Bogatin was recommended to me for learning how to do high speed PCB design. I’m heavily dyslexic so it’s going to take me a bit to get through it so I think I’ll track my progress here.
- 2014.09.18 Chapter 1 (Signal Integrity is in Your Future) done
- 2014.10.12 Chapter 2 (Time and Frequency Domains) done
- 2014.10.22 Chapter 3 (Impedance and Electrical Models) done
- 2014.10.29 Chapter 4 (The Physical Basis of Resistance) done
- 2014.11.02 Chapter 5 (The Physical Basis of Capacitance) done
- 2014.11.30 Chapter 6 (The Physical Basis of Inductance) done
- 2014.12.11 Chapter 7 (The Physical Basis of Transmissions Lines) done
- 2014.12.14 Chapter 8 (Transmission Lines and Reflections) done
- 2014.12.31 Chapter 9 (Lossy Lines, Rise-Time Degradation, and Material Properties) done
- 2015.1.10 Chapter 10 (Cross Talk in Transmission Lines) done
- 2015.2.8 Chapter 11 (Differential Pairs and Differential Impedance) done
Reading vs Doing
After reading several chapters I have realized that there is so much information that I beginning to forget some of the subject matter. This is mainly due to the fact that I’m just reading the book and not reenforcing the data. The best way to reenforce the data is to apply the knowledge to a project, create a report on the subject mater, or try to teach the subject to someone else. I’ve got plans on applying the knowledge but I really need to get through the book first so I’ll have to start creating a summary report for each chapter.
After I started to update my Engineering page I realized that I’m summarizing, in detail, a book and the author might not like that. So instead I have decided to put the summaries in Evernote. I can create a note in Evernote and I can access it as a reference anywhere.
Unexpected Uses at Tolteq
I have been able to utilize some of what I have already learned in my work at Tolteq…. didn’t really expect that. I don’t do anything high speed at Tolteq, but I do design the bulk of the downhole (175°C) boards used by the company and I recently came across some issues dealing with impedance matching in some ADC measurements. I was able to immediately identify the issue as an impedance matching problem, made a few adjustments to some resistors and fixed the issue quickly. I was also able to recognize some o-scope measurements issues when dealing with some digital signals and make appropriate changes to the measurement method to get rid of some false negatives.
DesignCon has caught my attention. It’s in Santa Clara at the end of January and costs about $800, if you want to attend the conferences. I would love to go, but I’m not knowledgeable enough, YET, to get a lot of out it plus it would be very expensive for the registration + room and board + flight + PTO from work….. maybe next year.
RF and High Speed
While getting further into the book and looking more stuff up on the internet I started to see some overlap between high speed design and RF design. It was later confirmed in the book itself by stating that techniques and principles from the RF world were used in high speed design. This has sparked my interest in Ham radio. I was introduced to the ham work by Jon Barkley, an engineer my dad worked with, when I was still in high school but I never got really interested in it.