The past several weeks were about hacking stuff together: electrically connecting chips and some other components together, and making the resulting circuit + software do fun stuff.
This week is about turning an experiment into a more formal design.
In some cases, such as the mains distribution panel at JeeLabs, clear wiring is not a luxury:
Those colour codes are not for making a pretty picture – the are required by law. And even though most mains distribution panels end up being unique one-offs, the formal “notation” is essential to make each design well-documented and understandable for decades to come.
With low-power experiments, we have a lot more freedom to just hack around, fortunately!
But although breadboards are great for trying out ideas by letting you “edit” the electronic circuit, at some point you will probably want to make it more permanent, or smaller, or more robust – or even all those at once. Or perhaps you simply want to make it repeatable, so more “instances” of your experiment can be produced – whether for fun or for profit, and perhaps even not for yourself but for others to replicate with minimal effort.
Tinkering is fun. Repeatedly solving the same puzzle or falling into the same trap is not.
Here are this week’s articles, as planned for the coming days at 0:00 CET:
- Circuits and schematics – Now
- The magic of copper and solder – Thu
- Laying out and routing a PCB – Fri
Please note that these articles are not a how-to guide for the entire process, just a first introduction to all the steps involved in going from an idea to a reproducible design.