Commodore 128 Principal Engineer, Bil Herd on Best Practices for Learning a New CAD Tool

June 19, 2018 Judy Warner


Download this episode (right click and save)

Bil Herd shares stories and design wisdom from years of experience as a hardware engineer, most famously at Commodore. He started out self-taught, then Bil accidentally started working around people even more brilliant than him and some of it rubbed off a little. Learn about his interesting journey from TV repair to Commodore, Hackaday and beyond. Today, Bil is self-employed and focused on networks, high-level architecture consulting and hardware projects.




Show Highlights:

  • I never forgot how to do hardware design. It’s fun to be able to do that. I’m working on an Altium project right now.
  • You get to be imaginative for a couple days, and then you spend the next couple months paying for it looking at every single line item, every footprint and trying to catch where your brain was wrong.
  • Commodore Hardware lab, splitting bus for video and hired to lead the team shortly after.
  • Going after a swag bag offered by Adafruit from an MIT Open hardware conference resulted in a video series with Hackaday
  • Almost all the errors I’ve made in CAD systems were related to parts I’ve made. For parts and footprints - you need to have someone check your work.
  • To start a new CAD system - make a trash board, force yourself through.
  • Process to start learning a new CAD system: Open CAD > Get Overwhelmed > DRINK
  • Making a board on a new CAD tool. First I make a trash board knowing I won’t use it. Then make a real board, using all the rules.
  • Find a mentor and mentor others.
  • What is the wire? C128 board.
  • 100% pass rate fixing the z80 on the C128 with burnt retinas and a wire.
  • Adding wire to boards, no EMS provider today would do that.


Links and Resources:

Bil Herd Wikipedia


Bil Herd’s Hackaday Videos

8 Bit Generation Documentary



Click here to view all Episodes

Or click here to access the Altium Designer Free Trial Today.



About the Author

Judy Warner

Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry since 1984. She has a deep background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing with a focus on Mil/Aero applications in technical sales and marketing. She has been a blogger, writer, contributor and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, The PCB Magazine, The PCB Design Magazine, PDCF&A and IEEE Microwave Magazine and is an active member of multiple IPC Designers Council chapters. In March 2017, Warner became the Director of Community Engagement for Altium and was immediately tasked with the launch of Altium’s monthly On Track Newsletter. She was also instrumental in launching AltiumLive 2017: Annual PCB Design Summit in San Diego and Munich, a newly founded annual Altium User Conference. Her passion is providing resources, supporting and advocating for PCB Designers around the world and acting as brand ambassador for Altium.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin Visit Website More Content by Judy Warner
Previous Article
Mary Elizabeth McCulloch and Project Vive’s Medical Device Innovations
Mary Elizabeth McCulloch and Project Vive’s Medical Device Innovations

Listen and find out how Mary and Project Vive are using low cost sensors and changing lives by leading the ...

Next Article
Flex and Material Sets with Chris Hunrath
Flex and Material Sets with Chris Hunrath

The rise in flex applications across all industries from medical to automotive, aerospace and military uses...

Get My Altium Designer Free Trial Today or Call 1-800-544-4186

Get Free Trial