PCB Design, Robotics, and Video Tips: OnTrack Newsletter May 2017
Welcome to the second edition of the Altium On Track newsletter. This month we feature a very special PCB designer, Cherie Litson, who is a CID and CID+ Master Trainer. We also take you inside the FIRST Robotics Competition and Team Mechanical Mayhem 1519. We’ve also launched a new monthly On Track educational video series which offers design tips and tricks. As usual, there’s plenty of Brain Food and a list of upcoming electronics conferences and events. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Enjoy!
Judy M. Warner
Director of Community Engagement
Spotlighting Exceptional Women PCB Designers
Cherie Litson is an accomplished BSEE and Master Instructor for CID and CID+ training at Eptac. She has enjoyed a long career as a PCB design professional and now spends her days training and certifying other designers. Here she shares how she became a designer, her thoughts on differences between men and women in their business approach, and what advice she would offer to others considering a PCB design profession.
Celebrating Makers and their Cool Stuff
Over 25 years ago, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) founder and prolific inventor, Dean Kamen, envisioned a high school robotics competition that rivaled the energy and excitement of any major league sporting event. An event that would turn science students into superstars and infect them with an unshakeable passion for STEM activities and careers. In this promotional FIRST video, Morgan Freeman articulates the vision, value, and power of this amazing global organization. Read here about Altium’s own Chris Jennings' history with FRC and the team he coaches, Mechanical Mayhem 1519, who recently won a coveted spot in the upcoming World Championships.
Chris Carlson: How to Get Your Layer Stack Right
Altium FAE, Chris Carlson, demonstrates two ways to make sure you get your layer stack right at your fabricator the first time...every time!
Tips, Tricks and Training
Risk Vs. Reward During the recent IPC APEX expo, there was a lot of discussion about SAP, or semi-additive PCB processes. As with any new technology in PCB manufacturing, there were people that are excited to jump right in and start designing with much finer feature sizes and work through the inevitable changes to the traditional thought process. Others are in a let’s wait and see mode and of course, there are a few skeptics there as well. There were a few stand Read Article
Linux and Android: What’s the Difference When purchasing an off-the-shelf module or designing a customized module of your own using a design tool like Upverter (previously known as Geppetto), you have to select an operating system. Often, you have a variety of choices. Two popular open source software (OSS) platforms are Linux and Android. If you’re new to design, how do you know which one you want to use? There are complicated, highly technical answers to this question. However, if you Read Article
Frequency Modulation Simulation in Altium Designer When working with analog signals, you need to ensure your device is operating linearly in order to prevent problems like harmonic distortion during operation. Nonlinear interactions in analog devices lead to distortion that corrupts a clean analog signal. It may not be obvious when an analog circuit clips just from looking at your schematic or datasheets. Instead of tracing through your signal chain manually, you can use simulation tools to get Read Article
65W Single IC LED Driver Project One of the projects I’m working on for personal use at the moment is a high color rendering index (CRI) LED panel, which I’m aiming to make about 300W. I was exploring options for making a high performance LED driver that would be quite compact, and while I couldn’t build a 300W single IC LED driver, I was able to design a 65W one that didn’t look like it would melt right through the circuit board. I really liked the IC, so I thought I’d create a Read Article
Geeky Holiday Gift Ideas The holiday season is coming! I asked both the Altium community and my Altium Library community what geek gifts they are looking for, and I’ve added some of my own for the first ever Altium Geek Gift Guide! This is mostly for electronics geeks, but there should be something for everyone! There are so many amazing geek gifts out there it would be impossible to cover them all, so I’ve tried to keep to community suggestions. I then added just a few Read Article
Chasing a Minimal Power Budget If you’re working on a battery powered project that needs a long service life between charges or battery replacements, you’ll quickly find that every last microwatt of power starts to add up over months of operation. I have worked on some projects in the past that needed to run for months on a single charge of a secondary battery, or a single primary battery that was small enough that simply running the microcontroller at full power would drain Read Article