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  • EEVblog #72 – Let’s Design a Product

    Posted on April 8th, 2010 EEVblog 21 comments

    In this supersized lecture length episode, Dave foolishly attempts to explain how to design an example product (the uCurrent) from start to finish.

    Read the FULL ARTICLE.
    The uCurrent WEB PAGE


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    • Varal

      Great entry – very helpful :) I did hope for a sneak peak on how you design PCBs though ;)

    • http://www.toddfun.com Todd Harrison

      Best yet, It just keeps getting better.

      Did you order the board with all the smd mounted or did you have to send it out for that? Or did you do the smd mounting yourself?

      Did you have to solder the dp3t switches after all the smd work or are the switches smd too?

    • billtech

      Rightous vblog.

      if you don’t mind me asking… Do you have a bunch assembled in stock? How do you sell your ucurrent device? and have you sold many?

      this post was very inspiring. thankyou.

    • Cecil

      Dave,

      I loved this blog.

      Couple of questions…

      1. As asked above more on your layout methods would be cool.

      2. You mentioned kits and pre-built both as an offering. How did you figure on the ratio to buy?

      3. On the pre-built order side did you do the assembly yourself or did your board partner do the build?

      4. If the board mfg did the pre-built how are parts handled? Do you order and ship parts to them or do you let them have a master order and let them go at it?

      5. How did you do testing on the pre-builds to assure quality?

      I know tons of questions… I would say sorry.

      But here is a bit more blog fodder for you.

      -Cecil

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        2. You mentioned kits and pre-built both as an offering. How did you figure on the ratio to buy?
        3. On the pre-built order side did you do the assembly yourself or did your board partner do the build?
        4. If the board mfg did the pre-built how are parts handled? Do you order and ship parts to them or do you let them have a master order and let them go at it?
        5. How did you do testing on the pre-builds to assure quality?

        2. I’ve been in the magazine kit business a long time, so knew I had to start with mostly kits when the magazine hit the stands. I think it was about 80% kits from the article sales. Then that changed when orders just came from the web, no one wanted a kit they just wanted the pre-built unit. Kit builders are usually scared off by surface mount stuff. And SMD kits are a pain in the arse to put together anyway.
        3. I have a guy in Melbourne who assembles short run boards for me by hand. Works out of his garage and is pretty cheap. I supplied all the parts.
        5. I don’t characterise each one, just some basic spot checking on each range with my Keithley picoamp current generator to ensure it works.

        Dave.

    • http://www.stewartallen.org Stew

      Hey Dave,

      Great video, keep’em coming.

    • edward

      Best vblog yet, Dave. This helps bridge the gap from amateur/hobbyist to professional paradigm.

      Thank you for this. Nothing else like this on the web — you’re a pioneer.

      E

    • gohai

      Hi Dave, great video, was very interesting to watch this from the idea to the finished thing!

      As Cecil already mentioned, I would also be very interested if you could shine some light on the options or considerations that go into how/where to prototype, manufacture and assemble the actual boards.

      Being a hobbyist, I can handle single-sided designs that use through-hole components and if I really put some effort into this, I can do some boards for myself with SMD components (using stencils and a reflow oven) – but as I just rarely do this, it takes me a lot of time and I might have to throw away quite some boards and parts afterwards..
      On the other hand I really don’t know how I could deal with all these professional PCB manufacturers – how having them supply the parts would work out financially, etc.

      anyway, just an idea.. thanks for the videos!

      gohai

    • Zaphod

      I really enjoyed this episode, thanks! The only question I bear on my mind atm: What about the “reverse LED”? Couldn’t I just use a normal surface-mount LED and solder it upside down?

      Best, Zaphod

    • Qno

      Hi Dave,

      Great blog, thanks!
      Big relief, I thought I was wasting time spending most of my time searching for parts and appealing enclosures but it appears it is common in the business. You have to be a jack of all trades.

      I found another blog from Ed Nisley who happens to write articles for Circuit Cellar.
      He does not do the fancy video stuff Dave is doing but you can learn something about designing products and stuff.
      You can find him here:
      http://softsolder.wordpress.com
      Check him out Dave. Maybe you get an idea for your next blog or product.

      Keep up the good work.
      Maybe next time a rant on new product?

    • Ray Jones

      One word hit me Letraset

      Can you still get that anywhere?

      I’ve half heartedly looked and failed :-(

    • http://www.soasystem.com shafri

      i think the workflow is already mentioned in the calculator watch design video. but its good to revise.

      120MB of download is a pain in the arse! for me at least. Cheers!

    • Brad Basler

      You’re a great role-model for budding EEs. I loved the PCB-as-lid idea. I know a guy who’s also doing interesting things in what I refer as the ‘garage electronics industry’ (www.macetech.com). It’s inspiring seeing guys like you coming up with your own products and selling them, looks like tremendous fun.

      • George Herold

        I too love the PCB as front panel idea… hope it’s OK if I steal it sometime Dave.

        Front panel silk screening is sometimes more costly than the circuit.

    • Sloba

      Dave, whic program do you use for designing PBCs?

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Altium Designer

        • Sloba

          Thank you.

    • http://www.n-rd.com Adam

      Whole-E-Cow. Fan-freaking-tastic.

      Thank you for taking the time to do that, great ideas that most of us “young players” would take years to accumulate.

    • Ling SM

      I could not download to watch offline and file. So I was waited until now to watch off the youtube, surprisingly, I finished the 52min in one go. Your PCB as a panel is a great idea as others have pointed out.
      I can even cut a slot at the back of a cheapo multimeter to integrate the ucurrent adapter in.

      You ought to do more of this, and none of the driving-video, it is too dangerous as you are not 100% on your driving.

    • Neil

      Why would you not connect the positive input of the op-amp to the positive (banana-jack) input directly, then just use a SP3T switch (rather than a DP3T)? This would’ve probably opened up a few more opportunities for switches.

    • Gustave Stallyon

      Did you take the dischargecurve for the CR2032 into account vs. a AA/AAA battery?