Author Topic: aspects of the hobby that get you down?  (Read 9026 times)

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Offline SArepairman

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aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« on: March 01, 2014, 12:58:59 pm »
I hate cad, specifically trying to find footprints. I think I have put a project on hold for like 3 months because I just don't wanna deal with making footprints or finding footprints in altium, I have just drawn some shit with a sharpie on the transparency before (I make my own boards) because I did not wanna go through the 30 minute process of digging through 5605349353435 libraries to try to find some footprint

id rather use a file and a magnifying glass then that stupid cad program

programming: every time I open the work environment I wonder is this going to take 5 minutes like I thought it would or am I going to be digging through support forums for 3 hours before I get it to work because of some weird bug


these two aspects of electrical engineering raise my blood pressure.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2014, 01:01:16 pm by SArepairman »
 

Offline MatCat

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2014, 01:04:32 pm »
?? Altium is the easiest to do footprints in, just use IPC Compliant wizard it takes usually less then 60 seconds for any standard type of part. 
 

Offline SArepairman

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2014, 01:05:46 pm »
?? Altium is the easiest to do footprints in, just use IPC Compliant wizard it takes usually less then 60 seconds for any standard type of part.

you know I dont know shit about making footprints, I switched from eagle cad to altium.

eagle cad made me never want to learn how to do it
« Last Edit: March 01, 2014, 01:07:41 pm by SArepairman »
 

Offline SArepairman

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2014, 01:10:19 pm »
I think that what makes computer related things so bad is that you always feel like the problem is your fault. In the lab yoou might just be like ah, the equipment broke, the part broke, this wont stop oscillating, you can generally get a pretty specific feel of what the problem and solution is

with a computer problem you wonder

is it a virus?
did my OS break?
did my recent OS self updates break it?
is it a user error?

the sheer amount of things that can go wrong............. |O
and the indicators to the solution are vauge. I had the same problem (firefox crashing alot).

 Once I managed to fix it (it turned out the update had an issue), had it fixed in ~25min
another time, firefox crashing, it turned out my ram was bad............ had it fixed for 180$ + 5 days shipping
another time: some virus, about an hour to virus scan

the clues to the problem were the same in both cases, firefox crashing.

Now,  if bad ram was causing a micro controller programming failure leading to an 'odd' but not disabling bug? I would probably be found in a pool of my own blood in the bath tub with slit wrists.


« Last Edit: March 01, 2014, 01:16:51 pm by SArepairman »
 

Offline MatCat

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2014, 01:14:18 pm »
Another good method I use for odd footprints is to download the 3D model on 3dcontentcentral.com if they have it and match a footprint to it, though be careful if you do that there is no guarantee the person that made the model has it right, so always use the datasheet as a guide, but I have yet to have it fail for me and I have made probably a couple thousand parts by now.
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2014, 01:55:20 pm »
Whining about footprints sounds to me more like not knowing how to use your tools...  :=\  Eagle I don't know, but Altium?  Get over it  ::)

As for the question... what bothers me the most is implementation.  All that tedious stuff of sticking parts together.  Doing stuff is fine, but I need to think about it once in a while, and if all I'm doing is "doing", that bites!  I'd rather be testing (or designing) a circuit than soldering it together.

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Offline c4757p

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2014, 02:55:58 pm »
I have just drawn some shit with a sharpie on the transparency before (I make my own boards) because I did not wanna go through the 30 minute process of digging through 5605349353435 libraries to try to find some footprint

:palm:





30 minutes digging for a footprint? Dude..... how long does it take you to plonk down a few pads?
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Offline senso

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2014, 03:02:39 pm »
Go to the Altium Wiki and watch the movies and read the text, really, it takes like 2 minutes for a nasty one with only half the dimensions marked in the datasheet, its way faster than eagle, and even then, after getting the hang of it I can make small(8-16) pads footprints in eagle in like 2-3 minutes, learn how to do it, it really pays off!
 

Offline SArepairman

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2014, 03:50:29 pm »
altium alliance here  :o
 

Offline Skimask

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2014, 04:52:18 pm »
No Altium alliance here.
I use Eagle and I have to make footprints all the time.  Well, I don't usually NEED to make footprints, but the ones that are around sometimes need a touch-up.  Give or take, maybe an hour at most to make a complicated footprint correctly the first time.
But first, a guy has to know how to read numbers on a datasheet and how to correctly use whatever the chosen tool is.
Or use Google...
I didn't take it apart.
I turned it on.

The only stupid question is, well, most of them...

Save a fuse...Blow an electrician.
 

Offline IanJ

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2014, 09:24:54 pm »
Hi,

It's not got so much to do with the software..........it's more to do with the user wanting to get stuck into the innovation of designing a board, i.e laying down the tracks than mucking about with libraries/footprints.

I use Eagle and kinda had the same issues back in the day.........the answer is to sort out your libraries and nail the process for creating new or modifying.......even if you have to write it down in a wee bulleted step-by-step. From then on you won't have the same aversion to them.

Ian.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2014, 03:41:43 am »
go grab my library at www.siliconvalleygarage.com

now as for 'computer problems' .
i don't understand this. What on earth are you doing with that machine ? My machine has been rock solid for the three years since i built it.
here is how you create a stable system:

- Clean Install windows Professional (Xp or 7, stay away from 8 with its tiles interface) , apply all updates and service packs
- install a good antivirus : Norton Internet security (i know lots of people ar going to cringe but i never had problems with it.)
- deploy the software you need. altium , Office , whatever. Use clean installs . Apply all updates.

Now there are two solutions to make a robust recovery mechanism :

1) another solution is to install a program like DeepFreeze.

2) install a second physical harddisk on the machine. put the drive in a removable tray with a keyloack. make sure the lock is an electrical type , not just mechanical. turning the key powers down the drive.
Once you got the machine exactly configd the way you like it : run the windows system backup and creat a full system backup to the secondary drive.
create the recovery cd or usb stick
power down secondary drive.
if the system goes belly-up : put in recover cd , power down computer, turn key to active drive , power up. follow the guide to restore from the image. done.
any and all nasties willbe wiped and you are back into a clean system

Never store any data locally on your machine. use a NAS. Preferrably a twin-drive nas where one drive mirrors the other, or two identical NAs boxes mirroring each other.

Stay off of dubious websites and resist the urge to download all kinds of trial programs and stuff people throw on the internet. lots of websites contain wrong downloadlinks big flashing green 'downlod now' buttons, that are actually toolbars and 'helpers' that do nothing but bog down the system and spy or steal information. If you must do that : run that in a virutal machine or simply get a second computer with deepfreeze on it.
once you figure out it works right then deploy it to your workstation.

My CAD station NEVER downloads anything. the only sites being vsiited are digikey and mouser and the updates for the tools installed. i use Chrome as a browser on that station.

Anything web related ? i got a Mac. ( i am writing this on a mac right now ) or a tablet.
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2014, 03:50:06 am »
How is it possibly hard to make a footprint in altium? the wizard does all the work for you; read the numbers from the datasheet and type them into the boxes.
 

Offline hans

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2014, 05:17:41 am »
CAD programs can be a point of where mistakes are made (a contradiction really, because they are there to ease/speed up design for us), like pinout, symbols or footprint mistakes.
Double check everything. And really learn how to use your tools. It applies to every tool, I've used Eagle, Altium and Mentor Graphics in similar environments and all have their individual quirks.
For example; I did a DRC of a PCB in Mentor Graphics and it said no errors. What I didn't know then was it only checked the area currently in 2D view visible. I guess it can be considered as a feature, but it was really annoying to find out afterwards it worked like that.. (luckily, it was only 1 GND via that went through an inner layer trace).
I was used to Altium/Eagle, which check everything on DRC, and generate a report about it (although Eagle hides errors on hidden layers, but atleast it says so).

Troubleshooting Windows is always annoying, and I can only recommended staying away from trial software (DRM = JUNK/malware), Internet Explorer, illegal software (cracks/keygens), etc. Luckily these days, there are a lot of tools out there that are free or obtainable if you say you're a student (usually in a form that is limited in 1 way or another).
Computer hardware can always sporadically fail, which is particularly annoying. In all cases (hardware/software trouble), google is your friend.
Another example: Firefox/Chrome and FLASH is so unstable. I started hating any website that uses FLASH, but it seems a bit of a necessary evil (especially if you're a youtube junk like me). Last update (where they changed the layout again), every video on Youtube stopped playing after 2-3 seconds and says "Playback error". Recommendations of Youtube? Clear your whole browser profile. No! Damnit, that's not a way of resolving problems. That's like saying, your windows is getting slow, just reformat everything and try again. Turns out a 3rd party plug-in Youtube Center (for Greasemonkey) gives the possibility to disable DASH playback, which YouTube uses to crap-ify their playback (like it stops buffering the whole video, only buffers 2-3 seconds ahead etc.).


Going into something that particularly annoys me is the way "big" part suppliers can be towards consumers (students/hobbysts without VAT number).

Apparently here in the Netherlands the only shops where I can order for any amount I want (plus paying for shipping) without a creditcard, are Conrad and Distrelec. And both of those shops haven't got a (Serious.. Cyclone 3, Spartan 3) FPGA for sale, or any unusual part.  :-//

RS don't even deal with any consumer customer in NL anymore (meanwhile they are advertising DesignSpark very hard towards hobbyists/students/etc.). I asked them via mail once and got the response back "That's our policy". |O
Farnell requires at least 50 euro's and paying upfront, which is a bit paranoia. But I guess OK (and Farnell stocks a lot, which is good).

Digikey/Mouser I'm not sure of, but I believe they require a CC/minimum order amount of 75 euro's/high shipping rates.

I remember the RPi exclusivity period. RS and Farnell sold them, and a lot of computer fanatics wanted one! But "normal" computer nerds couldn't order them, because they are just consumers :palm:
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 02:56:34 am by hans »
 

Offline Macbeth

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2014, 09:55:41 am »
Farnell requires at least 50 euro's and paying upfront, which is a bit paranoia. But I guess OK (and Farnell stocks a lot, which is good).
Blimey! In the UK Farnell went batshit crazy - I have a "corporate card" registered with them for years (I'm an individual IT Contractor with a one man LTD co.). I couldn't believe it when I just needed a couple of components - cost less than £1 - and could order them with FREE NEXT DAY. Then I would find it wasn't even Royal Mail, but UPS tracked and signed for delivery.

Even though they had this insane facility available (obviously dreamt up by the marketing guys), I just couldn't bring myself to abuse it and would wait until I at least had £20 worth to order, or else would just pad out my order with other bits and bobs on the fly. I couldn't believe they would deliver from their EU warehouse to the UK via UPS for such a loss.

They have now changed it and I have to pay for delivery on anything less than £20 or £30 IIRC. But it is still a better deal than Joe Public gets.
 

Offline 8086

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2014, 10:21:48 am »
They have now changed it and I have to pay for delivery on anything less than £20 or £30 IIRC. But it is still a better deal than Joe Public gets.

Uh. Joe Public here. I can get free next day delivery from Farnell on orders above £20.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2014, 10:30:36 am »
CPC also has a fairly decent range of SMD/THT capacitors, resistors and other electronic parts, nothing too special (they stock 555's, all the basic opamps, etc) and they offer free delivery in the UK from a penny order.
You can order 10p of SMD resistors and get it in 3 days.
 

Offline Macbeth

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2014, 01:31:17 am »
They have now changed it and I have to pay for delivery on anything less than £20 or £30 IIRC. But it is still a better deal than Joe Public gets.

Uh. Joe Public here. I can get free next day delivery from Farnell on orders above £20.
Yeah, last time I looked "corporate" customers can order less than £20 but have to pay £4 delivery. Free delivery over £20. The "great unwashed" have to order at least £20 and don't have the option of ordering a single 0805 for 1p and paying £4 delivery (which used to be free for "corporate").

Maybe the marketing guys have changed it all again? I dunno.
 

Offline 8086

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2014, 01:38:41 am »
They have now changed it and I have to pay for delivery on anything less than £20 or £30 IIRC. But it is still a better deal than Joe Public gets.

Uh. Joe Public here. I can get free next day delivery from Farnell on orders above £20.
Yeah, last time I looked "corporate" customers can order less than £20 but have to pay £4 delivery. Free delivery over £20. The "great unwashed" have to order at least £20 and don't have the option of ordering a single 0805 for 1p and paying £4 delivery (which used to be free for "corporate").

Maybe the marketing guys have changed it all again? I dunno.

Ah. I see what you mean now. It's not a delivery thing really, I can still buy a single resistor and pay £3.95 delivery, but I'm unable to actually pay for it since the card minimum payment is £20. But if I had a Farnell account or paid by some other means I could do it.
 

Offline lapm

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2014, 04:10:45 am »
Well not having enough money to buy everything i would like... But that's more like get better job with more flexible hours..

Electronics, Linux, Programming, Science... im interested all of it...
 

Offline hans

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2014, 08:07:43 pm »
Farnell requires at least 50 euro's and paying upfront, which is a bit paranoia. But I guess OK (and Farnell stocks a lot, which is good).
Blimey! In the UK Farnell went batshit crazy - I have a "corporate card" registered with them for years (I'm an individual IT Contractor with a one man LTD co.). I couldn't believe it when I just needed a couple of components - cost less than £1 - and could order them with FREE NEXT DAY. Then I would find it wasn't even Royal Mail, but UPS tracked and signed for delivery.

Even though they had this insane facility available (obviously dreamt up by the marketing guys), I just couldn't bring myself to abuse it and would wait until I at least had £20 worth to order, or else would just pad out my order with other bits and bobs on the fly. I couldn't believe they would deliver from their EU warehouse to the UK via UPS for such a loss.

They have now changed it and I have to pay for delivery on anything less than £20 or £30 IIRC. But it is still a better deal than Joe Public gets.
I'm not talking about abusing, it's just a limit proposed with no alternative. If I want to buy a MCU dev board of 20 euro's, I need to buy extra stuff to add up to 50 euro's. On Dutch electronics forums (circuitsonline.net) you regularly see posts "does anyone need something at [Farnell/Digikey/Mouser]? My order is currently 24 euro's, and I need 75 euro to have it ordered".

I would be happy to pay a couple of euro's shipping if the order fits in a bubble envelope (like RS/Farnell do). However, if that shipping price would be 7-8 euro's I would be more likely to shop around to 50 euro's instead.

Even at work we save up our items and order when we finally need something ASAP or soon.
 

Offline tautech

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2014, 08:39:07 pm »
When you REALLY have your teeth into a project and you make endless F*** ups and nothing goes right and you know ONLY sleep will fix everything, then when your head hits the pillow..... you're wide awake!!!! WTF
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2014, 09:16:55 pm »
I've been ordering from Farnell alot last times, and never actually had problems. I've placed an order worth about 8€, paid another 5€ for UPS shipping (and then VAT added to all this), but the package was at my door the next day. There were some screwups, but definitely on UPS's part (like courier losing the package in his van etc).

IMO a problem for a hobbyist or an independent contractor - such as myself - is getting parts. If you live in EU your options are limited to RS, Farnell, Distrelec, TME and few smaller ones. And all of those suppliers combined have at least 5 times smaller portfolio than Digikey or Mouser does. And this sucks bigtime. And even if you have an order big enough to be worth ordering from US, then VAT and customs processing fee will make the whole thing a huge pain in the ass.
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2014, 09:46:27 pm »
I am in agreement with the OP, I have avoided quite successfully using cad programs, as the time, researching which will suit my needs best, the cost, downloading it ( switching off the anti-virus and then re downloading it), spending multiple hours learning how to use it, getting started on the project, going to forums to solve some minor but blocking issue, makes that one LONG project.
Often I have found some nice fellow has done all the hard work and for a few dollars puts a really good product on the web e.g. uCurrent.
I also am not a great fan of programming languages, as by the time I get enough experience to be a little confident, something else is the dominant force.
In reality electronics for me is a hobby, so the time investment in learning something new needs to be pretty short or is likely to be relevant for a very long time e.g. 10years.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: aspects of the hobby that get you down?
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2014, 09:58:39 pm »
aspects of the hobby that get you down?

Having too many projects on the go at the same time can get depressing.
To many choices of what to do and everything takes ages because time is split between them all.
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 


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