Electronics > PCB/EDA/CAD

Log books / lab books

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qczech:
Hello everyone.

I am a second year EEE student. At university we keep laboratory record books for every subject. The point is to note everything you do at the bench. Include some observations, relevant printouts, conclusions and anything that you might later find useful. The idea sounds pretty handy. Gives you an insight to projects done years back.

I am wondering how do hobbyists approach this matter. Do you keep log books? If not, do you wish you did?

How about professionals? Are you requested to keep log books like that in the industry?

Regards.
q

c4757p:

--- Quote from: qczech on March 14, 2013, 10:24:15 pm ---I am wondering how do hobbyists approach this matter. Do you keep log books? If not, do you wish you did?

--- End quote ---

Every time I finish a project, I prepare documentation for it as if I were preparing a software project (I come from a software background). I describe in detail how everything works, why I chose this and that, all the way to things like "why is this resistor through-hole", "why that capacitor must have at least this much ESR", charts of poles and zeros, etc. This way, I make sure I understand every little bit of it and there is nothing that's just there because "oh look, this works".

Not quite a log, but I think it accomplishes a similar purpose.

I do not log everything that happens at the bench. It is of no use to me to note that I dumped a bag of 200 PN2907 on the floor and saw once again that Ohm's law does, in fact, work.

Bored@Work:

--- Quote from: qczech on March 14, 2013, 10:24:15 pm ---How about professionals? Are you requested to keep log books like that in the industry?

--- End quote ---

A requirement in many US companies, because of the US patent law. The lab notebooks are there to prove when something was invented. The US has "first to invent", while the rest of the world uses "first to file" in patent law. This is about to change in the US, so the requirement might vanish in the future in US companies.

Even without the patent issue it is still a good idea if you do lab work. It can give you a "competetive advantage" over your colleauges when you can redo and reconstruct things quicker or at all.

This is independent of project documentation. Project documentation is often top-down,  and summarizes, while your lab notebook is about the details here and now.

Edit: Of course the US just moving to "first to file" would be to easy. In two days they move to a mixture sytem "first inventor to file" with a special definition of inventor. So the lab notebooks might not be a thing of the past.

c4757p:
Why do I have the feeling that this will not just not decrease complexity and bureaucracy, but significantly increase it? Just in time for me to finish school and get out into the industry, too.  :scared:

EEVblog:

--- Quote from: qczech on March 14, 2013, 10:24:15 pm ---Hello everyone.

I am a second year EEE student. At university we keep laboratory record books for every subject. The point is to note everything you do at the bench. Include some observations, relevant printouts, conclusions and anything that you might later find useful. The idea sounds pretty handy. Gives you an insight to projects done years back.

I am wondering how do hobbyists approach this matter. Do you keep log books? If not, do you wish you did?

--- End quote ---

I have a lab book that's not in the lab :->
The problem is I'm always working on projects at different locations (the lab, home, work (when I worked)) so I was not disciplined enough to take my lab notebook with me. The result was you get lazy and never end up using it. You end up writing stuff down on post-it notes with the intention off adding it to the lab book later, but of course you never do. Yeah, I could have multiple lab notebooks, but you know...

Lately I've started a Google Doc for each project, and jot down notes into that at whatever location I'm working at. Pretty handy.


--- Quote ---How about professionals? Are you requested to keep log books like that in the industry?

--- End quote ---

Yes, common requirement at the large military and commercial companies I've worked for.
Altium, no. Documentation, what's that?  :-DD

Dave.

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