This is an often-overlooked area, but a good schematic embodies the entire design, and is used to generate accurate PCBs, simulations, and bills of materials. Time spent up front on the schematic usually means fewer iterations of the rest of the design, and help eliminate potential problems down the road.
PCB layout, including complex multilayer surface mount designs.
More than just "connecting the dots", the PCB is a functional component of the finished product. It provides mechanical support, thermal management, electrical isolation and RF shielding, and plays an important role in minimizing crosstalk between separate subsystems.
Analog and digital circuit design.
Integrating sensitive analog circuitry with digital electronics can be challenging. Careful attention must be paid to proper grounding techniques, power supply decoupling, and signal routing if digital noise is to be excluded from the analog circuitry.
In many embedded systems, the most maintainable way to produce fast, small code is to write in C. Using a higher level language allows some abstraction of the hardware for more understandable code, but does not preclude optimizing critical functions in assembler. It's not unusual for embedded firmware to spend a great deal of time in small areas of the code, and large speed gains can often be made by careful attention to those areas. Documentation is also an important part of the development process. At Inspired Electrons, we don't believe in "self-documenting code"!
Prototype assembly and testing
Often, getting the first board working presents a unique challenge, since the jigs and utilities that will ultimately be used in production have not been built yet. A careful process of hardware troubleshooting and software verification techniques is required to prove that the design really does what it was intended to.
Design for manufacturability
To achieve a great finished product, it's important to work with everybody in the manufacturing chain from the start of the project. In most designs, the PCB needs to be populated by machine, and wave or reflow soldered, and these impose important constraints early in the design. Access for testing and programming needs to be considered at the start, including what tests will be required and what equipment will be used.
Inspired Electrons Company Business Activity
Industrial Design Services
Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering and Life Sciences