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Avoid the extremes

MacroFab Engineering Podcast #268

Avoid The Extremes

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March 17, 2021, Episode #268

Controlling PCB costs of your next product is all about avoiding the extremes of the manufacturing specifications. Don't let your EDA tool fool you!
  • Fan controller for Jeep
    • Brushless fan temperature controller
    • Nothing fancy but the “override” signal is ground triggered!
    • Will have to invert the A/C compressor signal with a relay
  • Controlling PCB cost
    • What are the knobs that can be turned to adjust the cost of the PCB itself?
    • The easy ones
      • Size (not necessarily rectangle)
      • Panelization
      • Base material
      • TG ratings – The glass transition temperature
      • FR4
      • Trace/Space
      • Minimum hole size
      • Mask Color
      • Surface finish
      • Copper weight
    • Not as easy ones
      • Vias
        • Tented
        • Plugged
        • Blind
        • Buried
  • Digikey’s Latest Innovation
    • Information printed on the backside of cut tape
    • 8mm tape

About the Hosts

Parker dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!

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