Great classes odd teachers chickens snakes

Circuit Break Podcast #412

Great Classes, Odd Teachers, Chickens, Snakes

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January 9, 2024, Episode #412

A recent Circuit Break Community thread about K-map design inspired a tangential conversation about how well certain subjects are taught in college. Parker and Stephen love a good tangent, thank you, and so they dug in by recalling their own experiences at school with excellent professors who clearly wanted electrical engineers to succeed, while other instructors and their teaching methods were challenging or else just downright bizarre. Other topics covered here include:

  • How a terrible electronics professor can impact someone’s career
  • Is a “self-paced” classroom really just lazy teaching?
  • Still not knowing how Bode plots work
  • A strange digital circuits analogy where chickens and snakes are shocked
  • Watching videos like you’re in A Clockwork Orange
  • A grade curve so severe, a 17% was a B
  • Classes and profs we loved
  • Was a class hard, or was the professor just absolute garbage?
  • Still having nightmares about forgetting to go to class for a whole semester
  • Heat Shrink Voltage Ratings
  • +more

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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,, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

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