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Originally posted 8/10/97

This is reprinted from Circuit Cellar Ink, 11/95. Thanks!

Product Design Guidelines

Taking a project from design through final fab proceeds smoothly as long as you adhere to the critical path. Here are a few suggestions to help your project succeed.

Paper Design of Hardware and Software
The design state is most critical. Here you define product specifications. From this, software program structure is outlined and schematics and product packaging are drawn, preferably with CAD software.

Once you've checked that all the criteria of the specification stage have been met, prototyping begins. Software algorithms are broken down into modular chunks. For testing and debugging, appropriate hooks are built into the code.

If you're building a handwired circuit board, spend a bit of time placing the components using the schematic's flow as a guide for signal paths. Not only do you save a great deal of time in PCB placement, but you won't get caught by a radically changed signal path causing problems such as crosstalk interference.

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