Guide: 5 steps for electronic circuit design
Electrical and electronic circuits are around us. From our mobile phones to security systems, electronic circuits are everywhere.
Designing a circuit follows a step-by-step procedure. Most of the time, you may have to backtrack some steps to achieve the desired result. The following steps are some basic steps required in successful circuit design.
1. Know the specifications
Before you delve into circuit design, you need to know the purpose of the circuit. The following questions will help you in this:
- What are the inputs? Are these analog or digital?
- What are the outputs?
- Do I need additional blocks, such as amplification, filtering, switching, etc.?
- Do I require a microcontroller for processing digital signals?
You may want to draw the circuit on paper and determine the components that you require. To do so, you must have deep knowledge and understanding of electronic circuit design and the various components required to build a circuit. You must also know the behavior of the components under different inputs. These components include resistors, transistors, Op-Amps, etc.
2. Circuit schematic in software
The next step involves designing the circuit in software. There are various software tools. In the industry, Eagle, Altium, and others are in use. However, in academia, popular circuit design software includes Proteus, Cadence OrCAD, MATLAB, Multisim, etc.
After designing the circuit, simulate it and check whether the output and response are the same as what you require. You will likely spend most of the time in this stage, perfecting the circuit according to the output signal you desire.
This step is iterative. You may have to go back to the circuit schematic and tweak it to receive the desired output.
3. Hardware implementation
Before you can begin hardware implementation, you will have to determine if the components you used in the software are available in hardware or not. For this, you will have to go through the user manual of the circuit components thoroughly. Check the power ratings and other specifications. You can use a breadboard to bring the electronic circuit together. In addition to this, you must consider circuit protection during circuit implementation.
You can view the output from your hardware on an oscilloscope to determine if it matches your requirements. The oscilloscope allows you to take screenshots, name them, and save them to a USB. If the hardware implementation was successful, go onto the next step.
4. PCB Design and layout
After a successful hardware design, you are ready to build your circuit. Hardware implementation on a breadboard and wires is not only confusing but is difficult to test. In addition to this, wires can get tangled and ruin the circuit.
To avoid this, you should have a PCB for the circuit. Most software automatically provides a PCB while designing the schematic for the circuit. Hence, you can print out the design and have a PCB designer make the circuit board for you. After this, you need to solder the wires to the board. Connect it to the input and output. If the circuit operates according to your requirements, you have a successful circuit design.
One of the major steps ensuring that the circuit design was correct involves testing. Various inputs are applied to the circuit to ensure that you receive the desired output. If the output is incorrect, you may have to design the circuit again and start from scratch.
For mass-scale production of the electronic circuit, testing is a vital stage. For this purpose, you can have it designed by engineers who offer custom electronics design services.
Electronic circuit design involves several stages, each of which is important. These stages follow a design process to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Follow these basic steps for designing circuits.