E3 Mixed Signal Blog Preview

A Friendly Introduction...

So, we finally managed to finish up the outline of topics for our first electronics blog series. And before we started writing the articles we wanted to let you all know (hopefully there are at least a few readers out there...) what to expect from this blog series, and from our content in general.

Above all, E3 Designers believes strongly in quality. Quality engineering work, quality customer interactions and quality of the content we will deliver via all forms of social media and our website. With that said, mixed-signal circuit and PCB design is a very complex topic - in fact - it's so complex that if you Google search 'mixed signal design' you get almost 10 million results in less than 1 second.

Almost everyone has written articles about mixed signal design - from big publications like Electronic Design and EE Times, to CAD companies like Cadence and Mentor Graphics, to academia articles from Berkeley and Ohio State. Add in the overwhelming amount of articles from the semiconductor companies that make the ICs that mixed signal designers love to use and you have a serious case of information overload on your hands.

Why More Mixed Signal Discussion?

So, the natural question then is why would we choose to write about such a heavily discussed topic?

The answer is simple - because we've spent our careers trying to distill the mountains of information out there down to the simplest possible concepts and then apply those concepts to our own work. We have amassed a collection of applications notes, white papers and presentation material from conferences and worked hard to separate the good from the bad.

One thing that is important to understand as well, is that just because an article can be found via Google search from a reputable company does not mean the information is the holy grail! We always like to say - when in doubt, go back to your fundamentals. Fundamentals really are the key to understanding basically every advanced design topic you might come across. So keep sharp on your fundamentals, and always trust them.

Upcoming Topics

OK, so we got that long winded introduction out of the way. Let's start getting down to it. What are we actually going to write about that will (hopefully) keep you all coming back for more and at the same time start some excellent technical discussions? Let's take a look.

  • What is a Mixed-Signal Design?

  • What Makes Mixed-Signal Design Hard(er)?

  • Considerations for Mixed-Signal Schematic Design

  • Considerations for Mixed-Signal PCB Design

In each of these topics we'll take a closer look at some of the traps we've fallen victim to over the years, as well as look at some of the aspects of circuit design that should be carefully considered to ensure functional designs that meet requirements and are robust enough to last in the field.

What is a Mixed-Signal Design - A Detailed Preview

The goal of our first major topic is to actually define (for the purposes of our discussion at least) what a mixed-signal design is. What kinds of circuits are commonly located on a single PCB? What issues does this co-location present to designers? What issues does each type of circuit design present all on its own?

Truth be told, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone NOT doing a mixed-signal design these days - that's just the way technology has evolved. At the very least you can expect to have to do some sort of power conversion - so whether you're looking at doing a PCB design as a maker, or if you're looking to become an electrical engineer professionally this series will give you a good look at the kinds of challenges that lie ahead.

We'll see you soon for part 1!