What’s All This Designer Stuff, Anyhow?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by joeyd999, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. joeyd999

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    I've mentioned before that I am a huge fan of the late Bob Pease. I started reading his articles way back in the early '90s, and still go back and reread them today.

    There are a lot of youngsters here considering electronic design as a future career. This, I think, is a valuable article for those who want to know what it takes to be a good designer.

    Enjoy.

    What’s All This Designer Stuff, Anyhow?
     
    Inquisitive likes this.
  2. wmodavis

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2010
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    I agree that Pease was good and truly missed by me.
    I kind of grew up on him and learned a lot as a designer and project engineer.
    He oozed with wisdom and practical, good ole common sense.
     
  3. MrChips

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    I met Bob Pease once not too long ago at a Nation Semi training seminar.
    What an amazing person! I believe I did keep his paper scribblings about the conversation we had.
     
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    yeah I wonder how many of his "napkin schematics" flew up on ebay after his passing.. I never checked..
     
  5. MrChips

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    I agree fully:
    If you want to see a lot of old designs in one publication, get "Sourcebook of Electronic Circuits" by John Markus. Over 3000 electronic circuits.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Ugh... brings back a bad memory. Once when I had this certain boss (and quite happy to currently BE the boss) had this book or its kissing cousin.

    Well, any design this guy ever did was by copying out each section from the sample designs with absolutely no understanding of how they worked. I’ve seen him make a resistive voltage divider, then use an op-amp configured as a unity gain buffer to drive the input of an op amp non-inverting buffer: that circuit would have less tolerance if he left one part out!

    My favorite morning came when I showed him a redesign of his fantastic linear what-chma-callit using perhaps 6 op amps. My version cut it down to two amps for the same function, since I knew things like you could make a voltage summer with gain (shocking secret, I know). He looked at it in a panic and exclaimed “but is it linear?”

    Hrmmm… nothing but op amps and resistors, how could it NOT be linear. He simulated it all day and reluctantly agreed. Next time I saw the circuit he’d put most of these amps back for no good reason.

    However… books such as these are good tools (in the right hands).
     
  7. joeyd999

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    I'd like to add an additional thought about what makes a good designer:

    A good designer has an almost pathological compulsion to solve problems -- going so far as to seek out problems where others might not think they exist. Great satisfaction comes with elegant solutions that others thought were impossible.

    Funny, my wife occasionally comes home almost in tears about an issue she had at work earlier in the day. She gets mad when I rattle off a bullet list of actions to take to solve the problem. She says she only wanted a hug.

    If she didn't want the problem solved, why'd she ask an engineer???
     
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  8. atferrari

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    Jan 6, 2004
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    Wait (if it did not happen yet) for mother in law trying to mess with your problems. THAT is a problem! :p
     
  9. joeyd999

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    This is my 21st year of wedded bliss.

    Been there. Done that.

    Edit: Time really flies. It feels just like 5 minutes underwater...
     
  10. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

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    Note that I am not talking about professionals.

    Would you call "designer" to someone building (or should I say, "assembling" or it is just "putting togheter") a 5V regulator using a 3-terminals IC, following what the datasheet says?

    Or building a filter using the parameters taken from a table in a manual?

    While Bob Pease insists in his previous knowledge of many designs, I understand that designer is the one who comes with original things even if starting with well known building blocks.

    I am a hobbyist so I find myself, for the lack of better expression, too arrogant if I say, that I am "designing" what is no more nor less than a preamp, (proven circuit from good reputation origin) plus a filter (again from a well known origin) plus an audio amp (implemented with a LM386 as per the datasheet). Having calculated just two caps to set two fc does not make me a designer. I do not think so...
     
  11. ramancini8

    Member

    Jul 18, 2012
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    I was a competitor and contemporary of Bob Pease; I knew him well, ate with him, and had many discussions with him. He was an excellent designer for several reasons, but the foremost reason was because if he would not let an unknown waveform go by. If something happened in his design that he had not calculated he would analyze it in the lab until he found out what was going on. I share the same trait, but neither of us was as good as some others.

    Bob gave great seminars full of tech info, but later in his career he became more interested in selling books than giving seminars, so younger engineers who caught him at the end of his career might have got the wrong opinion of him.
     
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