Learn How to Design Hardware

Learn Electronics Learn Electronics Stages: Learn The Fundamentals

To turn your idea into a reality you will need a basic understanding of how electrons work. How they can move from point to point. How you can slow them down, or speed them up. And how to use them to make decisions. (Skip ahead if you understand things like voltage, and resistance). more...

Learn Electronics : Learn The Fundamentals

Part of our series on fundamentals and education this section covers the most primitive of electronics topics; Topics like voltage, current, and resistance. more...

Ideation Ideation Stages: The Idea, Discovery, Part Selection, Whiteboards & Block Diagrams

It all starts with an idea. It could be a product you wish you could own, or a pain point you want to see solved. Its probably overwhelmingly obvious to you, but off the radar of everyone else. Regardless of your idea, this guide will help you bring it to life. more...

Ideation : The Idea

Despite most products starting with an idea, its also often the smallest and simplest part of the whole project. As you bring your idea to life it will probably grow and change into something quite a bit different when you're finished! Once you have an idea we can start designing it. more...

Ideation : Discovery

We live in a very different world from building hardware just a decade ago... Back then you would simply start from scratch. But today better tools, design communities and reuse libraries mean you can find similar products, solutions and reference designs and start with a huge leg up. more...

Ideation : Part Selection

Once you have an idea, and poked around for a starting point you're ready to make some key part choices. Picture these parts as the keystones of your design. They will give you a focal point to build out from. Depending on your idea these could be processors, communications chips, or something completely different. more...

Ideation : Whiteboards & Block Diagrams

It's now time to take your keystone parts and any reference designs and start sketching how they fit together. There will probably be gaps between some parts. White-boarding is about figuring out how to tie it all together at the highest level. more...

Design Design Stages: Part Creation, Schematic Capture, Simulation, PCB Layout

The design phase of a project is all about connecting parts to make building blocks and then connecting those into bigger and bigger circuits. Eventually you'll begin laying these circuits out in 2D space so that they can be printed onto circuit boards. more...

Design : Part Creation

To design a piece of hardware you will need to create models of the silicon chips you are using. These models usually live in a library, inside your CAD design tools, and should represent the real world chip or component as closely as possible. more...

Design : Schematic Capture

The first design goal is to create a logical schematic for your device. Think of the schematic as a diagram of how every part connects to every other part in your design. Editing and tweaking your schematic is where you will spend most of your time. more...

Design : Simulation

It's often necessary to try-out an idea without actually manufacturing a circuit board or chip. Simulation engines use physics models to mock-up the behaviour of electronic components. They are usually accurate and allow the designer to catch issues before layout or manufacturing. more...

Design : PCB Layout

PCB layout is how to take a logical design (which parts are connected together) and turn it into a physical design (a 2D model of the real thing). It's similar to routing pipes and wires through a house after picking which parts of the house need water or power. more...

Verification Verification Stages: Design Review, BOM Selection, Prototyping, Inspection & Turn-On Checking, Testing & Debugging, Qualification & Environmental Testing

The verification phase is all about money. Because compiling hardware costs money (and takes time) it's important to check your design and make sure you haven't made a silly mistake. more...

Verification : Design Review

A design review is exactly like a code review, just instead of code, instead you review the logical and physical design. The goal is to catch bugs and style mistakes by leveraging a whole team's experience. Often the reviews will continue until the design is flawless and ready to fab. more...

Verification : BOM Selection

Designing hardware takes time, and it's not unusual for parts to that were previously available to become obsolete or out of stock. Before placing an order for prototypes you will often need to reconcile your bill of materials into a shopping list of available parts. more...

Verification : Prototyping

You're finally ready to prototype your design! This means exporting manufacturing friendly files out of your design tools, placing orders for your PCBs and bill of materials, and arranging to get it all assembled. more...

Verification : Inspection & Turn-On Checking

After a bit off nervous waiting you will get your prototypes back from the manufacturer and get to start debugging them. This often starts with a visual inspection, a multi-meter check, and a turn on test. more...

Verification : Testing & Debugging

Now that your prototype board looks fine, measures fine, and didn't blow up when you plugged it in, you're ready to start working through the bugs. Start with expected functionalities and check for what works and what doesn't. more...

Verification : Qualification & Environmental Testing

It's often necessary for commercial telecommunications and consumer electronics to require extra testing to make sure they won't injure a user or take down a network. You will probably need to work with a test lab that specializes in these kind of experiments. more...

Production Production Stages: Share It, Export For Manufacturing, Manufacturing Walkthrough, Kickstarter & Crowdfunding, Mass Manufacturing & Southeast Asia, DFM, DFT & BOM Cost Optimization

The production phase is all about taking your working prototype and building thousands and thousands more of them. You will probably need to refine your design even more and work with manufacturers that specialize in high volumes. more...

Production : Share It

Unless you have a reason to keep it private, at this point we strongly recommend sharing your design with the world. It will help other designers cover the ground that you have, and could even result in a loyal community that pre-orders your product or helps you debug it in the field. more...

Production : Export For Manufacturing

Your manufacturer you will need you to export a package of files for them from your CAD tools. These files will document the physical features of your product and allow them to fabricate it for you. more...

Production : Manufacturing Walkthrough

This is a walkthrough of the stages your exported files go through to become a real thing. more...

Production : Kickstarter & Crowdfunding

It's possible that you've made it all the way to production, with a working prototype, strong market demand, but no money to manufacture thousands of them. This is where crowd-funding and pre-sales platforms like Kickstarter can help. more...

Production : Mass Manufacturing & Southeast Asia

You've finally made it to mass production - time to outsource it! There are hundreds of contract manufacturers around the world, but it's also likely these days for hardware products like yours to get manufactured in Asia. more...

Production : DFM, DFT & BOM Cost Optimization

During the scale up to mass manufacturing you will often begin to optimize for things like manufacturability, testability, and per unit cost. These tasks will help to improve your yield and margins at volume. more...

Resources Resources

This is a collection of links and resources to help you on your journey. more...

References References

Content references and attributions. more...