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Design is also a very iterative process. At some point during ideation your block diagrams will get too complex, or your parts list too long, or you’ll have started hooking building blocks together in your mind. You have enough slivers of the solution to move into design.

Historically you would now need to find enough financing to buy $100,000.00 worth of Electronic Design Automation (EDA) CAD-type tools. You would probably need to take a course or at least read a textbook to learn how these tools work. And you would then begin the arduous multi-month process of creating a parts library, on your way to eventually recreating your ideas as schematics.

But thankfully those days have mostly passed. These days you at least have options ranging from feature-lacking but free and open-sourced tools, to online monthly licensed SaaS tools. And obviously there are still the multi-year upfront contracts - descendants of the old workstation software. There are even a small number of growing crowd-sourced component libraries that all aspire to kill the pain associated with creating and curating a component library. And while most of these tools and libraries are new on the scene, they are trending towards disrupting the mainstream “professional” software market.

Once you have chosen a software package and have gotten it set up and working your next step is to begin tying the pieces together. You will need to create parts, turn your ideation and building blocks into schematics, and begin connecting your keystone components.

There are only two major stages to the design phase (Schematic Capture and PCB Layout) but it’s common to often do Part Creation and Simulation as well.

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