| ||Ask HN: Most efficient way for the inexperienced to learn PCB design?|
11 points by pluto9 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments |
|I'm a software developer looking to get into hardware and embedded devices. I have some experience with digital electronics using things like STM32 discovery boards, but not designing my own circuits around microcontrollers.|
As a developer I'm used to "learning by doing", iterating rapidly to correct and learn from mistakes. I'm having a hard time applying this to hardware, though. Microcontroller-based designs often seem impractical to breadboard. I could design a PCB, send it off to have a few samples made and assemble it myself, but that's a lot of time and effort (shipping and assembly) for a single iteration that no doubt contains numerous mistakes due to my lack of experience. It's also difficult to tinker and correct mistakes with a PCB, so I feel like I'd have to make a semi-educated guess about what I did wrong and send off a new design for fabrication that's likely to also be wrong.
I get the impression that experienced PCB designers can confidently whip up a prototype design and send it straight off to a fab shop, confident that it'll mostly work and maybe require just a few tweaks. Am I wrong about this? Do professionals do a lot of breadboarding? Do they use simulation tools that can validate a design with a high degree of confidence?
What's the most efficient way for someone like me to get started developing custom PCBs? Many thanks.
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