On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market - Page 2

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Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market

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(only
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talking
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to figure
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ships.
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   Engineering had a bad habit of thinking that everything in the
building belonged to them.  Like when they swiped the scope off my bench
and took it with them for a couple weeks to a customer's site.  When
they got back they discovered that the Tek 2465B they had ordered, had
replaced it. ;-)

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
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Nice. :-)

Did you get to keep the 2465B?


Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market

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   Yes. For over two years.  Even when I was moved to a new project, it
went with me.  :)

   They tried to get back at me by banning me from entering or calling
the engineering department, for life.  That lasted less than a week.

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
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figure
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Back in college our reflow oven was a Black & Decker.  Only one
temperature zone, but it did ding when the time was up.

Then I went on to my first job, found myself reflowing by heat gun, and
longed for those more sophisticated days.

--
Rob Gaddi, Highland Technology
Email address is currently out of order

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market

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talking
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   A guy I knew repaired Data general computer gear. He did Surface
Mount repair with a B&D heat gun.

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
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We do assembly in-house either when time is tight or when the boards are
simpler.   We have some military products where, while the designs aren't
particularly complex -- just a whole bunch of roughly the same circuit
repeated over and over -- some boards end up being something upwards of a
thousand discrete parts, and the techs really prefer not to have to sit down
and pick-and-place that many parts manually... so those go to a contract
manufacturer.

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Same here (or maybe 6 stages? -- but certainly not 11).

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We're planning on building an entirely new shop with a pretty fancy production
line.  It's been delayed due to the slump in the economy (customers delaying
or cancelling orders), although it's now planned to break ground by the end of
the year, which is pretty cool.  (It is a bit cramped here right now...)
There was talk about offering contract assembly services to help pay for all
this if we don't have enough of our own goodies to keep at least one shift
going every day year 'round; should be interesting to see how it plays out.

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Ah, good to know!

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We were using Synplify as well -- Xilinx was packaging FPGA Express (aka, FPGA
Distress) at the time, and it was really quite awful -- worse than the free
synthesis tools that Cypress gave you for their CPLDs!

---Joel


Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
On Wed, 25 Aug 2010 11:13:01 -0700, "Joel Koltner"

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The motherboard in that widget you were playing with has something like 1700
components.

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Five or six is OK, as long as you don't want to do RoHS.  If you have any
plans to do RoHS, the more the merrier.  Five works, if nothing goes wrong but
it stresses parts more than I'd like.  With nine or eleven stages you can soak
everything longer and then spike it for the reflow.

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AIUI, we did contract manufacturing at first, too.  It's a bigger PITA than
it's worth.  Splitting allegiances isn't a good position to be in, either.

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We abused the software quite a bit.  If you do everything by the book they may
work.  ;-)

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I really liked Synplify (Amplify was a sweet idea too).  Too bad Synopsis
bought 'em.  Actually, I'm finding that the freebie Altera stuff works pretty
well.  I haven't really stressed it, but it's very easy to use.  I like the
direction they're going, too.

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
Hi Keith,

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We have some boxes that are something like 3,000 parts... but they're spread
over a large handful of boards inside.

So you win for "most parts on a single board." :-)

I'd still be worried that massive ferrite choke on the internal Ethernet cable
might get lose some day and start smashing up all those nice audio
transformers and relays you have in there!

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Hmm, good points.  I'll keep that in mind.

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Agreed; Synplify was quite good.  I was no longer doing FPGA design by the
time Synopsys bought'em, at least.

The Cypress VHDL synthesis tool (Warp) was nice in that (kinda similar to
LTSpice) it'd been written largely by a single guy up at Cypress's Beaverton,
Oregon office -- made for nice "one stop shopping" for tech support if you
ever needed it.

---Joel


Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
On Wed, 25 Aug 2010 17:26:27 -0700, "Joel Koltner"

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If I did it again I think I could cut it by almost half, or get rid of the
other board completely.  Not going to happen, though.

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It's still on the rope.  ;-)  You should see the monster on one of the flat
cables in our football product.  It's a real Rube.  Compliance afterthoughts
are seldom pretty.  :-(

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It brings home some bacon, I understand.  Ask your boss, "if it comes down to
running our product or theirs..."

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I played around with Actel's a bit too.  It seems to work, but I don't like
their parts as much.  LUT-3s do an amazing job of eating up cells (multiply
your estimates by at least two).  OTOH, Xilinx's new LUT-6 (Spartan 6) is
sweet.  I'm 95% sure I'm going to stick with Altera, though.  Cost and
packaging are really what drives the decision.

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
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hey, if you are turning sand into gold, you don't need no stinkin
engeneer job!


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But on the other hand, in Massachusetts you might be burned at the
stake as an unlicensed alchemist.

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I guess that counts as a free pass. ;-)


Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
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Sixty pinball machines? Damn, I'm in love.

Back to the main question, I think doing something very public
(Makerfaire, Circuit Cellar article, etc) is a good idea to show you
at least have a clue.

I suppose not taking an engineering job is better than taking an
engineering job you don't want. For instance, you want to design but
you take a job in test.

Getting back to Jeri's DIY chip, it is quite possible to do a chip on
open source software. It is just a pain in the ass. I guess to be
clearer, some of the commercial EDA of say Cadence is just cleaned up
Berkeley software. I've played with those open source layout tool and
it's pretty ugly, but haven't tried so in years. Once you have a
layout, take it to Mosis Obviously you design with their spice
parameter file. Basically, it's like how you made chips in college.

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
On Sun, 29 Aug 2010 21:47:40 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@sushi.com"

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You made chips in college?  Any others here?

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
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Check out
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/MOSIS_Users_Group /


Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
On Tue, 31 Aug 2010 21:31:05 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@sushi.com"

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Well i'll be swaged, it is still around.  Cool.

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market

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I didn't, but the courses (and connected labs) were available.  They only did
some pretty simple stuff when I was there, though.  They were given a complete
set of tools for ICs a couple of years after I graduated.

Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
On Wed, 01 Sep 2010 18:05:35 -0500, the renowned

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Same here- they had a small fab on campus (maybe 3" wafers) for
researchers and grad students. This was before MOSIS.


Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..."                          "The Journey is the reward"
snipped-for-privacy@interlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
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Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market
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"The Journey is the reward"
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HP was doing fabrication for students prior to Mosis. If it is not
clear here, the mosis projects were multichip. That is, multiple
designs on the same tooling. Very inefficient, but done in companies
that have the R&D budget.

I'm trying to recall the computer CAD tools back then. Kick (sp) or
Magic (sp too!). I don't know of any universities with a Calma back
then. That would have been GDS 1 on Tek storage tubes. If you ever
used one, it was buggy wip technology. The GDS 1 was designed for
digitizers, not on screen layout. It had a DRC, though not very good.


Re: On Home Projects as a Reentry into the Job Market

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The students did the work at UIUC.  That was part of the deal.

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