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Encyclopedia > Circuit Design
Electronics|Circuit design
Electrical network
Circuit elements
Ohms law

The process of circuit design can cover systems ranging from national power grids all the way down to the individual transistors within an integrated circuit. For simple circuits the design process can often be done by one person simply designing the circuit as they go along, but for more complex designs, teams of designers following a systematic approach with intelligently guided computer simulation are becoming an increasingly dominant aspect. The field of electronics is the study and use of systems that operate by controlling the flow of electrons or other electrically charged particles in devices such as thermionic valves and semiconductors. ... An electrical network is an interconnection of electrical elements such as resistors, inductors, capacitors, diodes, switches and transistors. ... Ohms law, named after its discoverer Georg Ohm [1], states that the potential difference (or voltage drop V) between the ends of a conductor (for example, a resistor R) and the current, (I) flowing through R are proportional at a given temperature: where V is the voltage and I... Assorted component transistors The transistor is a solid state semiconductor device which can be used for amplification, switching, voltage stabilization, signal modulation and many other functions. ... - Introductory Root page for this article. ...

Formal Circuit design usually involves the following stages:

  • sometimes writing the requirement specification after liaising with the customer.
  • writing a technical proposal to meet the requirements of the customer specification.
  • synthesising on paper an abstract electrical or electronic circuit that will meet the specifications
  • calculating the component values to meet the operating specifications under specified conditions
  • building a breadboard or other prototype version of the design and testing against specifaction
  • making any alterations to the circuit to achieve complince.
  • choosing a method of construction as well as all the parts and materials to be used.
  • presenting component and layout information to draughts persons layout/mechanical engineers for prototype production.
  • testing or type testing a number of prototypes to ensure compliance with customer reqiurements.
  • signing and approving the final manufactuing drawings


A breadboard (or Veroboard®) is material or a device used to build a prototype of an electronic circuit. ...


The process of circuit design begins with the specification, which states the functionality that the finished design must provide, but does not indicate how it is to be achieved .[1] The initial specification is basically a technically detailed description of what the customer wants the finished circuit to achieve and can include a variety of electrical requirements, such as what signals the circuit will receive, what signals it must output, what power supplies are available and how much power it is permitted to consume. The specification can ( and normally does ) also set some of the physical parameters that the design must meet, such as size, weight, moisture resistance, temperature range, thermal output, vibration tolerance and acceleration tolerance. In engineering and manufacturing, the term specification has the following meanings: Technical requirement An essential technical requirement for items, materials, or services, including the procedures to be used to determine whether the requirement has been met. ...

As the design process progresses the designer(s) will frequently return to the specification and alter it to take account of the progress of the design. This can involve tightening specifications that the customer has supplied, and adding tests that the circuit must pass in order to be accepted. These additional specifications will often be used in the verification of a design. Changes that conflict with or modify the customer's original specifications will almost always have to be approved by the customer before they can be acted upon.

Correctly identifying the customer needs can avoid a condition known as 'design creep' which occurs in the absence of realistic initial expectations, and later by failing to communicate fully with the client during the design process. It can be defined in terms of its results; "at one extreme is a circuit with more functionality than necessary, and at the other is a circuit having an incorrect functionality". (DeMers, 1997) Nevertheless some changes can be expected and the wise designer keeps his options open: it's easier to remove spare gates from the circuit later on than it is to put them in.


The design process involves moving from the specification at the start, to a plan that contains all the information needed to be physically constructed at the end, this normally happens by passing through a number of stages, although in very simple circuit it may be done in a single step. [2] The process normally begins with the conversion of the specification into a block diagram of the various functions that the circuit must perform, at this stage the contents of each block are not considered, only what each block must do, this is sometimes referred to as a "black box" design. This approach allows the possibly very complicated task to be broken into smaller tasks which may either by tackled in sequence or divided amongst members of a design team. Black box is technical jargon for a device or system or object when it is viewed primarily in terms of its input and output characteristics. ...

Each block is then considered in more detail, still at an abstract stage, but with a lot more focus on the details of the electrical functions to be provided. At this or later stages it is common to require a large amount of research or mathematical modeling into what is and is not feasible to achieve.[3] The results of this research may be fed back into earlier stages of the design process, for example if it turns out one of the blocks cannot be designed within the parameters set for it, it may be necessary to alter other blocks instead. At this point it is also common to start considering both how to demonstrate that the design does meet the specifications, and how it is to be tested ( which can include self diagnostic tools ).[4] Note: The term model is also given a formal meaning in model theory, a part of axiomatic set theory. ... On-Board Diagnostics, in an automotive context, is a generic term referring to hardware diagnostic capability that is present in most cars and light trucks on the road today. ...

Finally the individual circuit components are chosen to carry out each function in the overall design, at this stage the physical layout and electrical connections of each component are also decided, this layout commonly taking the form of artwork for the production of a printed circuit board or Integrated circuit. This stage is typically extremely time consuming because of the vast array of choices available. A practical constraint on the design at this stage is that of standardization, while a certain value of component may be calculated for use in some location in a circuit, if that value cannot be purchased from a supplier, then the problem has still not been solved. To avoid this a certain amount of 'catalog engineering' can be applied to solve the more mundane tasks within an overall design. Back to Electronics Close-up photo of one side of a motherboard PCB, showing conductive traces, vias and solder points for through-hole components on the opposite side. ...


Proper design philosophy incorporates economic and technical considerations and keeps them in balance at all times, and right from the start. Balance is the key concept here, just as many delays and pitfalls can come from ill considered cost cutting as with cost overruns. Good accounting tools (and a design culture that fosters their use) is imperative for a successful project. "Manufacturing costs shrink as design costs soar," is oft quoted as a truism in circuit design, particularly for IC's.

Verification and testing

Once a circuit has been designed, it must be both verified and tested. Verification is the process of going through each stage of a design and ensuring that it will do what the specification requires it to do. This is frequently a highly mathematical process and can involve large-scale computer simulations of the design. In any complicated design it is very likely that problems will be found at this stage and may involve a large amount of the design work be redone in order to fix them In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods. ... The words test and testing have many meanings: Testing or experimentation is part of the scientific method, to verify or falsify an already formed expectation with an observation. ...

Testing is the real-world counterpart to verification, testing involves physically building at least a prototype of the design and then (in combination with the test procedures in the specification or added to it) checking the circuit really does do what it was designed to.


Prototyping is a means of exploring ideas before an investment is made in them. Depending on the scope of the prototype and the level of detail required, prototypes can be built at any time during the project. Sometimes they are created early in the project, during the planning and specification phase, commonly using a process known as breadboarding; that's when the need for exploration is greatest, and when the time investment needed is most viable. Later in the cycle packaging mock-ups are used to explore appearance and usability, and occasionally a circuit will need to be modified to take these factors into account. Prototypes or prototypical instances combine the most representative attributes of a category. ... A breadboard (or Veroboard®) is material or a device used to build a prototype of an electronic circuit. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ...


As circuit design is the process of working out the physical form that an electronic circuit will take, the result of the circuit design process is the instructions on how to construct the physical electronic circuit. This will normally take the form of blueprints describing the size, shape, connectors, etc in use, and artwork or CAM file for manufacturing a printed circuit board or Integrated circuit. Integrating computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) with computer-aided design (CAD) systems produces faster and more efficient manufacturing processes. ... Back to Electronics Close-up photo of one side of a motherboard PCB, showing conductive traces, vias and solder points for through-hole components on the opposite side. ... - Introductory Root page for this article. ...


Any commercial design will normally also include an element of documentation, the precise nature of this documentation will vary according to the size and complexity of the circuit as well as the country in which it is to be used. As a bare minimum the documentation will normally include at least the specification and testing procedures for the design and a statement of compliance with current regulations. In the EU this last item will normally take the form of a CE Declaration listing the European directives complied with and naming an individual responsible for compliance.[5] The CE mark is a declaration on manufactured products sold in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, and Turkey that the item meets all the requirements of relevant EU directives. ...

See also

Wikibooks Electronics has more about this subject:
Wikibooks Electronics has more about this subject:

Image File history File links Wikibooks-logo-en. ... Image File history File links Wikibooks-logo-en. ... The field of electronics is the study and use of systems that operate by controlling the flow of electrons or other electrically charged particles in devices such as thermionic valves and semiconductors. ... GDSII is a database format, which in the integrated circuit industry has been the de facto standard for IC layout data exchange for more than two decades. ... Open Artwork System Interchange Standard (OASIS (TM)) is a specification for hierarchical integrated circuit mask layout data format for interchange between EDA software, IC mask writing tools and mask inspection tools. ... An ORCAD Electrical system diagram; Typically OrCAD is used with Electronic components such as ICs, Etc. ... Screen shot of Spice OPUS, a fork of Berkeley SPICE SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuits Emphasis) is a general purpose analog circuit simulator. ... Electronic design automation (EDA) is the category of tools for designing and producing electronic systems ranging from printed circuit boards (PCBs) to integrated circuits. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Integrated circuit design, or IC design, is a subset of electrical engineering, encompassing the particular logic and circuit design techniques required to design integrated circuits, or ICs. ...


  • Definition of Design (see usage noun:1)
  • Information on design verification
  • Diagram of possible design process
  • Example of a very simple partial design task
  • Information on testing
  • FAQ on CE marking
  • UK Guide on CE marking

  Results from FactBites:
Circuit Design Software and Hardware Cent (261 words)
The Center provides a complete circuit design solution.
It can complete all kinds of integrated circuits and board level designs, including analog circuit design, digital circuit design and FPGA design.
The EDA tools used in the process of designing can meet the maximum level standards required by the industry, further guaranteeing that the customers’ design can be reproduced and verified.
CA Design > PCB Design - Printed Circuit Board Design Layouts, Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Design Service (508 words)
While every job is unique, CA Design employs a battle-proven process for ensuring that your design meets all of the varied specifications you require.
CA Design is a configuration of expert and highly skilled printed circuit board (PCB) designers working together as a team to provide you with superior printed circuit board (PCB) design layout experts to meet your demanding schedules and technical requirements.
All have worked in the printed circuit design service world, catering experience in a wide variety of disciplines such as Cadence® OrCAD®;, PADS, Cadence® Allegro® PCB Editor, Mentor Board and Expedition, Pro E, Cadence® SPECCTRA® for OrCAD®;, P-Spice, PCAD and Cadstar.
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