Experience and Planning

Listen while you read: Modest Mouse - March Into the Sea

Today I received an email that details a well learned lesson from an EET student from Purdue. Learning for the mistakes of your peers is a good idea but not buffering or protecting your outputs power traces is a very bad one. To often the thought of saving time or cost out weighs the thought of prevention planning. I myself have learned the hard way that patient planning always is faster then throwing something together and expecting things not to go "haywire". I think Murphy was an electrical engineer. (No, but close an aerospace engineer.)

Good morning, Professor-

Experience and planning. When designing any circuit, whether simple or complex, it's always a good idea to add circuit protection. However, I do not hear a lot about protecting vital elements of one's design within my colleagues' projects. Just last semester I saw a senior melt a battery because of a short in his circuit, which made me think, that could have been me. Unfortunately, for the student's in this generation, they have little patience when dealing with proper planning or just simply overlook the small stuff like buffering inputs to help alleviate loading or protecting against releasing the magic smoke from within.

While testing my motor controller, I made a simple mistake in soldering a short from power to ground. As soon as I connected my power supply to my circuit, I heard a hissing sound and then nothing. No output, no input, just plain nothing. Upon inspection of the circuit, I found the soldering mistake, but it was too late. Alas, but what do I see, that only a single trace was damaged. Well actually, the trace was broken at one point. The copper was tarnished all the way up to my first diode. Without that diode, my circuit would have been cooked. Good thing I learned from someone's stumbles prior to this and added substantial circuit protection. Now I am just repairing a single trace, rather than replacing expensive components. My only hope is that my fellow comrades have the insight to not overlook the small, simple details that could save them time and money when developing their projects.

Best regards,

ECET Student

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