There is not substitute for being thorough
APPOTE strive to provide our customers the fastest path to production with our concurrent engineering approach and our around-the-clock global service team.
Module development - our approach
We support customer through-out the whole development lifecycle. Once we understand the requirements we work closely with specialists on module design by providing Solutions and technical supports. We can provide solution leveraging our existing business relationships (e.g. our preferred supplier for wi-fi chipsets is Ralink and Realtech) or based on your requirements we can provide design of specific module accorindg to your specifications and needs. We strive for 100% customer satisfaction through understanding your requirements and needs.
Experience counts for a lot in circuit design. The experienced solution provides a much better quality circuit. It costs, but experience has taught that it only costs a bit more when you build it - rather than a lot more later, fixing the Problems. Decisions made during the circuit design also affect the layout. The designer should specify the physical package to be used in the layout at the time the circuit is designed, rather than leaving this as a seperate task for later. Where Circuit design and PCB layout are not performed by the same person, efficient communication is essential.
APPOTE does offer PCB layout as a separate service, but more often it is as part of the whole Custom electronics PCB design project - where the client wants the circuit, CAD and prototyping stages as well.
PCB layout can be performed manually. The best results are usually still achieved using at least some manual routing - simply because the design engineer has a far better judgement of how to arrange circuitry.
We have our subcontractor for PCB etching the laminate and PCB Assembly who work presently with our existing clients.
Appote help you to estimate your production volume as part of your specification. Depending on the design, timescales, financing and nature of the circuity, between two quite different construction techniques- surface mount and thru hole. Surface mount costs more to design and set up, and less to make.
There are chips and Modules that make design so much easier. But it becomes important during debugging and we have a certain amount of expertise, when there are problems - low level analog, low power circuitry, robust interface circuitry, Radio circuitry and opto-isolated construction.
In larger quantities some functions that would be normally be incorporated as modules - for instance RF circuitry - may instead by implemented on the PCB as seperate parts. The design cost would go up, but the unit cost would go down. As manufactured quantites go up, the time to test the units becomes an important consideration, a designer will devote more effort to implementing power on testing, and will perhaps offer to design dedicated test equipment to complement the manufacture. All these decisions are dependent on the production volume
Some clients believe that it is dangerous to tell a design company - such as APPOTE- exactly what their product is, and how many they expect to sell. But a designer needs to know this in order to their job well. The designer is supposed to be working for you - not just for themselves. It is all a case of trust - know who you are dealing with, know their position in the company, ask the right questions and make a judgement call. Provisional patents and NDA's may well assist you to safe guard your intellectual property but really your first line of defense is dealing with someone you can trust.
Firmware / Software
- Program Specification
- Program Design
- Wrting Code
- Program Test
The design of the circuitry also ties in with the programming for the product. When Programmable Logic Devices are being used decisions are made as to which circuitry is inside which devices, and which is external. Decisions are made as the circuit is designed that affect how the coding operates. These are basic design decisions that require good communication occur between the Firmware and Hardware people working on your project.
The programming used in electronics products is quite different from standard applications. The main difference is in resources. The programming in Electronics products is in intimate contact with the hardware - it twiddles bits, pokes flags, and cycles pins - and a lot of electronics programming happens "under interrupt" or in real time, and is timing critical. Our Expertise from Hardware and Firmware teams work closely because there are always design tradeoffs, and discussing those tradeoffs helps.