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Brad Albing

Analog Engineers Write Code! Or Maybe Not

Brad Albing
Michael Dunn
Michael Dunn
3/28/2013 3:53:56 PM
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Re: Code
We can also do civil design, chemical design, hydraulic, architectural, aerospace, etc design. To varying degrees of course ;-)

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
3/28/2013 3:50:15 PM
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Re: Code
I agree - I can write code if I must, but I'd rather be designing analog (we should get bumper stickers printed).

Rather like what my buddies and I used to say about the mechanical engineers (when they failed to design and fabricate what we thought the product specifications called for and we had to fabricate parts in the model shop): Electronic design engineers can do mechanical design; the reverse is not true.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
2/12/2013 4:02:42 PM
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Re: Digital control - or not
Certainly this sort of detailed data logging and reporting is not for everyone. Same thing with being able to tweak the output voltage slightly - not for everyone. Some designs and products are just not that sophisticated. If you're building products that are sort of dumb, no need to change. If you need the level of sophistication to which we are referring here (such as with tel-com, server, or medical diagnostic equipment) then you will likely unerstand the need for these sorts of digital based controllers. And design accordingly.

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Earl54
Earl54
2/7/2013 3:13:24 PM
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Newbie
Digital control - or not
Or is it that the added value of the digital controllers is in many cases not really valuable?  The added cost in many cases is not worth it.  The voltage is easily changed on an analog controller, just change a resistor value.  It can't be done on the fly, but our processor people don't want the overhead to tell the controller to change its voltage anyway, so I couldn't use that feature.  Similarly, if I don't have a place to report the ageing of the output, it doesn't matter that I can sense it.  So don't tell me I'm afraid of the code.  There is no compelling reason to move from the dirt cheap analog controllers at this time, for our designs.  When the processor folks start wanting the extra capabilities, I'll get more serious about the controllers.

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eafpres1
eafpres1
2/6/2013 10:03:10 PM
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Re: Analog Engineers Write Code! Or Maybe Not
Hi Brian--yes, application specific knowledge is essential.  Sounds like an excellent reason for collaboration. Early in my career I did a lot of code because I understood the problems and could "figure out" the programming languages.  But today there are code experts who are way more efficient and when you get into specific processors or chipsets they have to be very tight with code.

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Brian Dotson
Brian Dotson
2/6/2013 8:53:03 PM
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Re: Analog Engineers Write Code! Or Maybe Not
I can think of one area where an analog engineer is better qualified to write code than a guy with a pure programming background. That would be DSP code for audio processing. It is impossible to do such coding correctly without knowledge of purely analog signals concepts such as gain, DC offset, zero - crossing, clipping, etc. Show me a CS graduate who can navigate those software waters!

I have extensive analog hardware design background, and a little bit of audio DSP under my belt. One of my professional goals is to become much more proficient in DSP signal process coding in C (or assembler if tight timing constraints drive me to it). it seems like a natural complement to my skills as an audio hardware design engineer.

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eafpres1
eafpres1
2/3/2013 4:25:40 PM
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Re: Code
Depending on where you are in the value chain, firmware/software is accounting for a rapidly increasing share of total value (revenues).  I'd be cautious to dismiss those "coders" too fast.  I also see that a lot of companies are disappointed with remote/outsourced software efforts so those jobs may move back closer to the hardware in the future.  Might be a good idea even for an analog engineer to learn a new (programming) language!

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Michael Dunn
Michael Dunn
2/1/2013 7:48:53 PM
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Code
Ha, any schlub can write code ("software engineer" tee hee), but it takes actual talent to do analog. Nothing to fear.

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goafrit2
goafrit2
1/31/2013 5:29:36 PM
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Master
Coding Is Road to Outsourcing
I have a friend here who is afraid of being asked to find a coding solution to his job. There is that fear that once management thinks it is about coding, the job moves to Asia. Sure, we do write codes, but if you are in America and writing a lot of codes as a designer and working for a mid-size firm, update your resume. Coding burns people in this industry because the jobs always move.

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