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i'm hoping at least a couple of you are like, "but Alice, how do you know so much about electronics design?"

i'll tell you the open secret:

datasheets.

it sounds dry and maybe a bit intimidating but it's honestly your best bet for starting out.

· · Mastodon Twitter Crossposter · 1 · 7 · 13

in every datasheet for every (worthwhile) part, the manufacturer/designer will put in a "typical application" schematic, like this one.

this literally tells you 80% of what you need to know on how to put the chip into your design.

this one is for a li-ion battery charger chip.

the |( symbols are capacitors, the -vvv- symbols are resistors, and 1uF and 1KΩ values are standard capacitor/resistor values. so the manufacturer telling you exactly what supporting parts you need to make this chip work, including how to connect them on your PCB.

most of the pain of laying out a PCB is making sure the schematic is good, and that's mostly done for you! after that, the tool you're using (Fusion360/EAGLE, KiCad, Altium, whatever) will guide you towards making a PCB that works with the schematic and is manufacture-able.

@AmyZenunim This is true in most cases. Then you get to high-frequency gate drivers driving FETs that need to be passing tens of amps and you learn just how many ways things can go wrong!
-F

@AmyZenunim The absolute worst thing is when a chip doesn't have a typical application circuit... ran into that recently with a *gate driver* of all things, where you would expect not just a typical application but also a layout recommendation! Even worse was that it was a chip with lots of unconventional features...
-F

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