A key part of being a boutique consultancy is knowing how to work with, and manage, your clients.

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Photo by Tool., Inc on Unsplash

Large companies have the advantage of being able to employ talented client services staff. These staff dedicate all their time to nurturing client relationships and communicating project progress to them. For those of us running businesses with only engineering staff there is no such luxury.

It can be easy to forget that the client should be at the centre of everything you do

On a daily basis we have to:

  • manage our engineering work to achieve project deadlines,
  • field the 10s (or…


SPI is a fantastically simple communications protocol that allows two pieces of hardware to exchange data.

Most circuit designers from career professionals to hobbyists will have used SPI as a master but fewer have used it as a slave. This was the case for me until a new project at Embedism forced me to bite the bullet and write a robust SPI slave device and corresponding driver on the master.

This article will give you the knowledge (and code!) you need to get SPI comms up and running between two parts of your project. …


I always struggle to remember which solder I bought or where it was from so this list is as much a reminder for me as it is a recommendation of tools and consumables for you!

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Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

The list below has the best solder to buy, the best pliers and snips, and importantly — links to buy hookup wire!

This story will be updated periodically. There are no affiliate links in this story.

Soldering and Rework

Crimping


The outdated adage destroying innovation.

“Hardware is hard”. Anyone who has worked in electronic product development has heard this phrase — often hundreds of times. It is repeated to management to absolve blame for delays, used as a mantra in times of low productivity and morale, and worst of all — it is spoken to new entrants into the industry as a “warning”.

Students sit in a class with algebra on the chalkboard
Students sit in a class with algebra on the chalkboard
Photo by Shubham Sharan on Unsplash

This article will briefly examine the reasons why this phrase is damaging and then provide some useful steps to follow to ensure you don’t fall into the “hardware is hard” trap.

Everything is hard. Getting out of…


You’ve hit on an idea that’s going to be a winner, done some research online, and decided to build some hardware to showcase it. Sometimes you need a bit more power than an Arduino, say if you want to run a containerised application with Balena, or output HD video. If an Arduino or MCU just won’t cut it — you need a single board computer. The two clear choices in this category are the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone. With a lot of similarities and nuanced differences, choosing between these two options can be a difficult decision.

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BeagleBone Black — Credit to Ray Detwiler — Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

This article will help…


Early design decisions your future self will thank you for

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Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

You’ve nailed your killer idea and sketched out a rough hardware architecture. Now you are preparing to embark on your prototyping journey. Phrases like “cost of change” and “engineering change request” are not in your mind – this is the era of thought experiments and blue-sky thinking.

Fretting over all the potential things that could go wrong with your product’s manufacture at this early stage is a waste of energy. But don’t make your future life hard – follow these tips and you’ll be thanking yourself in ten month’s time.

Hardware

Who will you turn to when you have questions?

Choose well-supported core components

Your…


As the first port of call for most prototypes, what can we do to move beyond Arduino and do we even need to?

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Photo by Harrison Broadbent on Unsplash

The first thing many of us turn to when we have a new project idea is the Arduino ecosystem, and rightly so. Arduino has a plethora of MCU options, shields to expand your project, and libraries for every conceivable purpose. Its open-source core has fostered a vibrant community of helpful, curious, and creative people who will go above and beyond to help you out. …

Nathan Ruttley

Electronic Engineering Consultant and Entrepreneur working to improve our environment, our quality of life, and achieve social good.

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