R. B. Darling
EE-331 Laboratory Handbook
Design Project Information and Guidelines
Overview of Electronic Circuit Design
Design is what engineers do for a living.
This is what all of the physical and
mathematical theory, software tools, and laboratory experience lead up to.
Yet in addition is required the key element of creativity, without which no
new designs can be born.
Creativity is more of an innate skill, one which
cannot be easily taught, but still one which is the trademark of gifted
engineers whose designs show a sense of poignance, freshness, and elegance
which makes them immediately successful in the commercial or industrial
Quite simply, the goal of design is to solve a problem.
“textbook” design problems in which one simply runs an analysis problem
backwards to find the value of a component or two to give a circuit a given
behavior, real design involves much more open-ended questions.
“textbook” design problems in which there often exists a unique solution to
those few, specific, unknown component values, real design problems are
most often characterized by an infinity of possible solutions.
The job of the engineer is then not only one of finding
solution, it is a job of
solution, subject to other practical constraints.
practical constraints typically involve the size, weight, power consumption,
temperature range, sensitivity, reliability, or cost of the final design.
relative importance of these practical constraints will often have more impact
on the route the design takes than any of the more technically microscopic
Yet there may still be many possible ways to solve a given problem, even
while still satisfying the practical constraints.
This feature is why most
engineers have chosen the profession that they have.
In short, this infinity of
possible solutions to any given problem allows an engineer the flexibility to
express his or her own creativity.
The satisfaction gained by the creative
design process is what addicts most engineers to their careers.
Thus, the goal
of engineering is to solve problems, but to do so in a creative and self-