Screaming Circuits: Dog Chow


Dog Chow

I don't know how common the phrase "eating your own dog food" is. I know I've heard it before in some of those obnoxious business seminars. Not all business seminars are obnoxious. Some are quite helpful and actually, now that I think about it, I'm not really sure if I've heard the phrase in the obnoxious seminars or the useful ones. Maybe the so-so ones. Hmm.

Anyway, in case you haven't heard the phrase (it may be a regional thing), it means to use your own product, or in our case, service. I'm not an engineer, but I play one on the Internet. Still, I design and build little things. Since generally what I build is hobby related, I tend to solder them up myself leaving our capacity here at Screaming Circuits for the paying customers. But right now, I'm doing something a little different.

SC Promo 042011 top layer I've got a little design that I'm going to use to help some folks better understand how things work around here. At first, I'll just give it to some writers and editors (writers and editors, feel free to shoot me an email about it), but at some point, I hope to be able to have enough to send out to design engineers that want to get a feel for our process. It's quite a simple board; a PIC microcontroller (18F25K20 SSOP), some switches, resistors, a bunch of 0603 LEDs and some bypass caps. One schottky diode too. I'm putting together a sample kit just like the sort of kit we like to receive. The files will be on a Screaming Circuits USB drive. The PCB, fabbed over at Sunstone.com, will be in there. All the parts, purchased from Digi-Key will be in individual bags; one per BOM line item.

The idea is for someone to take the kit as though it were theirs, create an account on our website, quote the job, place the order (no payment will be needed), upload the files and send the kits in. Along the way, that person will see what we like to see in a parts kit and how the whole register, quote and order process goes. Once they receive the working board back, all they have to do is decode the secret message it displays.

Back to the dog food. From my side of the Interpipes, it's easy to say that things are easy. I sit back, drinking lattes and eating oatmeal while everyone else does the real work. But during this process, I'll get a refresher course on what it's really like to get a prototype built up.

The other day, I sent the GERBER files off to Sunstone to get the PCBs fabbed and the parts order off to Digi-Key. Tomorrow, I've got to kit everything up. Stay tuned. Details as events warrant.

Duane Benson
Is this the kind that makes gravy when you pour water on it?

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