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Weekend Wisdom with Screaming Circuits

Some Fridays are just more "Fridayish" than others. And by "Fridayish" I mean that it's been a long week and most of the day is spent with an overtone of "5:00 can't get here soon enough." Today isn't one of those days, but last Friday certainly was.

It's not uncommon for us to get an online order at 6:15 PM on a Friday. I have certainly hit save for the last time (or compile, when I was in my software phase) at 6:15 PM before the start of the weekend. That button click comes with a big sense of relief, but also a bit of foreboding. I tend to work well under pressure, but I know that I am also more prone to commit error while under pressure. I'm not sloppy; just human.

Over the years, I've developed a few trick to help with this Fridayitis1. Some may seem pretty obvious, but they do help, so here's ten pieces of advice to which you may very well be able to respond with: "well, duh... But you know, that does make sense"

001: Pause before you hit save for the last time. Get up and get a drink of water. Comeback and let your mind wander for a moment. A surprising number of missed details have come to mind by doing this.

002: Double check the part numbers in your bill of materials (BOM). Especially these days with the supply chain being so messed up. It's not uncommon to make a quick last minute sub and forget to update the BOM.

003: Take a look at your silkscreen layer. Do you have any silk lines crossing over pads? Are your reference designators clearly associated with the correct part?

004: While you're at it, give you diode polarities another check. Make sure nothing is ambiguous.

005: Going back to subs, if you did make any last minute part changes, make sure the package didn't change and if it did, that you you updated the package in the CAD library.

006: Run one more design rule check.

007: Double check the versions of your set of files. Again, it's easy to slip in a prior version of one file when you have a few to deal with.

010: Once it's done, shut off. Leave you computer. Get out of the house - especially if it's been a long project. Leave town if you have to. Just give your brain a rest and don't second guess yourself. You are a good engineer and you did this right.

011: Okay, on Monday you can come back in and second guess yourself six ways from Sunday. Not that you made a mistake. That's just what good engineers do. (but this one goes to eleven Octal.)

Duane Benson
1 Fridayitis /fri·day·itis/ verb 1. The rapid reduction in ability to focus on the task at hand due to an approaching weekend. 2. An increase in tension as time before the last work day of the week closes out. 3. / noun / A small particle of dust that gets stuck on an eyelash while driving. See also Getoutitis

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