Issues that every electrical engineer must be aware of

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Every EE must be aware of the following issues, concepts, and gotcha's:

  • Coefficient of thermal expansion.
  • Quality controls (Six Sigma, statistical, in-process inspection, flow).
  • People management.
  • Environmental and reliability testing (temperature, vibration).
  • Thermal conductive material from device to board.
  • Thermal dissipation of device.
  • Thermal effects on semiconductor junctions (doubling of reverse leakage current for every 10C rise in temperature, rise in temperature due to theta of device and heatsink, etc).
  • Ground plane, ground star, ground loops
  • Cracking of solder joints, ROHS impact on tin solder.
  • Bare boards testing methods (bed of nails or flying probe). Populated boards testing methods. Final inspection (this skill comes in use for quick visual inspection of a board to be troubleshooted, before test instruments and power are applied).
  • Inspection / Final department must visually inspect board by a human. Pre-test can be automated, but if your company or your supplier does not have human eyeballs on the product, then do not trust its quality.
  • Industrial design (most often, this means designing for cheapest cost while keeping withing safety margin and legal / standards requirements).
  • DFM (design for manufacturing). Every engineer must know how things are built, how cost is derived, etc before he can be called as a designer.
  • Galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals.
  • Current capacity of test wires, traces, cords.
  • Safety regulations.
  • Legal and standards requirements.