Successful Endeavours - Electronics Designs That Work!

Today’s post comes hot on the heels of my viewing something really special.  A member of one of my LinkedIn groups, Steven Rodrig, has used his artistic imagination to create some really amazing pieces of Technology Art from PCBs and Electronic Components.

Please check it out at PCB Creations

And here is just one example to inspire you to check out his website at the link above.

PCB Roach - an example of technology art

PCB Roach – an example of technology art

The other great thing about this is that it was done using left over materials that would otherwise have been thrown away.  A great example of waste reduction that actually makes it a huge positive.  Now I am wondering what we have lying around here that I could do something more useful with?  I hope you are inspired as well.

Innovation is a word that is used a lot, and sometimes we forget that it means to do or think differently in some way. So this is truly innovative use of Technology such as Electronics and PCBs.

You can also

Thanks for creating these Steven.

Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  For more information go to his LinkedIn profile. This post is  Copyright  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Casey Business Awards

The City Of Casey are holding there inaugural Casey Business Awards and at the Casey Business Breakfast this morning Successful Endeavours were nominated as finalists in 2 categories.

Casey Business Awards

The 2 Casey Business Awards categories are:

  • Manufacturer Of The Year
  • Business and Professional Services

We fall into the Business And Professional Services category with our Electronics and Embedded Software development services where we design products for Australian Electronics Manufacturers  so they can achieve Low Cost Electronics Manufacture in Australia at a good profit margin.

The Manufacturer Of The Year award category recognises that for some of our clients, we also manufacture the product the product and delivered to them programmed, tested and calibrated; ready to sell.  This includes products like a DNP3 enabled power controller product for the US Smart Grid market which is made right here in Berwick as well as the Award Winning Borgtech CPL2 Corrosion Protection Data Logger with Wireless Data Logging.

It was an honour to be recognised by our city council together with other small business owners in the City Of Casey, a municipality in the outer south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.  We will find out who the winners are on Friday 27th August at the Casey Business Awards gala dinner.

Cranbourne News 5th August 2010 Best in Business

 Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  For more information go to his LinkedIn profile. This post is Copyright  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Australian Engineering Week 2010

Today begins Australian Engineering Week 2010.  You can get a full run down on all the events at Make It So which you might recognise as a tribute to the Star Trek series. 

It got me thinking about why I got started in Engineering.  It was music.  I had done 1 year of a Science degree focusing on Physics and Chemistry at Deakin University and had taken a year off because I had no idea why I was doing a degree.  So I worked a few mundane jobs and joined a pub band.  We were pretty bad.  I had only started playing guitar a year before that.  The equipment was low grade and needed a lot of maintenance and I was constantly trying to improve the PA, the mixer, the guitar and amplifier and the effects.  They were all analogue electronics in those days. It was mostly trial and error and occasionally trial and success!

What if I knew enough about Electronics to be able to improve, or even design from scratch, my own guitar effects pedals, guitar amplifiers, mixing desks and PA system?

But where would I learn that?  So I went back to Deakin University and asked them.  And they suggested Engineering.  I had mostly thought of Engineering as roads, buildings, bridges and transport so this was a new type of Engineering for me.  But I was also hooked.

Four years later with a First Class Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering I was doing just what I had set out to do.  Electronics Design was now a part of who I was, not just an area of study.   My rig was designed and built by me.  And I also doing electronics design and custom pro-audio equipment construction for recording studios and professional musicians.

So check out Australian Engineering Week 2010 and for some more insights into Engineering you can also read the blog at Engineering Education Australia.

Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  For more information go to his LinkedIn profile. This post is Copyright © 2010  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

National recognition for local Casey Business

OK, I couldn’t resist that blog title or this headline.  It isn’t often you get a chance to say something like that.  If you hadn’t heard yet, we are finalists in two categories in the EDN Innovation Awards for 2009.  Melbourne is the Electronics Manufacturing capital of Australia and we are based in Berwick which is administered by the City of Casey .  And we are also members of the Berwick Chamber Of Commerce.

Successful Endeavours in the NEWS

The Casey Weekly Berwick has just done an article on Successful Endeavours that also covers the EDN Innovation Awards we are finalists for.  You can check it out here Electronics Whiz Wired For Success.  And as a bonus, you get to see what we look like.

Electronics Manufacturing

Our aim is to turn Australian Electronics Manufacture into Low Cost Electronics Manufacture through improving the total cost of a product throughout its life cycle.  This is not a quality reduction process.  Quite the opposite.  Getting the product right so it doesn’t fail and does do what it is meant to do is one of the things necessary to reducing cost.

Located on the outskirts of Melbourne we primarily serve Melbourne based Electronics Manufacturers by providing them with Electronics and Embedded Software Development services that save them up to 70% compared to traditional linear Product Development.

So how do we do that?

Firstly, there are a few blog posts you can refer back to that will fill in some of the details.

Successful Product Development

Australian Electronics Manufacturing

Low Cost Electronics Manufacture in Australia that competes favourable with China is feasible.  Ignoring the trade offs discussed in the links above, the steps to take are:

  • Identify the primary priority – is it time, cost, performance?
  • Reviews costs – all the costs – see the last link above if you are sure what they all are
  • Reduce Cost through redesign to remove unnecessary labour and to streamline manufacture
  • Implement
  • Deploy
  • Monitor and correct as required

Written like this it sound simple, and conceptually it is.  Where it gets lost is in the assumption that it can’t be that simple.  But there aren’t any hidden traps in this process.

We have had a few queries about how we came up with our company name, Successful Endeavours. Next post I will reveal all.

Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  For more information go to his LinkedIn profile. This post is Copyright © Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

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When it comes to selecting a microcontroller for Electronics Manufacture, the field to choose from is quite large.  And while there is no one right answer to this, there are some basic steps to take to ensure you are using the right core component in your latest Electronics Development Project.

For this post I will walk you through how we go about this process.  As I said earlier, there usually isn’t one right answer but this will give you an idea of the process we use.

The first priority to determine is which of the following is critical:

  • power consumption
  • speed or processing power
  • peripherals
  • cost

This is how we go about the selection process:

If it is Power Consumption that is most critical, then we go for the TI MSP430 family.  These have been designed from the ground up for low power with good processing ability.  They also have excellent ADCs and they are fast at 200kSPS.

If it is processing power you want, then the ARM Embedded Processors are great value.  They are 32bit and most need dual power supplies but they really deliver when its comes to performance.  They also come in a wide range of flavours with peripherals to suit a plethora of applications.  We particularly like the offerings from Atmel SAM7 and NXP LPC2000.

If it is peripherals, then it depends on the level of performance and if there are any specific applications.  For automotive you will often want a LIN or CAN peripheral and the processing power will depend on whether it is a simple ECU, Body Computer or Engine Management Unit.  If it is networking you want then you can get away with an 8 bit processor for some tasks but it is hard to beat an ARM MCU with on board ethernet controller.  For this selection criteria, carefully map out what you need and the performance required then look at the secondary factors such as processing power, power consumption and cost.

For cost, we like the Atmel AVR processors.  These are also our work horse 8 bit processors.  And they also have a good range of peripherals, on board EEPROM as standard, and good power management capabilities.

Now let me also make one other point about cost.  It’s not just the component cost, but the complete cost equation.  So development costs, part costs, manufacturing costs, and product life cycle support costs.  Although there are other parts out there that have lower unit component costs, we find the overall cost to be very good with these MCUs.

So that is a very cursory look at the process of selecting a microcontroller.

Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  For more information go to his LinkedIn profile. This post is Copyright © Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.