The hardware engineering discipline has come a long way over the last half-century. Gone are the days of taping out a PCB design and keeping designs in a physical flat-file cabinet. New solutions throughout the decades required IT staff to create and manage network locations to store designs. Still, the maintenance and upkeep of the designs were on the honors system, and each design was only as robust as the weakest member of the team. Even if files had an ultimate destination, they were often passed around on “sneakernet” with code reaching systems on floppy disks or thumb drives. Many engineers used informal and ad-hoc release processes where they would zip their files and tack on revision numbers whenever they forgot something and needed to add it later.
In a previous post, we covered git for hardware commit best practices. To review, changes to the files are captured in commits to your local filesystem. Commits should collect small, purposeful, and related changes to the files.
When you’re ready to apply these changes, you push the committed files to a remote repository. The repo might be your own filesystem, a server sitting in a closet, a hosted git solution like GitHub, or a platform specifically designed for hardware like AllSpice.io.
Variety may be the spice of life, but sometimes engineering can feel pretty repetitive. Maybe you’re a more diligent engineer than I am, but I’ve definitely been hit by hardware issues I know I’ve seen before or seem so obvious in retrospect — like melting LED cases or flipped flat-flex cables as @alexw on the Contextual Electronics Forum notes in his “don’t make that mistake again” list. It’s my belief that designs fail more often because a trivial issue was overlooked rather than a fundamental design flaw in one of the key functional areas.
What are the best forums for electrical engineers, hardware engineers, and PCB Designers? We did some digging and asked members of the AllSpice team – several of whom are electrical engineers – which message boards they check the most often.
We previously covered the best electrical engineering YouTube channels, as well as the best hardware resources/news sources.
Our criteria for these forums were simple – engineers are collaborative and curious by nature. Here are some of the forums where we saw just that, along with recent and frequent postings from the hardware community.
Some are highly focused on solving specific problems or sharing projects for community feedback. Others are more hardware news related – and sometimes off-topic, yet still intriguing. Enjoy!