Contextual Electronics -- Online Electronics Design Course!

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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:17 am

Contextual Electronics -- Online Electronics Design Course!

Postby Deamiter » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:08 pm

First, a quick introduction. I've been working on electronic monitoring of my honey bee hives from my house north of the Twin Cities, but a couple young children make it difficult for me to constructively travel to the Hack Factory (although I did manage to visit once). I've been picking up circuit board design to support a hive scale, but also to help improve the bee counter first described by Hydronics here: I also have a blog at if you happen to be interested in the intersection of bees and electronics.

Anyway, I've been regularly listening to The Amp Hour podcast ( ) and Chris Gammell, one of the hosts, is working on an online course in circuit board design. He's focusing on the Open Source KiCad program, and he'll focus on analog electronics as it's his specialty. Chris is taking an informational email sign-up here

I strongly suggest that anybody interested in circuit design follow along! While it looks like the the course will not be free (although I expect it to be reasonable as it's aimed toward hobbyists) I expect many of his videos (possibly including a KiCad tutorial series) will be published freely on YouTube, so it might be worth following even if you don't join the actual course.

I'm really excited to get some direction from a professional hardware designer in a format that emphasizes learning what you need as you need it and building up some circuits along the way. It will also be nice to have a reason to get some hand-holding toward jumping to the open-source KiCad.

I don't know how much circuit design is actually practiced at the Hack Factory, but while this isn't geared toward absolute beginners, this looks incredible to me -- someone who's messing with rough electronics toward specific goals!

[EDIT]Wow, I didn't realize that this was actually my first post! I've been lurking for a bit, and I didn't realize that I'd never actually posted anything. I guess I feel uncomfortable that this looks so spammy -- sorry! (at least it's not a new account, right?).[/EDIT]

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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:25 am

Re: Contextual Electronics -- Online Electronics Design Cour

Postby adamwolf » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:17 pm


I design all the Wayne and Layne PCBs using Kicad. I am relatively active on the developer's list, and maintain the Ubuntu/Debian builds, and am doing some fun secret work on it for OSHPark. Let me know if you have issues with it.

Adam Wolf
Wayne and Layne, LLC

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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:17 am

Re: Contextual Electronics -- Online Electronics Design Cour

Postby Deamiter » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:59 am

Fun secret work for OSHPark! KiCad just keeps looking better and better!

I passed over KiCad as I was learning to work with the (at first) confusing world of EDA footprints, libraries and work flow after I found that I'd need to buy the most expensive version of Eagle to work with the long, skinny format of the bee counter. I don't want to pirate the software, so I ended up with a $125 version of DipTrace that has pin restrictions instead of format restrictions and has really impressed me as a decent choice that seems often overlooked by hobbyists.

Now that I actually know what I'm doing, I assume KiCad will be much easier, and I look forward to going through your KiCad tutorials at

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Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:47 pm

Re: Contextual Electronics -- Online Electronics Design Cour

Postby Learner » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:27 am

I chose using the free PCBArtist after having decided to use Advanced Circuits for my PCB fab work. One of their permanent specials is $33/each for 2 sided PCB's 4 or more up to 60sq inches per PCB. These aren't rough prototypes, these are high quality solder masked & silk screened with 1 oz copper runs. They also recently purchased a small fab company in the TC area (all my fab work still gets done by them in CO).

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