The Key Elements of a Cutting-Edge Electronics Lab Design
An electronics lab should have organized workbenches and access to all basic laboratory requirements so engineers can work without interruptions.
An established electronics lab design should provide training in electronics, offer modern measurement technologies, and have components available.
You can reduce the time-to-market by upgrading your electronics lab design.
Your electronics lab design will depend on your operational expectations and budget
Throughout the course of my engineering career, I have been a part of the electronics lab design process a few times. At educational institutions, an electronics lab is designed exclusively for teaching and research purposes. Students often work on their long-term projects, prototype manufacturing, and circuit assembly in the laboratory space. At an engineering firm, circuit testing, soldering, and circuit assembly usually take place in the lab.
A quality electronics lab should provide facilities that support experimental works that include, but are not limited to, electronics measurements, signal processing, control systems, and power electronics.
Let’s take a look at a few electronics lab design suggestions and considerations.
Electronics Lab Design
A quality electronics lab design will include organized workbenches and access to all basic laboratory requirements (power supplies, measuring instruments, soldering devices, hand tools, wires, circuit boards, etc.) so that engineers can work without interruptions. The electronics lab design should also provide ample space for users to work on projects without issues caused by the grounding of equipment or electrostatic discharge.
Every electronics lab should have these essentials:
- DC regulated power supply
- A soldering station
- Hand tools
The basic amenities and inventory in an electronics lab should be capable of supporting both digital and analog electronics. For embedded systems, engineers may require a PC for programming as well.
An advanced electronics lab design should offer the following, in addition to the basics mentioned above:
- Training in electronics
- Available components–signal electronics, power electronics, drivers, sensors, etc.
- Modern measurement technologies
- Facilitation of amateur projects as well as industrial projects
- Circuit design and simulation software that supports analog, digital, and mixed-signal circuits
- PCB design software for designing prototypes
- Automatic assembly
- Facilities for testing prototype boards
- Microprocessors, microcontrollers, and FPGAs for embedded system design
- Energy and control technologies
Common Electronics Lab Equipment
Here is a typical list of equipment that is standard in most electronics laboratories:
Multimeter - A basic piece of test equipment for reading voltage and current (both AC and DC), resistance, continuity, frequency, capacitance, and test diodes.
DC regulated power supply - Most electronic circuits work on DC power, and a linear regulated DC power supply is helpful.
Function generator - Square and sinusoidal waveforms of different frequencies are required to test circuits under different conditions. The function generator is utilized for generating the required waveform of frequency, which is under the specification of the equipment.
Digital oscilloscope - An oscilloscope is utilized for displaying circuit waveforms so that the process of developing and debugging electronics is easier.
Soldering station - The soldering station is how engineers assemble components onto a circuit board. However, a soldering station is not needed if all that is being worked on are breadboard circuits.
Hand tools - Magnifying glasses, screwdrivers, testers, ESD tweezers, pliers, cutters, wire strippers, etc.
Upgrading Your Electronics Lab Design
It is always challenging to decide whether to upgrade an electronics lab design with the latest equipment and technology. If a lab is for educational purposes, basic equipment and facilities might suffice. However, it is recommended that students get a chance to familiarize themselves with the latest technologies.
If the lab is for industrial purposes, regular upgrades of the electronics lab design are necessary to improve product design, performance, quality, and compliance. Regular upgrades also help labs attract and maintain the best talent–no engineer wants to work with outdated equipment.
One of the key elements of an advanced electronics lab design is the availability of cutting-edge PCB design software. Cadence’s software offers design and simulation tools that are appropriate for all levels of design and a variety of projects.
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