Engineers make a schematic to explain their circuits.

One time I was looking for a non-tourist pub in Japan. I asked someone for help. She said, “I’m sorry, but I do not speak good English. I will bring my friend, and she will draw you a map.” (Exact quote!) The map her friend drew, gave directions to a bar with a “Neon Yellow Sing.” She meant “sign.”

The map was the method we used to communicate with each other, even though we didn’t both speak English. With this crude but useful map, I could find my next drinking place destination.

Schematics are the same as this map. Even if you don’t speak the same language, you can communicate how a circuit works when you make a schematic.

Use one of these five tools, when you need to a document a circuit or when you need to ask for help.

The iconic picture of a homemade case for the Apple I, the computer that changed the world, is a great image for Upverter’s post about… changing the world.

While most of today’s attention grabbing innovation comes from clever software apps, most forget that the hardware the apps run on require significant investments in engineering time.  Making the next “multi core processor” is not a simple copy and paste function.  Nor are there any “Getting started with complex digital design books” you can breeze through in a weekend.

Software is always a very cool trick.  However, it is useless without the physical hardware to run it!  Read more at:   Why You Suck At Changing The World; Try Hardware – Upverter.

Tools like National’s (now TI) WebBENCH have allowed engineers to design power supplies without downloading any software for quite some time. Recently I got an account at Upverter.com. This web application is focused schematic capture with social sharing.

Just announced this week, Digi-Key is looking to enter this area with their new web based tool to share schematics, Scheme-It(sm).

I haven’t had a chance to put it through its paces yet, but I look forward to comparing to Upverter and Eagle version 6 soon.