How To Design Your Own Schematics From Scratch

Circuit design from scratchHow can you make a circuit design of any idea you have, from scratch?

How can you take that idea you have in your head – and turn it into a schematic diagram?

How do you choose the right components, and put them together in the right way?

A lot of people have asked me these questions. Yesterday I had a glimpse of inspiration, so today I am going to tell you exactly how you can do this.

Start By Defining Your Idea

What are you gonna make?

This may sound like a stupid question, but a lot of people don’t really know. They say they want to build a robot. But a robot can be so many things. It could be an autonomous car, it could be a smart quadcopter, it could be a humanoid +++

So start by writing down exactly what you want to make. With as much detail as you can come up with. If you can draw it too, that’s even better.

Break It Down

Now create a block diagram to get an overview of your circuit design. For example, if you want to build a robot car you would need motors. And you would need a motor driver. And you would need some kind of “brain” to control everything, like a microcontroller. And probably a few things more.

Get all the different blocks down on paper.

Block diagram of robot project

Circuit Design – One Piece At A Time

Now, you will have a block diagram of all the pieces you need to design your schematics.

At this stage, people with experience will be able to move forward a lot faster than people without experience. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for beginners. Just take your time and do what I describe here – and you will also be able to build whatever circuit you want.

Start With One Piece

Pick one block from your block diagram.

Let’s say we start with the motor driver for our robot. In many cases, you can find an integrated circuit that has everything you need. And it usually comes with a datasheet that tells you how to use it.

But sometimes there are no suitable chips. So you will have to design the part yourself.

“But I don’t know how to design a motor driver!”, you say. “What should I do?”

The answer to this question is the key. So pay attention now ;)

You learn how to, or you find a circuit design that someone else has made.

It’s that simple. If you want to know how to design a radio transmitter, then learn how to design radio transmitters. If you want to know how to design an amplifier, then learn how to design amplifiers. If you want to know how to design a motor driver, then learn about how to design motor drivers.

This is just how it is. It is like this for me too. For instance, at the moment I have never tried to design a switch-mode power supply. So if I wanted to design that, then I would have to read up on it.

It Doesn’t Have To Take A Lot Of Time

Learning how to design a certain type of circuit doesn’t have to take a long time. It all depends on how much you want to learn. If you just want to find something that works for you, just read enough about the subject to understand what you need. Either from electronics books or the web. Then find a circuit design from someone else that works for you. This doesn’t take much time.

But if you really want to become a master of designing this particular kind of circuit, you would of course have to invest some more time.

Connect All the Pieces

If you have gone through the circuit design process above for all the pieces of your circuit, all you need to do is to connect these parts in one circuit diagram.

So to sum it up – here is how you do circuit design of your own ideas from scratch:

  • Define your circuit
  • Make a block diagram of all the pieces you need for this circuit
  • Design each piece (And if you don’t know how to – learn it)
  • Put the pieces together in one schematic diagram

When you have your schematics ready, it’s time to learn how to design circuit boards.

What is stopping you from making your ideas into reality? Post your comments and questions in the comment field below.

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