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The Csm Electronics Prototyping Facility

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.408.1 - 2.408.7



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Paper Authors

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Christopher G. Braun

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1526

The CSM Electronics Prototyping Facility

Christopher G. Braun Colorado School of Mines

Why an Electronics Prototyping Facility is Needed

Most electronic laboratory projects require building simple circuits that are torn apart as soon as the lab is over -- resulting in a limited opportunity for the students to construct anything useful. Students are often frustrated in electronics courses and laboratories as they never quite get to the level where they can design and build anything practical.[1] The CSM Electronics Prototyping Facility (EPF) provides students with the tools to design and build electronics equipment for real engineering applications. It is a powerful tool to reshape the way students learn and think about electronics.

The Electronics Prototyping Facility brings a vertical integration of design software, programmable devices and local (quick) printed circuit board fabrication that gives the users the ability to create prototype electronic circuit boards in a matter of hours instead of days; the use of programmable logic devices (PLDs) permits the modification of existing circuits in minutes. This has brought a capability to our undergraduate laboratories to design and construct circuits that used to be abstract problems because the implementation was too difficult or expensive. For the first time, the process of design and construction of a significant circuit on a high-quality printed circuit board becomes possible, economical and desirable for undergraduate education.[2]

The electronics industry uses concurrent engineering and other methods to improve productivity by breaking down the barriers between design and production.[3] However, concurrent engineering cannot remedy the basic problem -- many working electrical engineers have no training in electronics production methods. With limitations in time and equipment, electrical engineering four year degree programs concentrate on developing the fundamentals and theoretical understanding of their students. It has been my experience that graduating electrical engineers have a good understanding of electronics but lack the ability to take a design from concept to fabrication. When these engineers enter the workforce, they must then learn electronics production skills on the job and industry must cope with the resulting lower productivity. Given the needs of students and industry, it seems only natural that electrical engineering degree programs ought to give their students a basic preparation in production skills to enable their graduates to function better as working engineers. [4-7]


Braun, C. G. (1997, June), The Csm Electronics Prototyping Facility Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6481

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