Frequently Asked Questions
What does Celtic Engineering Solutions do?
We are an engineering design house. We provide engineering services such as circuit design and PCB design and layout. We also work with startups to produce prototypes which is the first step toward new product development.
What is an example of electrical engineering?
Some years ago, a linguist approached us about designing a talking teddy bear. The device was not to be a toy, but a teaching aid to help preserve the languages that are dying out. While the project required mechanical and firmware engineering as well, the electrical engineering part was a circuit that would receive inputs from the user (buttons) and read sound bites from an SD card and play them through an audio circuit in one of two languages.
What do engineering services include?
We provide services, mostly in electrical engineering, such as the design of circuits, making schematics, reviewing schematics, selecting the proper components for the project, power consumption analysis of electrical parts, design of PCB’s, part placement and routing of PCB’s, and testing of circuits. In addition, we provide some programming of microcontrollers often called firmware. Finally, we do custom enclosure design.
What do electrical engineers do?
Broadly, electrical engineers help companies, both large and small, design new products or redesign old product so they can continue to be useful. We use CAD (computer aided design) programs on a computer to make schematics and produce the design of a printed circuit board which a fabrication house can make and then an assembly house can place parts on. We must then test our design to ensure it works as expected. If it does not, we find out why and come up with a solution. Engineering is an iterative process.
What is meant by layout and schematic?
A schematic is a drawing that represents what the circuit is doing. There
are symbols for the different components (resistors, capacitors,
microprocessors, etc.) and traces that show how the circuit components are
connected to each other. Modern schematics are part of a CAD or computer
aided drawing package (we use Altium). In Altium, each symbol on the
drawing carries with it a host of information about that component; voltages
used, current and other parameters such as which vender has stock and how
many pieces they have.
What is the use of schematic diagram?
A schematic is used primarily in two areas. When the product is first
designed, a schematic is necessary before the PCB can be made. When the
schematic is finished it transfers all the information about the design to
the part of the CAD (computer aided design) program that makes the PCB.
The second place a schematic is used, is any time work must be done on a
circuit. It is a road map that tells the technician which components are on
the PCB and how they are connected. He or she, will use this information to
diagnose the circuit and determine if it is working correctly and if not how
to fix it.
Why should I choose a firm that has an electrical engineer who is licensed?
The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) certifies that the engineer meets the qualifications to provide engineering services. In order to provide engineering services, the law states that you must be licensed. You would not go to a doctor or lawyer who is not licensed because you want to make sure you are getting the highest quality of service possible. It is the same with engineering. You do not want to go to just anyone, you want to go to someone you know you can trust to do the job
How do you become a licensed engineer?
To become licensed, engineers must complete a four-year college degree, work under a Professional Engineer for at least four years, pass two intensive competency exams and earn a license from their state’s licensure board. Then, to retain their licenses, PEs must continually maintain and improve their skills throughout their careers.
Is it really against the law to provide engineering services without having a PE license?
Yes, Chapter 22, Part 3 of the Utah Code states that, “A license is required to engage in the practice of professional engineering.” Part 5 Section 58-22-503 lays out the penalties for practicing without a license which are as high as $2000/day of continued offense.
Do you always make multiple prototypes?
This is a microphone board for one of our clients. On the left is the first revision. All the parts are on one side of the 2-layer board. We have mounting holes and a large connector for easy use. The goal of the first prototype is to prove the design works and/or find out where it is lacking and improve it. It also allows for performance testing to see if it will meet the clients’ requirements. The board on the right is about ¼ the size of the original. Parts are on both sides of the 4-layer board and it is designed to meet the form factor of the clients needs. The larger board is easier to troubleshoot and cheaper to make. It saves time and money to make multiple prototypes.
Does every project you work on become a product that goes to market?
The short answer is no, but the reason is very interesting. If new product development were as easy as thinking up an idea, making it and selling it that would be great. The truth is there are some fantastic ideas out there that are not ready for market yet. Last year we worked on a great project that involved ranging (measuring the distance between two moving objects in real time). The product would have had multiple Rf communication paths and passed data and commands between the two objects. Unfortunately, the product requirements did not line up with currently available technology. We tested and demonstrated the technology and when it was becoming clear that there would be reliability problems, we pulled in a panel of experts from the manufacturer of the ranging equipment not only to talk with our team but to answer the clients’ questions as well. In the end the client decided that as cool as it would be, the technology to make the product a reality just did not exist.
I have Gerber files from an old PCB. Can you import them and change my design?
Gerber files are the output from a CAD program that allows a PCB manufacturing company to make a printed circuit board or PCB. The CAD
program and the PCB can look very similar on the screen, but there are big differences. Each component in the design has a footprint. Those footprints can be moved around the board and are eventually connected with traces of
A Gerber file is more like a photograph of each layer. It no longer contains the information about individual footprints and so we cannot manipulate the board like we can with the CAD program. It is like wanting to have people in a group photo move to different locations after the photo has been taken.
What are the advantages of outsourcing product development and engineering services?
Typically, product development schedules are driven by market demands and corporate revenue goals. Most companies have more projects than their current engineers can work on given the pressure to deliver. When a company outsources product development and engineering services, they gain the vision, experience and perspective of a third-party. The increased resources means they can design and deliver a project on schedule. Our clients benefit from our extensive experience in new product development, embedded systems and low power design.
What are Celtic Engineering Solutions Mission and Goals?
Goals: Provide quality services to our clients at a reasonable price, to constantly improve our knowledge in the field of engineering, and to uphold the standards of integrity set forth by the National Society of Professional Engineers.