For some time now, I’ve worked at a couple of large well known companies, working on networking, media and infotainment, and more recently IoT. I do mostly electrical and firmware design, but somehow I’ve wandered into a bit of industrial, mechanical design as well. For some reason, they didn’t want me to abbreviate Industrial Design / Internet of Things on my business card.

I’ve always had access to tools that just weren’t practical at home. Now that work from home is a way of life, however, I’ve been fixing that. I started with some rather expensive design software, getting licenses for Cadence Allegro and OrCAD and SolidWorks. (Arm rather kindly helped with that, significantly). Then I focused on my physical workspace, since no one’s offering to fund a wing on the house. A bit of creative shelving construction and some new container systems, and things are no longer completely out of hand.

Next I’ve had to bring the rework equipment up to speed. I’ve had a decent meter and soldering station for a while, but I’ve added the hot air station, board, preheater, and a decent stereo microscope thanks to a project last year. Now add an inexpensive oscilloscope and power supply, and a couple of different fire extinguishers, and things are livable, our Texas Snow-pocalypse notwithstanding. I should add some solar.

What I really need next is some proper high speed and RF test gear. My projects inevitably seems to have DDR, RGMII/GigE, and all the popular SERDES interfaces, including PCIe, SS-USB, HDMI, MIPI, SGMII, SATA, etc. I don’t necessarily need full protocol level analysis, but I do need something fast enough to see what’s happening. Recently a chip vendor datasheet error had a PCIe switch in device rather than host mode. That’s a month I won’t get back. With all the wireless being added, I could use better RF equipment as well. That fifty dollar vector analyzer from eBay has its limits.

My current project has all of the above.

I also need a cruise, a beach, and a decent wine cellar with IoT capability.

Three words left.

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