The tools we use to support you are as follow:
Mechanical Design & Visualisation
SolidWorks is a wonderful solid modelling tool. Seeing your designs come together in 3d really assists with the creative process. Once the solid model has been developed, it is then a relatively easy process to produce the two dimensional construction drawings or exploded views. Another powerful feature of SolidWorks is the ability to animate the motion of moving parts and examine dynamic clearances. And of course the model created is totally parametric with embedded design rules, so that dimensions can be changed and different design variations maintained, without the need to redraw anything.
SolidWorks also offers us the ability to do finite element analysis of our structures to examine them for flexure and strength.
Visual Studio Express
We use this Microsoft product for windows development work in C, C++ and C#
GCC C/C++ and binutils
We use the GNU compiler collection (GCC) for embedded Linux development.
This is a relative new development environment for us; we are planning on using Qt for our graphical user interfaces on our embedded Linux designs.
We do a lot of assembler coding on Freescale, ARM, TI dsp and msp430.
We use National Instruments Labview for many windows analysis and interface designs. It is a graphical programming language with many preexisting virtual instruments. It enables fast development of efficient and powerful applications.
We are most familiar with Debian / Ubuntu. Most of our embedded Linux development work has been on Beaglebone-xm, Beaglebone black and Raspberry Pi
Git in general and SmartGit in particular takes so much stress out of the software development process. It enables us to maintain snapshots of our code files as the development proceeds. It also enables us to work collaboratively. We even use Git for general information management.
Design work is expensive and simulation is now an essential element of the design process to minimise both risk and development time. Software we use for simulation is:
Tina & Multisim
We use Tina (Texas Instruments) and Multsim (National Instruments) for Spice simulation of electronic circuits. Here we are able to perform sensitivity and stability analysis under many different scenarios including temperature.
We use Maxima, an open source mathematical modelling tool to help us develop and solve tricky equations and transfer functions.
A spreadsheet is still a remarkably effective analysis tool!!
Printed Circuit Board Design
Altium Designer is a very powerful schematic capture and PCB design tool. It integrates with our sold modelling tool so that we can examine our PCB designs in 3d, examining clearance and tracking issues. It also enables us to do signal integrity analysis for high speed circuit design.
Project Management can be difficult with development. There are generally many unknown factors that can impact cost and timing. A well defined Gantt chart enables the overall impact of delayed tasks to be assessed allowing timely strategies to be developed to mitigate or ameliorate the impact.
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