Peter van der Walt and Thomas Sanladerer ,

+Peter van der Walt and @Thomas_Sanladerer , how do you two make circuit design look so easy? You have to know all of the components well with details on pull-up, pull-down, pulse timings and voltage ranges. You guys just seem to make it look easy. Do you just breadboard it to know if things will work before going to any design software? I do not think I can find any design software that will emulate the circuits for a motion control board without paying a bunch of money.

If you can find spice models for the motor driver chips you’re using, pspice should be able to handle it. It’s just hard finding simulation models sometimes.

@John_Bump I would have no idea where to start either. We need a repository for this stuff.

Datasheet of the component provides most of the required information to design a schematic,voltage range, internal pull Up, timings, even example application. Pspice is a mighty tool for simulation, but it requires some time to learn how to use it. For a new schematic, it always makes sense to start on a breadboard as you can easily change connections and measure voltage levels. And last but not least, experience, if you do it more often, you have a better understanding for electronics

You don’t need to simulate everything or even everything at once. Most circuits involving microcontrollers are either very basic or are closely based on the manufacturer’s datasheet anyways.

Okay. I guess I will start my voyage by ordering some parts and then I will just read the data sheets, test on a breadboard and then build up slowly. I have some circuits in mind but I do not know how well they will turn out.

@Thomas_Sanladerer I agree. I find that a thorough read of the data sheet and a possible example circuit from the company really help out.

It’s been my experience that the only time I actually need simulation is when it’s a somewhat complex/multi-element analog circuit. For black box components, like hook microcontroller to motor controller to motor, I can usually find someone else’s schematic, or as noted use the datasheet example.

What Tom said is essentially what I do. Pull up datasheet, copy schematic in the example into kicad/etc, then push everything to PCB. Things like motor driver ICs, etc all have sample applications that they publish circuit diagrams for.

I’m as just as bad of a programmer as I am a circuit designer. I’m fluent in Google and Stackoverflow.

Datasheet datasheet. Majority of your information is there. I use online calculators to determine currently capacity of traces. The most difficult here is SPI, USB, and crystals. They all require special routing considerations, and crystals require careful selection and trace impedance.

My biggest lesson is don’t look at someone else’s project and assume they did their research.

@Stephanie_A that is very true. I have been working on a new project and some of the reference designs I have seen online are… interesting.

Usually the data sheet is adequate for general setup. Once you get to connecting to other devices, it can get tough.