May 2013
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Well designed circuit boards

Sometimes it is the little things that catch the eye.  When I was installing a Nautel transmitter recently, I was admiring the circuit boards used for the transmitter controller.  I have seen a few circuit boards that are functional, but leave a little to be desired in the form department.  Does it really matter?  Perhaps not, but often times those tiny, almost insignificant details come back to bite you.  Little things like having the voltage regulator pins correctly placed or putting a toggle switch on the correct side of the board.  I have seen both mistakes from another, well known transmitter manufacturer.

Nautel NV controller board

Nautel NV controller board

Anyway, these are a few photographs of some well designed, well laid out circuit boards.

Controller board, NV transmitter

Controller board, NV transmitter

This is the main controller board.

NV controller board surface mount components

NV controller board surface mount components

Surface mount components.

NV controller board

NV controller board

Logic chips.

Nautel XR harmonic filter, part back part is the circuit board

Nautel XR harmonic filter, part back part is the circuit board

Part of the harmonic trap for the XR series transmitters.

It really is the little things that make big differences.  A circuit board under a cover that few people will ever see may seem like a very small and insignificant detail, but I notice and admire these things…

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5 comments to Well designed circuit boards

  • Rob S.

    I’ve had a lot of respect for Nautel for many years, but seeing their board design in this article brings two things to mind: one, that my continued respect for them (now even moreso) is more than justified, and two, that this level of engineering dedication is why they will continue to enjoy such a fantastic reputation. Wow. Thanks for posting this!

  • Seems like Nautel is the new Collins of today, remember how well Collins stuff was designed and built usually to government standards as they supplied quite a bit of equipment to them (or really to us the taxpayers)

  • Kent Teffeteller

    I think Nautel is the new Collins in the solid state era. Remember that Nautel began making Navigational Beacon transmitters which are built to Mil Spec standard. Little details like these well laid out circuit boards and their impeccable build and engineering make Nautel transmitters a joy. And their service and support is every bit the equal of Collins in the day and Continental Electronics at present. I have nothing but the highest respect for Nautel equipment. It is my modern favorite. And I swear by it, never at it.

  • Paul Thurst

    I think Nautel is the new Collins

    I agree with this. Nautel has risen above the other transmitter manufactures with quality and innovation. We have been installing Nautel transmitters (AM and FM) in many places and they just seem to work.

  • Like Steve Jobs said about the first apple computers – “even if nobody looks inside, you will know.” It’s the hallmark of a great designer that even the things you don’t see are well-designed.

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