High Speed Design, Troubleshooting, and Measurement in Electronic Circuits

An informative, practical, and entertaining seminar on successful techniques for designing, debugging, and reducing noise

by Douglas C. Smith
P. O. Box 1457
Los Gatos, CA 95031
Tel: 1-800-323-3956
FAX: 1-408-358-3799
Web: http://www.dsmith.org
Email: doug@dsmith.org

Author of High Frequency Measurements and Noise in Electronic Circuits

About The Instructor

Mr. Smith held an FCC First Class Radiotelephone license by age 16 and a General Class amateur radio license at age 12. He received a B.E.E.E. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1969 and an M.S.E.E. degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1970. In 1970, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories as a Member of Technical Staff. He retired in 1996 as a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff. Recently, he was Manager of EMC Development and Test at Auspex Systems in Santa Clara, CA and is now an independent consultant. Mr. Smith is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the IEEE EMC Society Board of Directors.

His technical interests include high frequency effects in electronic circuit design, including topics such as signal integrity, design reliability, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), Electrostatic Discharge (ESD), Electrical Fast Transients (EFT), and other forms of pulsed electromagnetic interference. He also has been involved with FCC Part 68 testing and design, telephone system analog and digital design, IC design, and computer simulation of circuits. He has been granted over 15 patents, several on measurement apparatus.

Mr. Smith has lectured at Oxford University, the University of California at Berkeley, Vanderbilt University, AT&T Bell Labs, and at many public and private seminars on high frequency circuit design, troubleshooting, measurements, ESD, and EMC. He is author of the book High Frequency Measurements and Noise in Electronic Circuits. He maintains a practical engineering website at http://www.dsmith.org containing nearly 100 useful technical articles. 


This course is given in both one and two day formats. The two day version adds more in-depth information on signal integrity design, measurement apparatus, and troubleshooting. The single day version hits the highlights of the material while preserving most of the laboratory demonstrations.

An Unusual Seminar

This seminar is unique. Demonstrations on real circuits are used to illustrate most of the concepts being taught unlike most seminars which are taught through the use of static visuals (overhead transparencies or images projected from a PC) as the main medium. About 50% of class time, 70% for the single day version, is spent in demonstrations. Complicated math is avoided. This format makes the seminar more interesting to the students and helps them to achieve a deeper understanding of the material covered. Many students have said that this was the best technical seminar they ever attended!

Emphasis is placed on delivering practical knowledge to circuit design, test engineering, and EMC engineers and technicians that can be used immediately on the job. Some class time is reserved to discuss problems and interests of those attending. Each seminar delivery is modified to fit the interests of the attending students.

Many of the design and troubleshooting techniques presented were developed by Mr. Smith and originally published in his book and papers. Some of the techniques covered are not published elsewhere.

Description: This seminar describes in depth how to design, troubleshoot, and measure signals and noise in high speed digital and analog circuits. Measurements are then used to characterize high speed effects in electronic circuits including design verification and troubleshooting. Sources of measurement error are discussed. The measurement techniques are related to design issues to improve signal integrity, equipment EMC performance, and the overall reliability of electronic systems.

Objectives and Benefits:

  • Understand the subtleties and effects of high frequency measurement techniques and their application to signal integrity, design troubleshooting, system performance, and EMC.
  • Learn to locate and fix difficult signal quality or noise problems in a design.
  • Understand and apply techniques for measurement verification to insure accurate signal measurements.
  • Learn about noise related reliability problems in system and board design.
  • Apply high frequency techniques to signal integrity, operational, and EMC problems to improve the reliability of a design.
  • Learn good circuit design and signal integrity/EMC principles and to avoid common and unusual design problems.
  • Learn construction techniques for useful laboratory probes that often outperform expensive commercial probes for signal measurements.
  • Develop the ability to spot limitations of measurement apparatus from the “fine print” in measurement apparatus and probe specifications.
  • Learn about radio frequency emissions, ESD immunity, and internal noise related reliability problems as well as quick development lab techniques to tackle them.
  • Who Should Attend: All digital and analog circuit designers (especially those involved with signal integrity issues), test engineers, design supervisors, as well as EMC personnel.

    Prerequisites: College level course on circuit analysis desirable although the seminar will be useful to those with two year technical degrees.

    Instructional Mode: Lecture/laboratory. About 50% of class time is devoted to experiments and demonstrations.

    Course length: One or two days.

    Major Topics:

    "Excellent demonstrations, much easier to understand than lots of equations"
    Tony Shaw, Principal Engineer, Sony Semiconductors

    Additional comments from people recently attending the course

    • One of the best classes I’ve ever attended. Very practical information that can be easily applied to all designs.
    • Great!! Very useful!!
    • I appreciate the practical examples and “war stories” The book of slides was very effective. The industry contacts and tool suppliers was good, too.

    Questions or suggestions? Contact me at doug@dsmith.org
    Copyright © 1999-2004 Douglas C. Smith