I asked a question here about two specific products and their use in conjunction with each other in an electronic circuit. The question was put on hold as off-topic, but I believe this was in error. In the defined community scope of reference, it clearly states

This site is for electronics and electrical engineering

And electrical engineering is defined as

a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism

Therefore, asking about using two devices in conjunction with each other in an electric circuit is fully within the community defined scope.

If not, please do clarify.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Did you read the close reason, or did you stop right after reading "Off Topic"? \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    May 5, 2016 at 18:16
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Rules Lawyering doesn't help you. As per Dave's answer - use of commercial products is off topic. And tbh, it's not engineering... \$\endgroup\$
    – brhans
    May 5, 2016 at 21:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand the answer, but not your comments or the downvotes. I asked a simple, honest question here on meta and expected a simple, honest exchange. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ulincsys
    May 5, 2016 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Downvotes on meta indicate disagreement, not a bad question. \$\endgroup\$
    – brhans
    May 7, 2016 at 3:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I always assumed they meant poor Q/A quality. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ulincsys
    May 7, 2016 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


Yes, but questions about the application of commercial products are specifically off-topic.

The reason for this is that without knowing anything about the design of the circuitry associated with the solar panel, it is impossible to infer anything about its behavior outside the applications specified by the manufacturer.

You would either have to get more detailed documentation from the manufacturer, or do some reverse-engineering in order to derive the information from the object itself. We WILL answer questions at this level, but you have to show significant effort and understanding on your own; otherwise, it becomes a hopeless case of "20 questions".

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I totally agree concerning detailed documentation, but in a effort to better understand the rules, suppose the manufacturers had provided detailed datasheets as are provided with integrated circuits. Would it be on-topic then? I assume it would be on-topic if they were ICs? Is there and should there be a distinction between say a controller-board and an IC with regards to the rules? They are both "commercial products", but I wouldn't really consider either "consumer electronics" which is what is actually mentioned in the rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tut
    May 5, 2016 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ ICs and modules DO come with detailed documentation on their internal operation and applications. The solar panel you referenced is most definitely a consumer electronics product. These two items are very different as far as our rules go. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    May 5, 2016 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I'm not the OP. I agree and I did not reference the solar panel. The controller board did interest me as those type products do seem to be a little fuzzy concerning the rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tut
    May 5, 2016 at 20:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tut: Ah, sorry, I didn't notice that. But yes, it's all about the documentation. If it's available, then any engineer can work out the behavior of the device (IC, module, etc.) from first principles. Without it, no one can, and we waste a lot of time trying to infer implementation from behavior and then extrapolating from there. If the OP doesn't have the skills and experience to understand our questions and gather the needed data, then the whole conversation devolves into a hopeless mess. The rule exists because the SE community in general has had plenty of experience with this in the past. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    May 5, 2016 at 20:31

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