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I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but would this community be amenable to an EE design review StackExchange site, similar to the StackExchange CodeReview site?

I think it would be a tremendously useful resource for people learning electrical engineering and I imagine there would be people willing to teach and share their knowledge.

Is this something worth pursuing?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why not do some data collection from EE to see if you can find a way of finding questions requesting a design review. Maybe there's a way of doing this with the search tools and preselecting tags that might hint at this type of request. Then, you have probably the best stats available that anyone could ever have. Run through the latest 50 and see how they were greeted and make your own mind up. What you might find is a mish-mash in the presentation of schematics and information that makes it a far less a fluid exercise compared to code review. That is may be the main stumbling block. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Dec 15, 2021 at 19:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you make the case that such questions aren't well received here? Do they get closed, or do they not get answered? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 16, 2021 at 2:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman My question was motivated more by scope. On-topic questions are expected to address "a specific electronics design problem." Like the code-review site, I envision something where a more comprehensive/holistic design approach could be considered and discussed. \$\endgroup\$
    – par
    Dec 18, 2021 at 0:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I envision something where a more comprehensive/holistic design approach could be considered and discussed - discussed is the problematic word here. This isn't a discussion site (forum or talking shop). You might be in danger of setting up something that tries to sell meat to vegans. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Dec 19, 2021 at 14:26

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Here are my thoughts:

I think it would be useful, however I don't know that it would be worth pursuing because it may not get enough site traffic or be able to pass through Area 51. One would have to build enough of a community to pass through these hurdles.

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Echoing what Voltage Spike said, I don't think it would have enough traffic to survive as a standalone site. However, we do see design review questions here, and when asked with proper scope and detail, they seem to be generally acceptable.

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I think we (the Royal We -- aka Stacks) aren't optimized to provide the back-and-forth discussions that need to take place for valuable design reviews for projects in our domain. We're just much better at specific questions. The task just seems better suited for a more forum-like environment.

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Why do we need a separate site? I don't see why such questions would be off-topic here, assuming that they contain schematics, datasheets and where applicable PCB layout or source code.

(Pure source code reviews of microcontroller or HDL programs should be asked at https://codereview.stackexchange.com/ though. If there's enough competent people there to answer such questions is another story...)

What is probably not on-topic here is BoM optimization of costs. But asking for technically equivalent second source parts should be ok as long as you make all data available. For example posting a schematic and then asking something like "is there a better alternative for this MOSFET, I need to reduce Rds(on)" is fine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like such content here, and I would be also interested in why some object. If there are half-assed request from lazy designers, it won't really be any worse than the endless horde of lazy (and currently tolerated - even upvoted) questions that 1 min of google can answer. And there is also downvotes and close votes. \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    Dec 23, 2021 at 12:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ As it turns out we had the very same discussion at Codidact here. It was about source code specifically, but I proposed that if we were to have reviews they should be design reviews which could be anything from schematic to PCB layout to source code. Nothing came out of that discussion either though. What Codidact got that SE lacks is the category feature - the same site can allow posts of different rules/scope by posting below different categories. The Codidact equivalent of SO supports but technical Q&A and code reviews under the same site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Dec 23, 2021 at 12:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ That being said, design reviews - particularly about schematics or PCB layout are definitely on-topic at Codidact. And here on EE too, or at least I thought so... \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Dec 23, 2021 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ They aren't necessarily closed, it depends on if they are on topic. But the way that I look at its is a design review is useful for that person, and the question is useful to a small group of people. A better thing is spelling out the problems you face and asking questions about those, in that manner they are searchable\findable by the internet at large and those that are trying to solve a specific problem \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Feb 8 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VoltageSpike I don't buy that at all. While a design question might not catch much in the way of internet search traffic, the contents of a review are highly relevant to a whole lot of people. Lets say someone posts a relay control schematic and one review points out "you need a flyback diode across the coil or you'll damage your driver circuit". How is that answer only useful to a small group of people? It's the other way around: it's highly relevant information to every single person ever using a relay. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Feb 9 at 7:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VoltageSpike Similarly, when a veteran reads a design review by another veteran, some 95% of it might be known to them, but there could be some 5% of valuable gems that they have never considered themselves before. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Feb 9 at 8:02
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I don't think it would be useful without some structure, otherwise adhoc random questions may spin a lot of wheels when the presentation might function but not meet expectations, or might not function and we have no idea what the expected assumptions and expectations are are; e.g. time, cost, quality level, budget, skill level and design complexity.

It is also best done with interactive audio so that rules out this site.

  1. Requirements Checklist for Design Phase ( 1,2,3 or as defined)
  2. Design specs being presented including all layers ( environment, format e.g. HIPO (hierarchical tree, Input, processes, outputs, Validation specs and tolerances)
  3. Design Review choices: (ad hoc, informal, formal), must haves , nice to have, incomplete, estimate of % complete, resources needed to fulfill objectives
  4. Conclusions: List of recommendations, rated by risk or difficulty with research\testing required)a

This was just an off-the-cuff response.

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