The title of this stackexchange is "electrical engineering." That is fairly broad. The faq emphasizes "electronic design." That is fairly narrow. There are a lot more facets to electrical engineering than design.

Basically, I have a specific question about ESS ("environmental stress screening", sometimes called "burn-in" or "infant mortality" testing). This is a manufacturing process where devices are put into a chamber and the temperature (and sometimes humidity) is cycled while the devices are operating. It is very much an "electrical engineering" topic, but decidedly NOT about "electronic design."

Before embarrassing myself on my first question and getting an "off-topic", I'd like to check if this is an appropriate forum for such a question.

Also, if it is "on topic", I'd like to suggest that the FAQ be changed to explicitly accommodate more electrical engineering topics than just "design".


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    \$\begingroup\$ Our name has a long past of being changed. We are currently electrical engineering but have been working to have it changed. Our original name(after we dropped robotics) was electronic design. Trademark issues appeared. Currently I do not see an issue with this, as it is part of designing and making a product, but I will let a user answer you with their view and allow the community to vote for a more serious opinion. In any case, we have had times before when we were okay with a question but our current user base just did not support answering it and they have been left untouched. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 15:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk:The original original name was Chiphacker. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith, Technically the site was up and then was seeded by chiphacker after a private beta and a very short period of public beta. But yes, you could say that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 18:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ A full history of the site name is here if you're interested. However, the naming has been messed with enough that I've come to realize that it can't be used to determine the topic of the site. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 20:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ What!? Testing is for production weenies! Real engineers just throw stuff over the wall and it's someone else's problem. :-) Seriously though, I think testing is legitimate, especially when it's about testing to electrical specs. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 20:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop, got me to laugh, I think ignoring electrical testing would be a large mistake. I am sorry to say I have never taken part in that end, but would thoroughly enjoy learning more. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Commented Nov 5, 2011 at 15:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: It's amazing how much testing gets ignored until too late in the design process. I tell my customers up front that the test jig is usually at least as much effort to design as the thing it's testing. They usually dismiss this, then come back all frantic wanting a test jig in one month because the product is supposed to ship then, even though it took 6 months to get the product to be ready to be produced. Of course they think the jig will only cost 1/6 of the design too. It doesn't work that way, but way too many people don't seem to get that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 7, 2011 at 13:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop, This is absolutely the case especially as systems become more complex. There are literally thousands of potential points of failure-- ranging every component on the pcb board, to firmware and its interactions, to each manufacturing operation. All these things need to be shaken down at some point. The cost of in terms of time, money and reputation incurred from high-profile customer returns can easily destroy a company. \$\endgroup\$
    – Angelo
    Commented Nov 7, 2011 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop, true, and having a good test jig early in the design process will make the design of the actual product go faster. This is somewhat akin to TDD that pure software guys use: c2.com/cgi/wiki?TestDrivenDevelopment \$\endgroup\$
    – markrages
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


I'd rank this as a part of the electronics design process, and welcome it on the site. We are about both electronics engineering and electrical engineering. We occupy most of the space between the DIY (electrician), Physics (research), Stackoverflow (Programming), and Consumer Electronics (no design) sites. Here's a map for you:

Needs freehanded circles or some help from an artist of some kind.

I think that problems with ESS are within our boundaries. Actually building ESS machines might be a little close to the boundary, but there's no mechanical engineering site yet.

If this wasn't clear from reading the FAQ, (and a big THANK YOU for doing that!), I'd welcome any suggestions for a change or addition to the FAQ.

As Kortuk has said, it's possible that your question will go unanswered. Our active userbase is heavily focused around embedded systems. We've been slowly establishing, for example, a group of FPGA/ASIC/HDL questions and answers. That said, ESS is very much a component of embedded systems design, and many of our users probably have experience in it.

At my job (not that my job defines the site topics, but it's just an example of a user who could provide an answer), I'm not in the validation department but I've designed test fixtures for ESS. Depending on your question, I might be able to answer!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, I will post my question later. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Angelo
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 18:58

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