System Architecture Design

It’s system-level requirement generation/management, system design, project management and team leadership that provide the highest levels of personal satisfaction nowadays. Working to specify the system requirements, and then architecting that system down into its hardware, firmware, software, and mechanical constituents.

Even better is then putting the development team together and working with that team to actually create and deliver the system – then sell it!

It’s been a huge privilege to have worked across many different aspects of the electronics industry over the past 30+ years. Probably the most fortunate aspect was a career that began in Radar Systems, as they incorporate such a vast range of different disciplines.

In a radar system there is low signal RF, very high power RF, complex timing and control systems, sophisticated digital signal processing all the way from the ADCs through to the output to the plot extractor. Then add in backplane design, cabling systems, power supplies, mechanical systems, antenna systems, user interfaces, and comprehensive Built In Self Test (BIST) systems on top of the base functionality.

These were all bound together by a set of design guides, principles, processes and procedures which have stood me in good stead ever since – even though they seemed horribly clunky, restrictive, and onerous to an energetic young engineer!

There have been opportunities to be involved in, or indeed lead, several complete system-level designs and implementations in a number of different industries. Working at this multidisciplinary whole system level is where the skills and experience acquired over the years really come to the fore, whilst providing the highest levels of enjoyment and fulfilment at the same time.

The following are a couple of examples that can be shared in this type of forum. This is a cross section of the modular electronics bay for a broadcast quality HD monitor. All electronic, electrical and mechanical elements were under my control.The electronics were going to be split across the three main processing boards shown in the diagram above. The system block diagram for these boards and their interconnect is shown below.


System block diagram