S1 Using a systems approach to circuit design

Posted: October 10, 2010 in Systems and Control

Initial knowledge – 0

Current working knowledge – 2

Having never really had to produce a circuit design it is evident that I will have never used a systems approach to do so.

It has however been explained that a systems approach is like looking at a circuits functions in three sections.  The circuits input, process and output.

The input is quite self explanatory, it is like information being put into the circuit.  For example if I want to turn on a light I would need to press a switch, by inputing the command to the circuit and pressing the switch the circuit is able to process the information to turn on the light.

An input can come in many shapes and forms, it could be a simple switch, it could be something such as an LDR ( light dependant resistor) that would need light as an input to create an output happening, or a thermistor which would need heat and so on.

Once an input has occurred there is a process.  The information given by the input must be processed, this could be done by something such as a chip like a PIC or a 555 timer.  These chips will have been programmed so that once the input information has been received the chip can process the information and cause the necessary output.

The output is literally what happens once this information has been processed, almost like what is going out of the circuit.  It could be the noise from a buzzer or the movement of a motor depending on the individual circuit.

As a basic example my ambiance lights systems approach would have an input of the push to make switch, the PIC chip would then process this information causing the output, in this case the LED’s to shine.

It can be a useful approach to break down a circuit into these different areas to look at the general schematics of it in a simpler way.  By analyzing each of these three sections individually and making sure the input, process and output are all evident and working  correctly it may become easier to identify any possible faults within the circuit.  By splitting the components into these 3 sections I find it easier to approach a circuit in a more methodical way by looking at the sections seperately and making sure each of the components in the input, process and output are working correctly.

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