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Hardware Questions? Ask A Dragon Engineer (Fall 2015)

on November 17, 2015

No one said building a hardware product is easy. Sometimes just one small challenge can have you stumped for days. We're here to help. Throw your questions our way and we'll do our best to get you unstuck. You can submit your questions here or via the comments section below. And if you have additional answers/advice for any of the questions posed, please feel free to submit those as well. 

Q: Is it worth it to try and do BlueTooth (but really any 2.4GHz) matched lines on a two layer FR-4 board? Checking with various online trace impedances calculators and the width is huge - around 115mils! Should I just take the hit and pay for a four layer board, or prototype with the two layer then change design down for the four-layer setup?
A: Based on my experience, I suggest just keep a four layer board for Bluetooth (but really any 2.4GHz) products. It will take a lot of time and money to change the two layer design to a four-layer setup requiring the need to redo things such as EMC/ESD and RF design and testing, FCC certification, etc. We also recommend that you consult an experienced Design Engineer with expertise in wireless design. 
Q: I have a concept for a hardware security product and need help to make it a reality. Is this something that you can work with me on? 
A: We can offer the most expertise and guidance once you've developed a functional prototype. When you're at the concept stage it's best to collaborate with fellow engineers. Meetups are a fantastic way to network and potentially meet a co-founder. Check out and look for hardware gatherings in your area. Accelerators are also another avenue for bringing your idea to physical reality, though most of them do want to see more than one person on the team. Finally, there are options for prototype, design, and engineering firms listed on our resource page  however keep in mind that some of these firms require a financial investment on your part.

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