My life as an engineer

By the year 1997, I was going to start my first position as a Design Engineer. How I finally succeeded to become a design engineer is a long story, and one that I will certainly tell later on, but the fact is that several months earlier I was sure that being a design engineer was not meant to happen to me.

Some months later, I was astonished to see that I received not one, but several offers for positions as design engineer. The offers I remember as the most interesting were at ECI Telecom, Motorola Communications, and Motorola Semiconductors.

Motorola’s Moscad-L

I have many times thought what would have happened if I accepted Motorola Semiconductors offer. Would I be an ASIC engineer today? But as fate would have it, I started working at Motorola Communications, and it was a career (and personal) decision that would influence the rest of my life.

Some of my best friends were and still are from Motorola. Which is awesome, considering I worked there for only three years, and that was 20 years ago.

One of the things I liked from my design work at Motorola is that I did a lot of different things. We were in the design team responsible for the Moscad products. Moscad devices are multipurpose industrial controllers (PLC) with a rather unique feature: Radio networking.

Moscad-L eight digital outputs (relay based)

Our group task was to design the cards of the modular controller, including CPU (based on Motorola “Quicc” and later on , “Power Quicc” micro-controllers), digital and analog I/O cards, and power supplies.

I liked a lot being able to cope with so many tasks, power design, analog design, digital design…

It was in those early years that I met Koby G., for me one of the best FAEs. He would visit us, interchange jokes… and teach us a lot about the new devices Linear released those days, but also about principles of analog and power design.

There were two very popular electronic design magazines (printed in paper!) I read those days, Electronic Design and EDN. I commuted from home to work and back over the train, so I had 30 minutes that, in that blessed smartphone-free era, I invested in reading those (paper printed!) magazines almost cover to cover.

Moscad-L CPU board

One of my favorite authors was Bob Pease. I remember I was extremely happy when my manager authorized me to buy a copy of “Troubleshooting Analog Circuits”.

Bob Pease articles would always have his “trade in” style. They would start with a question like, “What’s All This Transimpedance Amplifier Stuff, Anyhow?

I think that they are worth reading today exactly as they were worth reading twenty years ago.

Around 2001 or 2002, I received an urgent call from Koby. He told me that Bob Pease came to Israel as a lecturer in a National Semiconductors one-day seminar. Somehow I missed that seminar… but Koby called to remind me (even when it was a seminar from his competitors!). I drove as fast as I could and I had my chance to hear him in person. After the talks was over I approached him and asked him something about protection of buck power supplies when the feedback loop gets cut (a problem I actually had).

I still treasure his drawing in some place (or so I hope). Sadly I was not able to find it while preparing this blog page.