Pocket Cheat Sheets For Electronics

What started as business cards for [Nerdonic]’s engineering clients unexpectedly expanded into a project in its own right. A CheatKard set consists of seven electronics cheat sheets made in the style of PCB rulers. Sized at 80 mm x 50 mm, they should fit in your business card holder or wallet regardless of the standard in your country. Alternatively, the set can be held together with a small ring in the top corner. The cards are made from fiberglass PCB stock, 0.6 mm thick with gold plating and matte black solder mask. The stackup goes like so:

  • Cover
  • Measurements
  • Schematic Symbols
  • Component Values
  • Footprints, SMD 1
  • Footprints, SMD 2
  • PCB Design
  • Laws and Theory

Even before shipping this electronics set, [Nerdonic] has already been asked to make sets of CheatKards for other fields, such as photography, chemistry, antenna design, mathematics, etc. While these aren’t as comprehensive as the Pocket Ref book from years gone by, we like a good cheat sheet. If you want to get a set, check out [Nerdonic]’s Kickstarter project which was funded within hours of going live, and see the short video clip below the break. He also makes a pledge to plant one tree in the Amazon rainforest for each set he sells.

Do you have any favorite cheat sheets or cheat sheet making techniques? Do you prefer your cheat sheets to be physical or stored on your computer? Share your comments down below.


39 thoughts on “Pocket Cheat Sheets For Electronics

    1. Odd. I have always used electrical engineering as the cover-all term for all types of engineering with electronics (power, rf and communications, embedded systems, signal processing, analog wizardry, etc), and I have seen the term used in this way by others. It’s on the diploma I should receive in a few months. I am curious where the connotation of electrical engineer = power engineer comes from, because I have never seen it.

      1. My diploma also says electrical engineering, and it is *mumble* years old.The specialty is fabrication, though today it might be computer engineering, at some uni’s. I still have part of a set of 150mm wafers from a process qualification I worked on. All wet chemistry and contact masks (visible light) at the time.

        Electrical is still the umbrella term, though it is often Electrical and Electronics in usage, these days, and may include computer, as well. In the jurisdictions I practice in, a PE is Electrical, whether the practice is power, illumination, electrical products, or mission critical microelectronics. PE (control systems) is now a separate license, though PE (software) has been deprecated.

        1. Computer Engineers typically handle logic design and may even be doing their work entirely in code (VHDL). They pass their work off to Electrical Engineers to handle the physical manifestation of their designs. EEs generally handle board layout as all that knowledge of electricity is important in avoiding interference. I studied Computer Engineering and thats what my degree says on it, but it was far more practical to transition to Computer Science work. There just are not nearly as many hardware design jobs out there compared to software work.

    2. In the USA at least, I have never seen it referred to as “electronic engineering”. Someone who does circuit design is an “electrical engineer”. I am an aerospace engineer, and I have a minor in electrical engineering, so I should know what I’m talking about.

      1. I’ve always seen old state schools call it electrical. But newer more modern schools call it electronic. I prefer separate terms as its more accurate. Its really annoying when people ask about house wiring (electric) when you do microcontrollers (electronic)

          1. That’s the main problem. Then you have electronic forums with posts asking about power lines and such. I try to educate people that there is a difference.

          2. Because there isn’t, at least as far as NA schools go. Eugune is getting irate over a distinction I have literally never heard of, from anybody in my field or any University I’ve seen. Sure, maybe he’s an EE who specializes in embedded systems. Good for him. He was taught enough that he should know the basics of how a medium-voltage system like a house works. If people are asking about wiring conventions or municipal codes then sure, he’s got no idea. But that’s not because he’s the wrong kind of engineer, it’s because he doesn’t work in that field. If he can’t talk competently about power lines and transformers it’s because he’s either not actually an accredited EE in NA, or because he didn’t pay attention in his classes.

        1. One, you probably _should_ know something about house wiring. It’s useful, and they did cover it in your classes. Two, I don’t know where you’re getting educated but in North America at least, not a single university is calling it ‘electronic engineering.’ It doesn’t make sense to in any case, because our courses run from high-voltage to ASIC design to software development. EEs are expected to be broadly competent in it all.

        2. While my electrical engineering degree is 31 years old, I specialized in what would be electronics but I can still wire a house (aside from the fact that house wiring is more about code than electricity). I can also do rf. The degree covered all things electrical. The specialty was just that, a somewhat deeper dive into one area.

    3. The School of Electrical Engineering, of one of the world’s highest-ranking engineering schools, offered ONLY a degree in Electrical Engineering (EE) until it changed, in the recent past, to ‘Electrical and Computer Engineering’ (ECE)–as a formal acknowledgement that its graduates were being taught–and had been, for years–those subjects necessary to design the most sophisticated of electronics, along with the most basic courses of electrical engineering–which allowed its graduates to know exactly what they were doing when it came to “…hanging high voltage wires on poles…”.
      Most people, who consider themselves to be “electronics (only) engineers, should wonder what, in their training, is missing (as well as why it is missing), if they do not know the engineering needed to “…hang[…] high voltage wires on poles…”.
      This school’s EEs and ECEs have, for many years, been sought after by most all power companies–as well as the most sophisticated of semiconductor firms–world-wide.

      I don’t know of ANY major- (or minor-, for that matter) engineering school which offers a degree in “ElecTRONICS Engineering, but PLENTY of technical schools–which turn out electronics technicians–which offer a diploma–or certificate–in ElecTRONICS TECHNOLOGY.

      A case of Electrical Engineering Envy here, perhaps?

      {a very big “p.s.”–do not, under any set of circumstances, confuse being a ‘programmer’, or ‘coder’ with being a degreed “Computer Engineer”. An ECE can be one of the other two. Being one of the latter two, only, does NOT–by any stretch of the imagination or amount of wishful thinking–put one in the first category}

      1. My alma mater, Ga Tech, did a similar thing after I graduated. It is now the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). I’m not sure the exact degree name these days, but when I was there as an EE, the formal name of the Bachelors degree was BEE, not BSEE. The school’s director told me one day, the terminology was confusing to people in industry. BEE is the name of a degree often given by two-year technical training schools, and BSEE was the norm for four-year university programs. He said that he answered countless inquiries over the years from employers asking “I’ve got a resume from someone claiming to have a BEE from Ga Tech. What kind of wonky degree is that? Are they trying to trick us?”.

    4. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Pro tip: the internet extends past just the 1 country / language / conventions / set of spelling / way of pronouncing the word “aluminium”. If you understand what you are reading, that’s all you need.

      1. Well if you want to go there, look at the UK. Does your garden actually have a garden in it or is it just a back yard? Or when they go on Holiday, is it a country wide observed holiday or just one person going on vacation. :P

    1. Ren, I got the same vibe from the video, too. But I think that any project team looking to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign will likely get roped into making one of these professional style “pitch” videos. I suggest that you can’t judge the project by its video these days. I try to overlook any cringe-worthy videos and focus on the item and team members themselves.

  1. I don’t know… If you *need* a reference card for foot print sizes or formulas, you don’t know the subject by heart. :P
    I have PCB or just a laminated cardboard with sample components for each of them from vendors already.

    It’s boring to see footprints as it doesn’t tell me how well you can do the actual circuit design. The places I have worked for have a PCB CAD person looking after the routing and layout, deal with the manufacturing side of things.

    I have seen a lot of those business card post here. Let’s say they can also expose your mistakes.

    1. I mean, I didn’t go to school for EE, so no, I sure don’t know the subject by heart! One of these feels like it’d be super handy to me. I don’t do this professionally, I build PCBs for fun personal projects. If this is your field then it’s probably not super useful, no.

    1. yeah! i was trying to think about the ‘cheat sheets’ i actually need, and it’s things like that. and really, i write them all on the drawers. i have an EBC diagram on my NPN and PNP drawers. and my resistor drawers are like

      xx black 0
      xx0 brown 1
      x.xk red 2
      xxk orange 3
      xx0k yellow 4

      and then green blue violet is all in tiny print on one drawer :) so it tells me what resistors are inside, and it’s also the color code table.

      i even labelled the LED drawer so i can remember the polarity of the long lead and the flat side.

      dang now i want to go down there and practice my penmanship to fit a good 555 pinout on the 555 drawer :)

      1. I learned the color code from practice. I had the chart in the ARRL Handbook, and used itas I sorted resistors.

        People have all these mnemonics and other schemes to remember, but they are all round about methods.

        So many of them look “smart” but it ties people to them. It’s like learning Morse code, don’t use a look up table, get used to the sound if each character

  2. ‘Cheat’ is such an ugly word, with nefarious connotations. Surely they could have come up with a better name. A quick search shows ‘crib sheet’, ‘clue card’ and ‘memorandum’ among others as alternatives. Or even just ‘pocket reference cards’.

  3. I love ready references. The idea of little books or cards packed with nothing but useful reference information is just so pleasing to me. However I never use them, I just do a web search if I need the information.

    These look pretty nice, and I know a few people who may get a use out of these cards. I will suggest they take a look.

  4. I have a 20-year-old (or so) mouse pad that has the ASCII code printed on it. I think it was swag from Keil or someone. I refer to it all the time! (Yes, for us embedded systems folks, this is useful. Staring at rows and columns of hex number, it’s helpful to see what’s text and what it say. Sometimes we sneak text in data for debug, etc.)

    1. My KIM-1 in 1979 came with some manuals, but also a programming card. Made it really easy to check things.

      So I printed out the ASCII code, and glued the paper to a piece of cardboard. Byte published a table for offsets for conditional branching on the 6800, and I photocopied that and glued it on another piece of cardboard. All three got a lot of use.

      I have a 6809 programming card, I can’t remember where that came from, and that was even more useful since the CPU was more complicated.

      Some things are worth keeping handy like this, it beats constantly thumbing through a book for the same informatiin.

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