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34 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 Feature Interview by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 For this month's issue on app notes, I checked in with Clive "Max" Maxfield. The au- thor of Bebop to the Boolean Boogie and count- less technical articles and blog posts, he has been involved with all manner of app notes and datasheets during his long career. Max shares his thoughts on data. As he points out, "Remember that these documents are not writ- ten by an 'infallible creator.'" Andy Shaughnessy: Max, you've been involved with electronics design in a variety of differ- ent segments: ICs, PCBs, programmables, etc. Give us an overview of how you view the role of app notes vs. datasheets for a PCB designer or EE. Clive "Max" Maxfield: First of all, you can have datasheets and app notes for all sorts of things, including subsystems, systems, products, ma- chines, etc. From my perspective, I usually think of these in terms of electronic compo- nents—either discrete components like resis- tors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, or more complex components like integrated circuits, from op-amps all the way up to microcon- trollers and the like. In this context of datasheets vs. app notes, they serve two different purposes. A data- sheet summarizes the characteristics and per- formance of a component. By comparison, an app note briefly describes how a component is to be configured and used for a specific exam- ple application. Shaughnessy: Have you ever written any data- sheets or app notes? Maxfield: I haven't written any datasheets, but I have written a couple of application notes. Shaughnessy: We've heard from some PCB de- signers and EEs who work for companies that demand that they follow app notes, but some well-known design instructors advise design- ers that IC makers' app notes should be as- sumed wrong until proven right. What's your take on this? Maxfield: I think app notes can be really use- ful when you are first starting to work with a With App Notes, Trust But Verify "Max" Maxfield

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