Advice on Building from Plans from the Web

There's a lot of plans out there on the web.  In my opinion, 90% of them are rubbish.

Before embarking on a construction project based on information from the web, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Who put the plans?  Is there a contact email of the author?
  2. When where they put up?
  3. Has anyone else built them? Email the author, or if no email is provided, try asking a question on the appropriate newgsroup within, as a last resort I will take a quick look myself.
  4. Is there a full parts list?  Some of the information out there is impossibly vague.
  5. Are the parts still available?  Some of the plans I have seen use parts that began to go obsolete 10 years ago.  Electronics is a fast evolving field.
  6. Are there any expected results?
  7. Is there a layout and a PCB artwork?  Remember for a RF (radio frequency) system, the layout is half the design.  If you haven't got the layout, you've only got half the design.   It's as simple as that.  If you're experienced enough to build without the layout, you're probably experienced enough to build without the schematic.

Let's face it - You're not doing a research project on the quality of the plans available on the web, you're trying to build something that works, so that you can use it.   Why waste your time messing with anything that don't have 100% confidence in?

Web site authors can assist in this task by not adding more to the vast quantity of garbage out there.  They can ask these questions before adding yet another tenth hand schematic onto their site.

Let's have Quality over Quantity

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Last updated 25 August 2003