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About ADS Electronics

The business was established in the mid 1970s as a trading company selling difficult to find electronic hardware to the amateur and professional market. Since then there have been a number of developments including the design and construction of a battery sequencing device used by AEA Technology at Harwell to simulate an urban drive cycle of an electric vehicle envisaged by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium. Completion of this project in 1994 resulted in my being appointed to a full-time position at Harwell (then part of the Atomic Energy Authority) to develop lithium-ion battery controls and fuel-gauging electronics in conjunction with Sony's battery division and GS Nippon Denchi.

More recently I have operated as a consultant/contractor to QinetiQ and WebBrick Systems (a home automation company) and as a freelance problem solver involved in automated movement systems, HVAC control and others along the way. Previous to my employment at Harwell, I took a position as Head of Test at Dowty Batteries (part of the Dowty Engineering Group) My early training was as an engineering apprentice at the Dowty Group where I was a test and instrumentation engineer responsible for mechanical test rigs and the electronic monitoring. In the early 1980s I developed a computer control for high-horsepower rotary machinery testing and data gathering.

Philosophy

The KISS philosophy is one I've always used when designing electronics (or anything for that matter). Keep It Simple, Stupid; the philosophy of Kelly Johnson the legendary Lockheed aircraft designer. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complex, therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

While it's never a bad thing to have your designs peer reviewed many corporately designed devices have the hand of too many cooks which creates complexity. The more complex a design is, the more scope there is for error. There is often a thousand ways to do something wrong but only a handful of ways of doing it right, much care is needed in choosing the correct one.

Adding sequentially to an idea and testing all novel inputs to that design is a way of keeping the whole plan knowable at one time.

If you don't need a microcontroller, don't use one just because you can but if it makes things simpler and more easily reproducible then it's justified.

Andy Stephenson
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