I work as an electronics engineer and I'm starting to create a new device. This device will be significantly more complex than any project i've undertaken so far and will require close interaction between myself and the other teams/clients.

To better track how elements of the design will work together i want to create a system architecture, showing how power and data is passed through the device. I've started to do this in MS Word but i fear that the limitations of this could cause errors to arise in the design.

Does anyone have any experience with using any other software packages for creating a visual representation of their system architecture?

  • \$\begingroup\$ We're not supposed to recommend products here on Stack Exchange. \$\endgroup\$ – SteveSh Apr 8 at 10:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've used MS word for this sort of thing. As with any software package, if you don't use it right or are careless then you get errors. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Apr 8 at 10:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe a rephrase to "any tips on creating error free & low overhead system architectures using generic software tools?" is appropriate then? \$\endgroup\$ – benp Apr 8 at 10:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ TIP - check and double check and get peer approval of what you present. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Apr 8 at 10:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you understand the principles of UML, and in particular, how the various diagrams are used? I personally don't use any formal UML tools, but I frequently draw component, sequence and state diagrams when starting the design of a system. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Apr 8 at 11:31

My first engineering leader used HUGE pieces of paper for initial system thinking. He insisted all forms of interaction be shown on that one big diagram

If nothing else, go to a grocery store and get/buy a 5' piece of butcher paper.

Don't be afraid to use the other side for Version 2, once the Rev zero diagram gets too messy and evolved and altered.

Humans are powerful visual thinkers. Get the butcher paper.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the input. I've used MS Visio as the digital alternative of this. \$\endgroup\$ – benp Apr 15 at 11:03

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