Frequently Asked Questions...
When the design is completed what do I Own?
With custom designed products the ownership of the circuitry and software design are transferred to the customer upon final payment - the tangible part that we call the Data Package. However, this is not exclusive ownership. You DO NOT own the technology - we must be able to re-use technology when we develop designs for third parties. Our designs provide schematics, parts lists, PCB diagrams, Gerber files and source code in a complete documentation package this is the Data Package. The exception to this rule is a joint-venture project, where the Intellectual Property remains with Comtech Electronics, Inc.
Will Comtech ever compete with me?
Comtech does not manufacture anything. We only on rare occasions even build the prototypes. We are an R&D facility - that's all! Now, our clients may include your competitors - but they will not know that and neither will you.
Is Comtech qualified to do my project?
- We have 45+ years of successful electronics design work.
- Our work is inventive, creative, and up-to-date.
- We have a structured step-thru technique for designing boards.
- We have templates for each step - so the design proceeds more quickly and accurately.
- The documentation gets done as the design is done - and the documentation is good - everything that you need for you and your company to support the completed design is provided.
Pricing, How much will this design cost me?
First, jobs are quoted, not hours, we do not, and will not, work on an hourly basis. If a project consists of several interdependent job steps, the first stage(s) may be quoted and then the remainder of the project is estimated and quoted. We quote a fixed price - this is what you pay - this is what you will get sort of thing. Terms of payment can be varied, but generally speaking they are; 50% with job acceptance which include the accepted specifications, 30% upon your receipt of the first article prototypes, and 20% upon our release and your receipt of the data package.
OK, Comtech gets my business, when can I expect delivery?
A project with a simple embedded microprocessor may take, very roughly, 8-26 weeks from specification to finished prototypes. Complicated firmware may take longer. We have design reviews at critical points, and these reviews can extend completion times - because one of us may suggest modifications to the original specification.
After the design is complete, how is it tested?
An electronic design goes through a intensive debugging stage - this is the main reason for building prototypes - during which time any problems are fixed and second generation changes are detailed. It is rare that we deliver a design which has an undiscovered major bug or problem. Designs can always be made to work. The only situation in which a project might fail to be recoverable is when the design is breaking new ground with untested techniques, newly released IC, or is mainly conceptual - in which case the work is experimental circuit development rather than straight product design.
Is Comtech available to do my project?
Comtech runs projects in parallel. Our availability is not exclusive - we can start work when you are ready.
Confidentiality and Non-disclosure?
We will insist upon signing a confidentiality agreement, contractually limiting our disclosure of information you supply to us. There is a standard Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) located under the Do Files tab - HERE. We prefer fair NDA's that cover documents specifically marked "confidential", and terminate at the end of the project with the option of customer asking for return of the documents. Anti-competitive protection can and should be achieved through copyright, registered design, patent and trademark. Comtech can assist, if required, in design security by using copy resistant micro controllers.
Is Comtech a Sub-contractor?
Much of our work is subcontract for other electronics companies. We design a broad spectrum of products, and the designing of the products is what we do well. Other electronic companies specialize in serving particular niche markets - and that is what they do well. It makes a lot of sense for such a company to subcontract the actual design work to someone with more experience and expertise like Comtech. Also, as a subcontractor, we can represent ourselves on your behalf, as being a part of your company, in your customer relationships.
Why does Comtech require "The Specification"?
The Specification is the customer's instructions to the designer describing the features the new product should have. A specification starts out as group of ideas and a wish list, then gradually gets nailed down to something more formal, explicit and marketable. It is a good idea to have a list of "reasons why" and "how it's done" to explain the specification, but keep these separate from the main document. We have, online, a guide to writing a specification for a new electronic product, to help with specification construction. This is available in the "Do Files" section.