Electronics meetup

Upverter CEO Zak Homuth talks this Wednesday


When: Wednesday May 16th 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King St East, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Electronics Hamilton Meetup

Register: meetup.com/Electronics-Hamilton-Meetup/events/250265610


The Upverter Journey: From Founding to Acquisition

Zak Homuth – Upverter CEO

I started my career as an in-the-trenches Software and Electrical Engineer doing everything from building web-apps through designing telecommunications server hardware. As a result I have a tremendous amount of experience as an engineer, but I don’t do much engineering anymore. When we started Upverter I gradually transitioned into a more executive role responsible for everything from recruiting, operations, management, product design, and strategy, to investor relations. Lately I’m focused on a blend of product, business and marketing strategy, senior management and product design at Altium the company that acquired Upverter.

At Altium I report to the CEO and am working closely with the executive team to recast Upverter and EE Concierge within Altium. We’re focused on a new type of customer since the acquisition and a new type of selling than we were doing before. I’m responsible for making sure those changes propagate throughout Upverter and into our products and services. Similarly the vision for Upverter and Altium has changed now that we are working together and I’m working closely with the CEO to craft that new vision, and the resulting strategic planning that comes as a result.

Before that, I founded Upverter and lead it through multiple funding rounds and expansion, attained profitability and negotiated the acquisition by Altium.

At Upverter I played the role of the classic startup CEO. I founded the company in a student residence based on my experience working as an electrical engineer at Sandvine. I was keeper of the vision and leader of the team. I designed the initial product, raised multiple rounds of funding, and hired the initial team. I lead the company to profitability and ultimately arranged and negotiated an acquisition by Altium an established public company in our market and our largest competitor.

I’ll tell the story of how that all came to pass, why we started Upverter, the good the bad, the ugly. As well as a demo of the Upverter design tool and how you can use it.


KiCad EDA night at electronics meetup tomorrow


When: Wednesday September 27th 2017 at 7:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King St East, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Electronics Meetup

Register: meetup.com/Electronics-Hamilton-Meetup/events/242678442


Have you ever wanted to design an electronic PCB but not known how? Join us for another Hardware night.

For this meetup I thought it’d be interesting to run an EDA (Electronic Design Automation) night. Basically we get together and learn how to design a simple PCB from scratch. We’re going to be using KiCad (as its free and open source) but the basic principles are transferrable to pretty much any EDA software you might use. The circuit we’ll design isn’t overly complicated but is a great start for those who want to learn how to design PCB’s. If you already know how to use EDA software come along and help me explain how! πŸ™‚

I’ll be walking through KiCad on the projector (I’m no expert but I have designed many PCB’s in KiCad). You’re more than welcome to download the latest version of KiCad on your laptop and bring it with you to follow along.

Looking forward to what should be a great night as we return to Co-Motion for our 5th, yes 5th meetup. That’s gone quick!


Electronics Hamilton meetup on Monday


When: Monday May 22nd 2017 at 7:30pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker at 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Electronics Hamilton Meetup

Register: meetup.com/Electronics-Hamilton-Meetup/events/239991827


Hey all, hope you are well?

Can you believe its been about a month since the first meetup? I figured we should get together and talk more hardware!

This time I thought we’d do more of an informal night to get to know people and bring/show projects plus it has the advantage of little organisation πŸ™‚

So this time it’s going to be held on Monday 22nd May at the Pheasant Plucker on Augusta at 7:30PM. I know it’s Victoria Day weekend, so if you can make it please RSVP so we get an idea of numbers.

1/2 price wings on Monday. $6 Cdn, Coors Lt, Stockie, and the Pilsner.

This meetup is going to be reliant on you guys bringing the hardware! So bring your favourite/most recent project or the best piece of hardware you own, that way we can see what everyones been up to. Don’t worry no one has to present – that is unless you want to πŸ™‚

Looking forward to it and see you there!


Interview with Electronics meetup leader Marc Hickling


Check out the interview below with Marc Hickling (@marchickling) who is leading up the new Hamilton Electronics meetup group!

The first Hamilton Electronics meetup will take place at CoMotion on King (115 King Street East, Hamilton) on Wednesday April 19th at 7:00pm – sign-up to attend today!

Side note: Marc is looking for developers who may be interested in working with him on an open source Python project – “PCB is an open source package for semiautomated and manual PCB reverse engineering”.


Tell me about yourself.

I’ve been doing electronics since I was 10 years old when I wanted to electrify a project for a school science fair. My grandad (who was a Radio Engineer during the war) had some spare parts lying around his house which he passed on to me and taught me to solder, taught me ohms law and got me started on my first radio project. Since then I studied electronics at school and graduated university with a Bachelors in Electronic Engineering. Outside of work I love to make projects for in around the house, problem is I have so many that I never seem to get around to finishing them!


Why are you starting the Electronics meetup?

The electronics meetup came about after realizing the serious shortage of people passionate about electronics in the Hamilton + Niagara region. My boss has interviewed hundreds of applicants for jobs and there are so few people that applied who have a love for electronics. Many just see a job as a way to make some money – I see it as a passion and going to work is a pleasure.


Who will be speaking at the first meetup?

Our first speaker at the Electronics Hamilton Meetup will be Pierre Demers who is the Technical Manager for Marsh Instrumentation in Burlington. (The largest 3rd party instrumentation service company in Southern Ontario). He’s going to present on Electronic Reverse Engineering which is a little known about topic. He’ll be bringing some previous work and showing why and how reverse engineering works.



Why do people reverse engineer electronics? How does that work?

Reverse Engineering is the process of disassembling + analyzing a circuit for the purpose of generating documentation and/or re-manufacture as well as determining how it was designed and how it operates. Often the documentation even allows a customer to improve their product to surpass competitors. A big part of the process is knowing when and when it’s not allowed to do this – for instance one of the key attributes for copying/cloning PCB’s is that the product is obsolete and unsupported by the OEM.


What is the state of the electronics industry in Hamilton, and Ontario more broadly speaking?

In Hamilton there are a handful of electronics companies and particularly companies working in industrial/commercial space. To my knowledge the company I work for ENA Electronics is one of the only electronics companies in the city with most of the other electronics companies working in the consumer market. In Ontario there’s obviously the Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge area who are a hot bed for innovation in electronics however with the decline of stocks at Blackberry the once power house of the region is faltering and we need to innovate!



Do you see room for growth? If so, why?

There is plenty of room for growth in the Electronics space in Hamilton, there’s a ever growing software scene but very few electronics companies. The advantage of growth in the area is synergies between companies allowing for shared resources and collaboration.


If someone is “technical” in terms of knowing how to code, are there any good ways you can suggest for them to dive into the hardware and electronics side of technology?

Electronics these days need not be all about discrete components (although knowing basic electronics principles is a huge advantage), but embedded electronics bridges the software hardware gap with firmware development being critical in many electronic products. Aside from the obvious programming of Arduino + Raspberry Pi, a great way to really learn electronics is to get them connected to the real world – adding sensors, timers and output devices allows the interface of software to the physical world.


Do you see any possible collaborations between electronics professionals and others in the technology community – health tech, gaming, etc.?

Absolutely – there are so many possibilities, take health for example, how do you monitor a heartbeat without electronics? Just the software alone is one thing but the complete product is at the intersection of electronics hardware and software. Its often very easy to come up with some electronics for a project but the real skill is when an electronics professional gets involved and turn a hobby project into a proper product with noise suppression and protection, its only then that a project should be turned into a product for market.



What about a young person that’s interested in electronics, how would you recommend they get started?

One of the best ways to get involved in electronics is to join us at the electronics meetup! – shameless plug (https://www.meetup.com/Electronics-Hamilton-Meetup/) not only here will you find experience but you’ll be able to learn with people from the same starting point. Outside of the meetup I’d recommend making some kind of project – theory makes no sense without a project! One of the best circuits I know for starting electronics is the good old 555 timer circuit, it gives a real flavor of how electronics works it’s how I started learning electronics and love that integrated circuit to this day!


What are you hoping to accomplish with the meetup group going forward?’

When I was growing up and even through my degree I struggled with finding people that had a practical view of electronics with a passion for wielding a soldering iron and getting down to the board level. I’m hoping that by starting Electronics Hamilton that we can forge a community of electronic hobbyists in the Hamilton, Niagara and Burlington region with a passion for electronics, from this I hope that networking and collaboration occurs at all levels of the market place, from startups to established companies.