Senior Electronics Technician

California, United States
30 Oct 2020
End of advertisement period
30 Dec 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary

Caltech Optical Observatories is seeking an Electronics Technician to join its Optical/Infrared Instrumentation Development group. COO provides high-performance astronomical instrumentation for ground-based and space-based observatories around the world.  

We are seeking a candidate with versatile electronics expertise to support new and previously commissioned opto-electro-mechanical instrumentation. Anticipated assignments include implementation and testing of motion control systems, electronics board integration and testing, and development of custom cabling and electronic connectors. This position utilizes broad experience, skills, and knowledge and is centered at the Caltech campus in Pasadena, CA though short-term remote assignments to Palomar Observatory near San Diego, CA or Keck Observatory on Maunakea, HI may be required.

This position is based at the Caltech campus with occasional travel to Observatory sites, industrial suppliers, or technical meetings. 

Job Duties

  • Analyze electronic circuits and schematics to determine functionality
  • Conduct soldering and de-soldering of electronic components
  • Develop accurate schematics of complicated devices in various conditions
  • Search for suitable components and equipment to meet engineering requirements
  • Set up and operate various test equipment to include, but not limited to, power meters, oscilloscopes, signal generators, multi-meters, image capture systems, and environmental controls
  • Test, troubleshoot, and repair complex digital and analog circuits down to the component level utilizing electronics troubleshooting techniques following established quality processes, standards, and safety regulations
  • Read and interpret diagrams, test procedures, technical drawings and publications in order to test boards and components and upon failure be able to troubleshoot and find root cause of the failure in order to process and correct the failure
  • Perform grounding and packaging of low-noise electronics
  • Implement parts cleaning, and clean room and ESD safety protocols
  • Evaluate and optimize imaging sensor performance, support development of detector control electronics, real-time data acquisition systems, and experimental setups
  • Execute make-versus-buy decisions and select off-the-shelf components
  • Aid in the building and troubleshooting of physical prototypes and astronomical instruments
  • Life-cycle support for astronomical telescopes and instruments deployed at Caltech’s observatories
  • Responsible for observing all laws, regulations and other applicable obligations wherever and whenever business is conducted on behalf of Caltech
  • Work independently with general instruction, using knowledge of principles, concepts, processes, tools and methodologies to solve real-world problems
  • Establish and support a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement
  • Other duties as assigned

Basic Qualifications

  • Minimum 6 years hands-on experience performing PCBA assembly, rework, and repair using hand soldering and de-soldering tools, specification, fabrication, and testing of custom cabling and cable harnesses. Or, a combination of 4 years hands-on experience and military training, technical training, and/or college credits in a related field.
  • Knowledge of electronic circuits, cabling, components, IC’s in analog and digital circuits
  • Must be able to read and understand PCB layout images, component datasheets, and maintenance/repair instructions
  • Capability to perform complex assignments and follow work instructions independently and within collaborative team environments
  • Ability to select appropriate methods and materials to perform electronics repair/rework
  • Ability to install/replace both through-hole and surface-mounted components on printed circuit boards, and to perform repair of damaged PCB traces
  • Ability to consistently produce high-quality work with meticulous attention to detail
  • Excellent verbal and written English communication skills
  • Good time management skills with the ability to work independently as well as a team contributor
  • Ability to adapt to a changing work environment and organizational demands
  • Occasional travel and work at high altitudes (up to 14,000 ft.) is required, including both daytime and nighttime schedules
  • Successful pre-employment low-light level vision test, DMV, and background checks
  • Ability to lift 20 lbs.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with on-hand integration of astronomical instrumentation, detector systems, and related electronics
  • Familiarity with a range of cable and panel connector types, and best practices for bulkhead and cable harness assemblies
  • Familiarity with electronic rack types, equipment mounting and cooling schemes, RFI and grounding practices
  • Familiarity with clean room and ESD safety protocols
  • Familiarity with vacuum systems, pumping, leak testing and cryogenic cooling
  • Some experience with printed circuit board layout tools
  • Experience with microcontroller programming, Unix, Python, Matlab, IDL and / or LabView
  • Experience with brushless and brush-type servo and stepper motors and associated controllers
  • Knowledge of Electro-Static Discharge handling training/certification
  • IPC-J-Standard 610 training/certification or NASA 8739 training/certification

Required Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter

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