PCB stands for “printed circuit board,” and it refers to thin fiberglass boards that are etched with conductive pathways and used in computers. As a matter of fact, PCB’s make possible the digital age that you and I depend on in our modern lives.
Good PCB design is important to every project. That’s because the PCB acts as the link between the physical and the electrical parts of the project. Therefore, PCB designers need to find the best solutions. They need to ensure that each PCB meets all the requirements for the test platforms, test engineering, test manufacturing and test assembling.
The design processes of the PCB have become increasingly complex. Therefore, it’s important for designers to understand how to come up with the best designs to keep the PCB at low temperatures and avoid overheating.
Below are PCB design tips and tricks that designers need to learn about PCB layouts.
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When placing the component parts, make sure to place them on the top side of the board. Also ensure that the snap-to-grid setting is on. Then place all the components in their specific locations, giving extra care to the trace lengths.
The parts that you are placing are switches, connectors, mounting holes for LED’s, heat sinks and anything else that needs mounting to an external location. All the parts that connect to each other should be together. Doing all this well will make it easier to lay the traces.
Arrange all the integrated circuits, or IC’s, in orientations of up and down or left and right. Pin one of the IC should align well with the place for every orientation, which is either on the left side or on the top. Align polarized parts with positive leads that have the same orientation. When doing all this, mark with a square pad all the positive component leads. This saves you time and leaves good spaces between IC’s.
If you have parts that are not in the component library, replace them with individual pads before grouping them together. Further, make sure the measurements of the pin spacing and the pin diameter are correct to avoid any problems. For the measurements, use calipers or a dial.
After placement make a printout copy of the layout. Ensure that there is enough resting space for the parts. They should not come close to each other.
The next step is to lay the ground traces and the power. Your power should be consistent and reliable before working with IC’s. Your ground lines, too, should be strong and solid enough to avoid any mishaps and outages. Therefore, use wide traces to connect to the rails for each supply. Additionally, try to avoid daisy chaining or snaking the power at any one time.
Make signal traces as direct and as short as possible when you’re placing them. Use feed-through holes to move all the signals from layer to layer. The best way to lay this is with the vertical traces on one side and the horizontal traces on the other. Furthermore, do not forget about the spaces between the trace and the nearest pads, which should be a small gap of 0.007″ between items. Importantly, this helps to prevent short circuits.
Finally, make a thorough inspection of your work to make sure everything is as it should be. The most important things to check on are the routing system of every signal and the wiring. With the routing system, make sure there is nothing missing.
Then, ensure that the wiring is correct. Check this by running through your schematics and inspect one wire at a time. Make sure the path of every trace on your PCB layout is the same as the one in your schematic. On confirmation, mark the schematic signal with a highlighter.
Check your PCB bottom and top layouts, ensuring that there are no gaps between items. Check for any missing pathways, called “vias,” that are not automatically inserted. You need to check them by printing the top layer first and then the bottom layer. Then do a visual check on all the sides of the traces.
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