PCBs in other words Printed Circuit Boards are the backbones of almost all electronics. They bring the circuits to life. These tiny yet complex boards are primary when it comes to designing and connecting any electric circuits. Whether it is for domestic purposes or industrial purposes, the design and layout of the PCB make all the difference. Are you having trouble in that regard? Are your PCB designs failing frequently and you have no clue why? Worry not! All it takes are a few tips and tricks up your sleeve and your PCBs should be good to go. Want to know what they are? Keep reading and take note of all the tips and tricks mentioned in the article. Also, if you are on the lookout for any upgrades on your current PCB designs or cost-effective assembly, and many other PCB related services make sure to check out Integra sources and you won’t be disappointed.
Now, let’s keep going…
As a PCB designer, most of the time you might have been tempted to use the Autorouter to do the routing. As easy as it seems to use the Autorouter, remember not to rush into using it for your designs. Doing the routing by yourself is always a better option and the Autorouting tool cannot replace your work perfectly. But, once you complete placing the components you can use the Autorouting tool to check the completion. And if it comes anywhere below 85% you need to recheck it and adjust accordingly. The Autorouter feature also helps you identify if any critical components fell through while routing.
One of the most important things about a PCB design is the spacing. The people at the endpoint would most times want you to make space for more components within each square centimetre. The circuit boards of today can also adapt more components in the given space than they used to before. But as a designer equipping such a design without fail could be challenging for you.
While you try to adjust more components within that tiny board, the design gets more complex. You need to make space for the necessary wiring and also figure out a way to reduce the amount of heat caused by all the components. The first thing you need to do in that regard is to give adequate spacing between the traces and components. Remember, if you don’t pay much attention to the spacing you most likely will end up with a compromised board that could fail eventually.
The copper traces on the printed circuit board display electrical resistance and their inherent property. Because of this property of the traces in the PCBs the voltage drops and the power gets dissipated when electrical current flows through the circuit. As a result, heat is generated by the traces. The heat thus generated could damage the functioning of the circuit. In order to reduce the resistance also the heat generated you should focus on the traces’ width. When the trace width is increased the resistance decreases and so will the heat generation. You can calculate the trace width that is suitable for your design using a trace width calculator by entering a few parameters lie trace thickness, estimated current etc.
As tempted as you might get to use a 90-degree angle for your traces in the corners or bends, withhold yourself from doing so as it could backfire right at you. When you use 90-degree angles, the outer corner of that trace is more likely to be etched narrower than the other. That is why stick to a 45-degree angle for your corners. The 45-degree angle is easy to etch and also help you produce great designs
While you choose the drill sizing symbols, choose unique symbols for all the holes that have the same attributes. For example, when you find a few holes that are of the same size and has the same type of plating, you can assign them a unique drill sizing symbol specific to all of them and if you find a few that are of the same hole size but are different in other attributes you can assign them a different symbol.
Before you start with your design, make sure that you have your manufacturer’s specifications ready. Knowing these specifications is very important as without them your PCBs would most likely end up not meeting the set expectations or sometimes could end up non-functional too. So, check in with your manufacturer’s about their specifications if they are not already mentioned on their website. Ask them, and take note of different specifications they need in the PCBs like the trace width, no. of layers etc. This could help you design the PCBs effectively and at the same time save yourself a lot of rerouting work that you might have to do otherwise.
Keep Analog and Noise traces apart
A good PCB is perfectly arranged so that the signals won’t overlap with each other. Placing the Noise traces and Analog traces together could lead to signal doubling and interference. In most cases, this arrangement could lead to short circuits and damage the whole device. Keep the traces with high frequency apart from the Noises traces. By doing this, you can make sure that there would be no signal interference within the circuit.
Going dense could solve a lot of the struggles that come with designing Printed Circuit Boards. They could help you create more space for the traces, at the same time you could reduce the heat using Vias. You should also pay attention to other things like impedance routing, clearance, width and also the size and number of the Vias. The larger vias transfer heat more effectively than the smaller ones and more vias are definitely better than one.
Always make sure to make high-frequency loops as small as you could. Also, smaller loops could keep the noise down and prevent it from coupling into the circuit. The smaller the loops are smaller will be the resistance and inductance. Small loops also help you reduce the amount of high-frequency voltage spikes
Space between mounting holes and traces
Most designers won’t pay much attention to the mounting holes. It is important that adequate space is left between the mounting holes and the rest of the components and the traces. If not, the poor spacing design could lead to shock hazards and circuit failures. While designing itself, you need to make sure that you leave enough space around the mounting holes to prevent contact with other components.
If you follow the tips mentioned above, there is no chance you would have issues with your PCBs. You just need to make a few alterations and additions to the way you were doing things before. That could ensure that your PCB designs are effective and reduce the failures and shock hazards that might result from poor designing.