Printed circuit board

What are some best guidelines for designing a PCB?

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The effectiveness of a circuit and the simplicity of fabrication depend on the PCB design. The layout and routing are the two primary components of board design. These offer the designer a great deal of versatility.

There are some best practices to follow and some design strategies you must use if you want to become a great designer.

Technique #1: Strategic Component Placement

Understanding the significance of component location is one of the first steps on the road to a smart design.

Technique #2: Deciding Ideal Trace Sizes

Copper ounces serve as the benchmark for evaluating trace thickness. When 1 oz. of copper is evenly distributed over a 1 sq. foot area, the trace thickness is 1 oz. of copper. The most common thickness numbers are 1 or 2 ounces, however most manufacturers can offer up to 6 ounces.

Another crucial point to keep in mind for designers working with multi-layer boards is that traces placed on external or outward layers are better ventilated and exposed to the environment for simpler heat radiation. In comparison to traces on the inside layers, they will be cooler.

Technique #3: Efficient Routing

One of the most crucial phases of PCB design is routing. Basically, routing a PCB entails joining signal traces in accordance with the schematic. Typically, it is recommended to utilize small trace lengths and arrange traces as close to directly between components as you can.

Technique #4: Power Plane Setting

Pours on the power plane are a simple alternative. It is a useful technique for ensuring uniform power distribution, lowering impedance and voltage loss, and determining whether there are enough ground return lines.

Technique #5: Ground Plane Setting

Having a common ground plane is a well-known and frequently used design technique. This gives you a constant reference point to measure voltage at.

Technique #6: Avoiding 90 Degree Corners

Even in mechanical design, this is a standard procedure. As places of stress concentration, sharp edges and corners, such as 90 degree corners, should be attempted to be avoided. Similar to how you should attempt to avoid 90 degree corners in PCB design.

It’s better to use 45 degree angles, and angles up to 80-85 degrees on the higher side.

Technique #7: Understanding Thermal Resistance

Overall heat dispersion has a significant impact on performance. To begin with, you can determine which PCB components are generating the most heat. This can be achieved by consulting the Thermal Resistance values in the component datasheets, then following the recommendations for heat dissipation and distribution.

Technique #8: Thermal Relief

The next stage to guaranteeing optimal thermal performance after comprehending the board’s heat signature is thermal relief. This procedure involves attaching a trace or fill to a component pin in order to facilitate soldering. The short length of this connection helps to lessen the impact of electrical resistance.

Technique #9: Auto-Routing and When To Use It

Beginners may be drawn to the auto-routing function because they believe it will relieve them of the laborious work of routing. The auto-router is not a replacement for manual routing, though. It is acceptable to use in specific situations and for specific purposes.

Technique #10: Bypass Capacitor Placement

Bypass capacitors are used to create a filtering mechanism for both AC and DC components. They also aid in lowering undesired AC signals including noise, garbage signals, ripples, and others.

Technique #11: Working With Mixed Signal Circuits

For those of you dealing with mixed signal circuitry, try to keep the digital and analog ground planes distinct to ensure a proper PCB design.

Another thing to keep in mind when working with mixed signal circuits is to isolate analog grounds from interference and noise.

Technique #12: Optimal Silkscreen Utilization

The Silkscreen layer in PCBs is a commonly used, universal layer. Important information can be labeled and displayed using this in a very useful way, such as component labeling, board application, author information, revision number, and other things.

Make sure to clearly mark all test points and functions, and whenever you can, attempt to include part and connector orientation. This is a wise design strategy.

The production process is streamlined throughout fabrication and production, and you may cut back on reworking by using the silkscreen wisely on both sides of the PCB.

You can refer to the following guidelines for annotations: You will need to create and provide additional exposure if your line resolutions are 0.008″ and your font heights are 0.040″. Usually, it is a good idea to have the minimum line resolution at 0.010” and font heights at 0.060”.

Technique #13: Quality Control and Design Verification

Rushing through the last stages of the design process can destroy all of your hard work. And a little bit of extra work at this point can significantly aid in the success of your project fabrication.

By utilizing the DRC and ERC systems, you may start the quality control process.

This will not only help you avoid unanticipated mistakes before manufacturing, but it will also spare you the trouble of revising design elements built upon erroneous components.

We’ve now examined 13 of the best practices for PCB design, which will make you a better designer while also enhancing your method and abilities.

The strategies and guidelines described here will always be helpful to you, while there are more specific advice and recommendations for your unique design jobs.

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