Designing Printed circuit boards (PCBs) is a high precision task, and needs much expertise, and experience to be successfully accomplished. If you are a novice PCB designer and building a PCB, it is only natural to feel anxious and overwhelmed simply by because of the complexity, and enormity of the task.
To say the least, for beginners PCB designer , the design layout of a printed circuit board might look similar to a Chinese roadmap, complex and intricate. However, you won’t be able to know if you have taken the correct (most direct) route to transmit the signals, or you have lost in the maze of twists, and turns; making the entire route stretchy, long, and inefficient. Well, this is pretty much what you can expect to feel while designing your first printed circuit board. Nonetheless, here we will be sharing few tips, and tricks that can help you learn quickly to design, and come up with an efficient printed circuit board.
- Software Choice Matters
It is a common practice for beginners, and novices to depend on software auto-routers to design their PCB. This is one of the most serious mistakes you can make as a new PCB designer. Well, while these routers are of definite help to test the efficiency checks, and components placement on your board, the problem is relying too heavily on these auto-routers blurs other more efficient ways you can route the circuit. Again, the software choice for PCB design does really matter, however, you don’t need to rely too heavily on these auto-routers. There are various free PCB design software easily available on the internet, and you can check out multiple software before deciding on the one.
- The Trace Width
Trace widths are one of the most critical aspects of any PCB design. You should understand the specs of each manufacturer and its relation to trace widths. Here are few things you should always consider when looking to lay out the copper trace:
- The minimum trace width
- The capacity of the board to handle the number of layers
- Recommended space for traces
Why are these factors important?
To put it simply, these factors determine the entire working of your board. Given you fail to comply with any of these aspects, your entire effort of PCB design could go in vain as PCB will either be considered utterly useless or at very best it will be too slow and inefficient to be considered of any use. Complying with these three tips will ensure that you are on the right path and that you won’t need to redo the entirety of rerouting for your board.
- Calculating the Trace Width;
The last thing you’ll want of your board is to overheat. Overheating is one of the most common reasons for board malfunctions, and you definitely won’t want it for your first board.
The overheating of printed circuit boards are directly related to the trace widths. That’s why you should be very considerate when designing the trace width of your board, make sure to keep them as precise as possible. To put it simply, the more the trace width, the lesser the resistance to the flow of current, and the lesser the resistance, the better performance of your board.
As a novice, you should try to keep the trace width as wide as viable for your board, keeping in line with the manufacturers’ specifications. Again, to help you off get this successfully, you can sue trace width calculator (with experience you’ll be able to do it yourself). However, for now, the best practice is to go with a trace width calculator together with a PCB design software, to get things done the right way. Ideally, the PCB design software will have a trace width calculator, bundled in one single package.
Getting things together:
Ok, you might still be a novice in designing the printed circuit board, but you still may have an area of specialty in electronics. You understand what you really need out of the PCB design for your gadget to work seamlessly, the only thing is to get the PCB design correctly. A right software, with some guidelines, will surely help you get answers to most of your queries as a novice PCB designer.