Printed circuit boards are a major part of everyday life. Even though people might not see the bare circuit boards on a regular basis, PCBs are responsible for a substantial amount of what people see, do, and enjoy. There are circuit boards in phones, tablets, computers, televisions, vehicles, and most other electronics. The boards might be simple, or they might be highly complex, but they are pervasive.
Those who work in the field know this and they are well aware of how important circuit boards are, and they are always looking for ways that they can improve on their own designs. Below, you will find some tips that can help with printed circuit board design.
Use PCB Design Software
In the past, designing printed circuit boards was more time-consuming and difficult than it is today. Now, it is possible to find and use design software created for printed circuit board design. The software allows designers to construct the software in a virtual space. They can add and remove components as needed and then test them in the digital space to see whether they would work properly in the real world.
This gives designers the freedom they need to create new and interesting designs while allowing for testing to weed out the errors and problems from the board. The software can be a huge time saver and money saver for companies, and for individuals who might be making their own boards as an amateur or hobbyist.
Best of all in this day and age, you can find great software and you won’t have to spend a dime on it. PCB Artist from Advanced Circuits is fully-featured software that will make it easy for you to create the boards you need and to test them. Once you have created the boards and have the files you need, you can send them out to be manufactured.
Proper Spacing on the Board
Many times, new designers will try to pack as many components onto a PCB as possible. They may think that it will provide them with the best use of space, but that is rarely the case. Often, it simply means there will be more problems down the line when the board is tested. When components are too plentiful or too tightly spaced, it can cause issues with heat and with the wiring and soldering processes. Instead, it makes sense to have a printed circuit board design that is as clean as possible. By orienting similar components in the same direction, it can help with proper routing, for example.
Working with software, as mentioned above, is a good way to let you “see” the design first. You can also make sure it will work with your current spacing before committing to the design.
Consider the Trace Angles
The angle of the traces will be important, too. Many people create 90-degree traces, but this is not an ideal option. In fact, this could cause problems. Many boards designed by professionals will instead have 45-degree traces. This is something that you should strive for with your printed circuit board designs. The 45-degree traces help to relieve overcrowding as discussed above, and it can also help to improve the transfer speeds.
Be Aware of Heating Issues
Heat is often a problem for printed circuit boards. Designs need to account for proper heat dissipation, which can vary depending on the device type. You will want to examine any components that might be considered problematic from a heat perspective. You might also want to add thermal reliefs to the design as a means to help keep it somewhat cooler. Other elements in the device can help to keep the board cool, such as fans. However, you should do what you can on the board to reduce heat issues in the first place.
Choose a Quality Manufacturer Offering Great Materials
You should consider not just the initial printed circuit board design, but also what happens once you have a design that is complete. You need to have a reputable manufacturer create the boards for you. Regardless of whether you are only printing a few of the boards or you need thousands, make sure you choose a manufacturer that can deliver.
You should look for a company that uses high-quality materials and that has been in the field for years. Learn about the company’s reputation, the certifications it has, assembly services, and the overall capabilities.
Having a great design is essential, but if you do not also have a great manufacturer that can deliver on your design, it will not matter. Do not neglect the importance of a great manufacturing company for your printed circuit boards.
Once you believe you have found a good manufacturer, it is a good idea to order a prototype or a small batch. This ensures you are not spending a large amount of money on your first order, and allows you to test out the boards to ensure they are of sufficient quality. You do not want to make the mistake of ordering 10,000 PCBs from a company that you have never worked with or tested before. You need to know what you are getting before you commit.
Get in Touch with Advanced Circuits
Above are just some of the things that you will want to keep in mind when you are creating printed circuit board designs. When you work with Advanced Circuits, you will find that we can make many parts of the process much easier for you. We offer free high-quality PCB software to help with your designs and testing. We run engineering tests on the designs before manufacturing and will make you aware of any issues that might be present. Advanced Circuits offers excellent customer service and ensures that you are getting what you need, when you need it. Our quick turnaround time means you will get your boards quickly. Over the decades we have been in this field, we have strived to provide the best service possible for all of our customers, large and small.