Advanced Circuits, Inc. (ACI)

As experts in the manufacture and assembly of printed circuit boards, we work to make our blog a helpful resource on PCB topics and the industries that we work with, including automotive, consumer electronics, aerospace and many more. Here you'll find insights into PCB design, tech trends, assembly issues, and trending topics in the general news media as they relate to printed circuit board technology.

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How to Improve Your PCB Design

Regardless of what you are making, you want it to work flawlessly. You need your PCB design to be on point. Given the fact that circuit designs today can be complex, this is not always easy. After all, the electronics in use today are far more complicated than they were just a few years ago. Therefore, it’s easy to see why the PCB design needs to be more complex. Of course, this can sometimes make it harder to design what’s needed. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that will improve your design and make it easier.

Use the Right Software

One of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your PCB design is to use quality software for the creation. Of course, some might worry that software will be expensive or difficult to use. While this is certainly a potential problem with some pieces of software, it doesn’t have to be.

Advanced Circuits offers PCB Artist, a robust piece of software that can provide you with the guidance and tools you need for your PCB design regardless of how simple or complex it might be. It offers more than is found with most other pieces of software on the market that provide similar features. One of the best features of the software is the price. It is entirely free, so you will not have to worry about paying anything when you are getting started. Whether you are a hobbyist or working for a company, you will appreciate this benefit.

While the software will have a learning curve, like any piece of software, it tends to be easy to use. Those who have any experience with PCB design should not have a problem getting started with the intuitive software. When you use PCB Artist, you can create up to 28 layers on your PCB. It features Gerber format files, has design rule and check support, and a host of other helpful features.

The software does not take up too much computing power either. You will only need to have a Pentium processor that’s at least 1.8Ghz. You will also need 512MB of RAM and 1.26 GB of storage space on your hard drive. These small requirements should be achievable by just about any computer today. However, it does need to be a Windows computer because MAC and Linux are not supported currently.

The software can help to make the PCB design process faster and easier, but it’s important to realize that this is just a tool. You still need to understand the concepts of good design.

Streamline Your Circuit Design

One of the most important aspects of PCB design is keeping things functional, often through the simplicity of design. You don’t need to jam as many components as possible onto a single board. Instead, you want to be sure that you are creating a circuit that can perform the functions that you need without being too crowded. Think about what you need the circuit to do and design for that. Streamline the board, use good, basic design principles, and build from there.

Beware of trying to do too much on a single board. There is a chance for more to go wrong. There is also the worry that too many components could cause overheating if you don’t consider how it will be cooled.

The software can make circuit design easier and have a good representation of what it will look like and how it will work. You can often see issues that would come into play even before you prototype. Additionally, you can send the design for an engineering review. Advanced Circuits offers a free engineering review. This will give you a better idea of whether your PCB design will work or not.

Always Use a Prototype

Of course, the next step should be to prototype the board. Even if you have checked it virtually and the engineering review looks good, get a prototype. This will help to ensure that it is working properly in the real world. You can see how it fares in the case you have designed. You can see if there are overheating issues, if it doesn’t always trigger properly, etc. The testing will give you a better look at the board and the areas where you might need to make some changes.

In a perfect world, you will find that the prototype works without a problem. If that’s the case, you can move on with manufacturing. However, if there’s an issue, it is better to know now, so you can go back and fix it and then test again before unleashing your PCB design into the world.

Use Advanced Circuits for Your Manufacturing Needs

Advanced Circuits is one of the largest PCB manufacturers in the country. We have decades of experience and can provide you with everything you need from start to finish. Not only do we have the free PCB Artist software you can use for the PCB design and free engineering reviews before you go into manufacturing, but we also have quality manufacturing facilities. We can be the “one-stop-shop” for all of your PCB needs.

As the third-largest manufacturer of PCBs in the United States, we provide a fast turnaround time, so you can get your boards quickly once you place your order. You will be happy to know that there is no minimum order either. This will make it easier for you to get those prototypes you’ll want to use for testing.

Advanced Circuits is not a broker. All of the work is done in-house at our facilities. This includes the manufacturing and assembly of your PCBs. We have a fantastic shipping record, we’ve been around for years (so you can be sure we aren’t going to disappear overnight), and we strive to make the entire process as easy as possible for you. Contact us to learn more and to get a quote. We are looking forward to helping you with all of your PCB design needs.


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