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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The Basics of Circuit Design

At the most basic level, an electronic circuit is a collection of various components that will perform a defined function. The electrical circuit will contain a range of active and passive components including transistors, diodes, capacitors, resistors, etc. The boards themselves are made from thin insulating material with a metallic surface. The metal might be on the top, the bottom, or on both sides. Pathways are etched into the board’s metal to provide paths for the electricity to travel between the various components.

What Are Circuit Boards Used For?

The board can perform a wide range of different tasks depending on its type and the circuit design. Today’s printed circuit boards (PCBs) are smaller and more capable than they have ever been, and they are used in a wide range of different devices. These include computers, televisions, gaming systems, synthesizers, cell phones, tablets, microwave ovens, and most electronic items that you have. Most people take these items for granted and do not think about the circuit design or how it works.

As mentioned, the circuit boards perform different tasks. In a computer, for example, the motherboard is the computer’s heart, but it has other circuit boards that will take care of other functions, such as the video cards, the modem, and the RAM. At the basic level, circuit design is simple, but it gets complicated very quickly.

Companies and individuals that are creating their circuit designs need to make sure that those designs are working correctly before they have them manufactured. Getting the design right is the first step. Fortunately, it does not have to be overly complicated for those who understand circuits thanks to design software.

Making Printed Circuit Board Design Easier

Having the right software will always go a long way in helping to make sure that quality PCBs are being designed. Fortunately, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on software that can help with this. Instead, some companies offer an entirely free and unrestricted piece of PCB design software. This circuit design software often offers features that aren’t found in other CAD software, including paid software that costs thousands of dollars.

The software, called PCB Artist is unlimited, and it provides a wealth of features. Those who use the software will find that it is easy to use and navigate. The software has a library that has more than half a million parts. You can create circuit designs that are up to 28 layers with the software. It features a controlled autorouter, multi-page schematic, native Eagle import, Gerber format files, integrated schematics, design rule check and report, component autoplace, individual colored nets options, design status reports, ratsnest connection optimization, and more.

It also has context-sensitive help files that can be quickly and easily accessed by pressing F1. This can make learning the software easier, so users will not have to worry about a significant learning curve. They can get to the work of circuit design and use the software to create the files that they will need to send out for the manufacturing of the PCB. The goal of this software is to make the circuit design process faster and easier. Users can even find video tutorials, a user’s guide, and tips and tools on the manufacturer’s website. It is easy to learn how to use the software to its full capacity, which will help to cut down on the amount of time users are spending with the circuit design. This allows companies to move through the process faster and ultimately save more money.

Once the Circuit Design is Complete It is Time to Manufacture

After the circuit design is complete, it is still important to make sure it is viable and that there are not any errors. The software can help to reduce the possibility of errors. Users can also upload a circuit design via a .zip file to the software designer’s site. This will ensure that the PCB design does not have any issues that would crop up during the manufacturing process.

Uploading is simple, and the next step will be to receive a graphical report that makes it easy to understand whether there were any issues and where those issues are. Corrections can be made and then users can upload a new set of files to check. Many design issues will be automatically corrected in the files for convenience. The viewer can also provide a detailed quote for the PCB.

Once there is an assurance that everything is working as it should, users can then determine just how many of the PCBs they might need. Depending on the nature of the work, the number can vary greatly. A good design software manufacturer will not require a minimum order. Customers could order just a single PCB for a prototype if they need it, or they could order thousands. It will all depend on specific needs. By using the software to create the circuit design and by running the files through the file viewer, it will ensure the PCBs work the way they are supposed to work.

Choosing a Trusted PCB Manufacturer

Working with professional circuit board manufacturers provides users with a range of other benefits. They bring in a faster turnaround time for the circuit boards, and can even offer expedited turnaround times for those who need the PCBs even faster.

One of the other benefits of using a trusted PCB manufacturer is the reliable, high-quality manufacturing process they offer. These do not function as a broker, but actually have the facilities for the manufacturing of the PCBs. All of the orders will also receive a free engineering file review before it goes to fabrication. This helps to ensure that buyers get usable boards.

Using the circuit design software can help to cut down on the amount of time spent designing. A streamlined manufacturing process is fast and provides businesses with exactly what they need. Anyone interested can download the software and get started, or if they already have a circuit design, you could upload them to the viewer to get started.


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