The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is the core of any electronic product, contributing to its function and performance. The PCB helps connect ICs with other electronic components within a product. For these reasons, immense importance is given the PCB design process. PCB design is a specialized skill that demands knowledge and attention to detail. This post guides you through certain important factors to be considered for Quality PCB design.
Points to Be Considered for Quality PCB Design
The following factors will help you take the right steps to accomplish successful PCB design.
• Requirement Analysis: Requirement analysis is the basics of any PCB design project. In this phase, you need to visualize a PCB that fulfills your requirements. You need to make considerations regarding the features of PCB, its components, and their interconnections with other another circuit, component placement, as well as final dimensions. Also, you need to consider the operating temperature range related concerns.
• Prepare Bill of Materials: Product structure or bill of materials is a list of materials needed for PCB assembly. The list may include raw materials, assemblies, sub-components, intermediate assemblies, etc.
The materials should be chosen depending on the needs of the circuit. This means the maximum operating voltage of components, current levels at each node of the circuit should be considered.
The BOM should include quantity, value (in ohms, farads, etc.), reference designators, PCB footprint of the component, manufacturer part number, etc.
• Schematic Details: A schematic diagram provides the information necessary to ensure a proper PCB operation. This is why its accuracy is of prime importance. While building a schematic diagram, take care to include names of components, pin numbers, ratings, component values, and other vital details.
• Component Placement: The placement of components is determined on the basis of their function, thermal management, as well as electrical noise. The first component placement follows after the interconnect positions are decided. After the initial placement, a placement review should be conducted to analyze performance. Adjustments should be made accordingly to facilitate routing, and improve the performance of the circuit.
• Refining the Component Placement: Always ensure to place the components in the following order:
o Power Circuits
o Sensitive and Precision Circuits
o Critical Circuit Components
The routing considerations should be made on noise susceptibility, power levels, routing capability, and generation. You can involve a lead engineer to review the layout, and adjust the routing accordingly. This review will also help ensure that sensitive components are protected from noise, and solder mask is included between vias, and pins, and the silkscreen is concise. It is always better to make corrections after the review. You can perform a re-review after the adjustments to check if the PCB is meeting your requirements. You can create lists of changes made with each review until the PCB is finalized.
The above-mentioned factors form the basis of quality PCB design, and they will help in improving circuit performance, while ensuring long product life.