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6 Things to Remember When Designing a Circuit Board

Connected Technology Solutions Require the Best Components

The design process is essential to the proper function of circuit boards. Laying out a circuit on a real-life board is much different than designing it, so it is imperative to consider all factors in the design process. Forgetting to incorporate allowances for placement and function within the design can result in low functioning, unreliable or unusable components which, in turn,leads toconnected technology solutions and other products of the same quality.

Here are six things to remember when designing circuit boards to avoid the common pitfalls and failures that can arise from rushed or faulty design.

 

1. Know Circuit Board Specifications

Preferred circuit board specifications should be on hand before starting the design process. These can be found online or in printed literature from many manufacturers. If these mediums yield no results, you should reach out to the manufacturer and get the exact specifications they prefer for their circuit boards. Some of the specifications to know include:

  • Trace width
  • Number of board layers
  • Trace spacing

 

Design the circuit board with allowances for these specifications to avoid low performance circuit boards and frustrating, time-consuming redesigns.

 

2. Placement of Components

The success or failure of many circuit board designs is determined by the placement of components. Understanding the characteristics and requirements of each component goes a long way toward successful placement. Here are some things to remember when placing components on a circuit board:

  • Components with more pins require more space. Consider this in the design of circuit boards to avoid the common mistake of limiting space for traces. Don’t pack components together too closely.
  • Keep components in the same orientation. There is usually pin numbering to guide this placement, but it is still important to remember.
  • Account for the function and relation to other components for each component placement. Some components cannot be placed close to others. An example would be heat-sensitive capacitors needing to stay separated from heat-generating diodes, resistors and inductors.
  • Test procured components on a true to size paper. When you already have the components, test their fit on a piece of paper that is true to the circuit board size to ensure the fit will be optimal.

 

3. Trace Angles Should Be 45º

Circuit boards have traces running throughout them. Corners and bends can get tricky, so it’s important to protect the tracing in these areas during the design process instead of leaving it to chance at assembly. 90º angles seem like a perfect idea for corners, but they actually can cause other issues. The wider 90º angle can be etched down at the corner in assembly and create a discrepancy in the design. To avoid this issue, use 45º angles.

45º trace angles are easier to weave between pads on the circuit board and don’t compromise design. On top of that, 45º angles are easier to manufacture, so there could be cost savings associated with these angles as well.

 

4. Incorporate a Ground Plane

Including a dedicated ground plane in the circuit board design helps avoid voltage drops and ground connections by giving all traces a reference point for measuring voltage. This is more important in analog circuits, but it is important in all circuits to avoid issues in functionality. The ground plane is usually made out of a large layer of copper or multilayer board. Once there is a ground plane in place, it is easier to connect grounded components to the plane with vias.

 

5. Include Vias in Design for Heat Channeling

Vias give electrical connectivity to circuit boards as well as the capability of removing heat. You can channel heat away from a component in a circuit board by routing vias beneath it. The vias will make sure unwanted heat is filtered away from the component. One thing to remember is to keep the component pins away from vias.

 

6. Leave Adequate Space Between Traces and Mounting Holes

In addition to giving the traces as much width as possible in design, it is important to also allow adequate spacing between traces as well. Inadequate spacing between traces will lead to short circuiting because traces can unintentionally connect to one another.

Additionally, be sure there is sufficient space between mounting holes as well. When adequate spacing is neglected, the risk of shock hazards increases. Leaving enough space around mounting holes protects them from other components and traces in the circuit board.

 

ECS Inc. Timing Solutions and Other Offerings Are Essential to Connected Technology Solutions

Following the tips above will guide engineers and manufacturers to designing the best circuit boards possible, but the quality of the components can’t be accounted for in design. The timing solutions and other components that are offered by ECS. Inc are utilized in various systems and applications. These components include:

 

More On ECS Inc. Electronic Components Online

ECS Inc. has a website that eases the burden of the component search for engineers and manufacturers. Utilize the Search Inventory tool to narrow options by different attributes including mounting type and temperature.

Additionally, use the ECS Inc. website to find a local distributor in your area, fill out a contact form to have someone reach out to you or get in touch with an ECS Inc. sales representative for additional questions that may come up.

About ECS

Founded in 1980, ECS Inc. International has grown to become one of the most recognized and experienced manufacturers of frequency control management products in the world.
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