Product design is an exciting career and allows you to develop creative products that come to fruition once approved and produced. However, not all product design projects are as fun and freewheeling as they sound. Some products require essential electronic elements that need to be carefully integrated into the design process. This is where the PCB design plays a major role.
For product designers needing to build out electrical components that meet needs in the tech innovation that encompasses most products today, PCB design is a must. What is the PCB design? PCB design utilizes PCB designing tools for electronic design automation (EDA). This allows designers to produce quality designs that cover all aspects of a product prototype.
How can you ensure you’re on the right track, creating the next-gen electronic products and systems that will be market dominators? Employing key PCB design tips like the following. Let’s take a closer look.
#7 PCB Design Tips
1. Node Accessibility Is Critical
Prior to designing the PCB, also known as the printed circuit board, you’ll need to consider the important areas for troubleshooting the circuit. This means keeping nodes accessible in the product design.
If nodes can’t troubleshoot, issues can arise and the PCB design may need to be redone. For instance, implement test points that are lopped. Think node accessibility first and foremost for your PCB design.
2. Allow Ample Space Between Components
The placement of components in your PCB design is another important element to pay close attention to. Yes, you want to keep electronic components compact to slim the actual product design, but there are other considerations to make.
By keeping ample space between components, you have more room for wiring pathways. This also makes production easier, as soldering components too close together reduces production efficiency.
3. Keep Everything Aligned Appropriately
The alignment or orientation of components in your PCB design is very important. Normally the alignment begins in the top-left corner and moves from there. If alignment is done correctly, mistakes during production can be mitigated, as well as inspection and testing.
If done wrong, the delay in production could be costly. Thinking ahead and being methodical in your design can make a big difference.
4. Make Wiring Directions Clear
Wiring in your PCB design needs to be spot on in order to keep the product production team on track — literally. One way you can help is to implement vertical traces on one side of the design, and horizontal traces on the other.
This can be helpful for cross-wiring and when you have multiple layers in the PCB design, ensuring alternate directions for production clarity.
5. What Are The Manufacturer Requirements?
If you’re designing for a client, they most likely have a manufacturer they prefer to use. This makes it very important to know that the manufacturer’s specific production requirements. Prior to beginning your PCB design, get the manufacturers guidelines and even schedule a call with them if possible.
This also includes the materials used in the manufacturing process. For instance, It may be material between FR-1: paper phenolic mixture and FR-5: glass cloth and epoxy. Think manufacturer requirements and materials to ensure your PCB design is on point from the get-go.
6. Have A Silk Layer
A silk layer is another PCB design tip for designing next-gen electronic products. It may seem standard, but you may have a lot on your mind when designing and skip a few things. The purpose for the silk layer is to ensure proper labeling of the components used.
If you’re using a PCB design software, it may automatically implement a silk layer for you. It’s not a bad idea to add more information, such as the owner, revision number, and what the board is about.
7. Heat Is Vital To Consider
There is nothing worse than having heat degrade a product you design. Heat can hinder circuit performance and also cause serious damage. If you identify the components that have the highest chance for excessive heat early on in your design, you can mitigate damage and circuit performance loss.
This can be essential for getting a new product to market without delays.
There are certainly a number of PCB design tips to employ. If you’re a seasoned designer, you probably know these tips all too well. But it may never hurt to revisit the above tips during your next product design to ensure everything falls perfectly into place.
From sketch to production, there is a lot that goes into the design process. Be sure you are delivering quality, product design results.