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5 Things to Consider When Designing your PCB

Designing a PCB can be a complex process. If you don’t have everything in place from the get-go, you could run into problems much further down the line. That’s why it’s important you pay close attention to detail from the get go. Here we discuss things to consider when designing your PCB.

The PCB Stack Up

The PCB stack up will determine how many layers are within the PCB, and as the number of layers increase - as does the cost. The stack up will allow the engineers to establish the characteristics of each layer. There is of course a balance between getting the yield and reliability as it should be as well as taking the costinto consideration.

Choosing the Correct Via Type

There are many different via types. You can opt for a single layer, a multi layer or a stacked via. The best designers will try to ensure there aren’t lots of different types of via within the same PCB.  It’s also critical that you make sure that the current capacity of the via you have chosen is enough if you need it to accommodate a high current path. 

Follow the Design Rules

When it comes to the actual design work itself, you need to think about component placement, where the layers will be allocated, the length and time of flight analysis and more.  This will also include the design manufacture rules – where you need to think about whether or not your aspect ratios are as they should be.  There are design tools such as Altium that can help you on your way here.

Traditional, Layers or Hybrid Style?

Before you start the process of verifying power/signal integrity – you need to check high-pin count devices to ensure that all of the signals can be routed.  You need to also bear in mind that this will have a direct affect on the stack-up.  If you choose a micro-via breakout, which is the most likely option – think about how deep you are stacking.  After your stack has been defined, you can then work on the routing.  You can opt for traditional (North, South, East and West), a breakout that is layer based – or else you can go for a mixture of the 2. 

Signal and Power Integrity

When designing a PCB – one of the things that you definitely need to consider is the rise and fall times of the signal, as well as the slew rates of the terminations and drivers.  In order to maximise the performance – there should be signal integrity simulations pre and post layout.  For high performance devices – remember that you may need large currents with low voltages.  Checking in on the performance of the DC and AC power distribution network is critical. 

As designing a PCB can be a complicated process, you need to make sure you have things right every step of the way.  Hopefully our handy tips will have you on the right track and ensure you don’t run into any issues. 

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