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printed circuit board

Differences Between IC and a PC Board

Before discussing the IC, you must know what PCB is. The PC Board or PCB has electronic components to help a device function. All digital and electronic devices have PCBs, like consumer products, smartphones, computers, laptops, tabs, etc. The purpose of the PCB is to eliminate assembly issues and have less wiring, enhancing automation and production.
The PCB has different types in terms of the number of layers. Like, it is either a single layer, double layer, four or six layers, or a multilayer circuit board. Now, we will discuss the difference between PCB and integrated circuits.

What Is IC Or Integrated Circuit Board?

The integration of chips makes an integrated circuit, like chips used in a CPU and motherboard are ICs or integrated circuits. Initially, IC was called an integrated block. You will see the IC soldered on a printed circuit board. In other words, a printed circuit board carries the integrated circuit.
The purpose of the integrated circuit or IC is to integrate an ordinary circuit into a chip. So, if the IC gets damaged, the chip won’t work. But, if the PCB gets damaged, you can replace the components.

Printed Circuit Board and Its Components

PCB has different types, however, today’s circuit board has specific components, such as:
Layout and Circuit: PCB circuit is a tool for conducting between different components. A copper surface becomes the base and power layer. Besides, it involves routing through drawing.
Dielectric Layer In The Board: it is also known as the substrate that contains insulation that lies between the layers and a circuit.
Through-Hole Via: vias are made for conducting and a through-hole via helps multiple layers conduct. The plug-in of a device is a large through-hole. There is also a non-through-hole that helps in surface mounting and fixes screws while PCB assembly.
Solder Mask: The copper surface is not always tinned. Epoxy resin is used to print the non-tinned area to separate the tinned copper to prevent a short circuit. Solder mask has different colors, including black, green, red blue, etc.
Silkscreen or Marking: Silkscreen is used to make legends or mark names and locations of different components. It helps maintain a PCB after assembly.
Finishing: the copper surface has to be tinned or it would get oxidized. The surface finish involves different processes, such as ENIG, HASL, immersion tin or silver, and OSP. You can use any method according to your needs as each finishing method has some pros and cons.

Features of Advanced PCB

High-Density PCB’s
PCB is becoming advanced due to new technology. You will see the HDI circuit boards in all small gadgets. Both installation and ICs are also improving with time.
More reliable
Now, PCB is more reliable than before because we have better testing tools. Moreover, its manufacturing and the end product are of high quality.
Up To Parameters
Each PCB material has certain mechanical, electrical, physical, and chemical properties. You will get a high-performing PCB if its design is according to the standards and design parameters.
Better PCB Production
PCB production has also increased with time due to better tools, design software, and advanced technology. Various standards ensure a high-quality device, such as automation, standardization, management, etc. You will see better equipment to test your PCB to have a high-quality end product.
PC Board Assembly
Assembly has also improved and helps you to have more production than the previous years. Similarly, you can develop complete equipment by assembling different components.
PCB Maintenance
PCB maintenance is also essential, especially, if the assembly gets issues. You can easily replace the damaged parts, restoring the system. Making lightweight, and mini or smart PCB is also easier than before. You can have a device with high-speed signals by maintaining your circuit board.

Features of Integrated Circuit

The integrated circuits were developed by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce. The integrated circuit is very common in certain industries, such as military, civil electronics, television, communication, radio recorder, computer, etc. It provides the following benefits.

  • Lightweight structure
  • Less lead
  • Small volume
  • Solder joint
  • More reliability
  • Longer lifespan
  • High performance
  • Mass production
  • Low cost

IC is a microelectronic component or device in a PCB. IC technology involves the manufacturing of chips, design technology, processing technology, testing, packaging, design innovation, and mass production.
The integrated circuit is a key part of advanced electronic sand it is the heart of many circuits. You will see at least one chip or IC in every electronic device. IC is a combination of various electronic components, including capacitors, resistors, transistors, etc. These components together make a small chip and are linked to having a common goal. There are different types of ICs, such as

  • Single-circuit logic gates
  • Voltage regulators
  • Open amps
  • Motor controllers
  • 555 timers
  • Microprocessors
  • Microcontrollers
  • FPGAs
  • Many others

There is a complex process of making layers of copper, semiconductor wafers, and several other materials. These materials interconnect to make resistors, transistors, and other parts of a circuit.
Not only IC is too small, but it has very thin copper layers and semiconductor wafers. The layers have very delicate connections. Similarly, The IC die is a very small circuit that is too tiny to connect or solder, so you have to package the die that converts the delicate die into a black chip that you often see.
You can enhance the working life of equipment by using the IC to assemble different electronic tools. It helps you to increase the assembly density many times compared to transistors.
These days, you would see silicon ICs involving semiconductors. So, IC is a device that integrates capacitors, resistors, semiconductors, and other elements that make a circuit perform certain tasks. The device connects wires between these components on the silicon wafer through oxidation, diffusion, aluminum evaporation, epitaxy, and photolithography, and then it is welded in a casing or shell.

Differences Between IC and a PCBoard
Differences Between IC and a PCBoard

What Is IC Package?

IC package helps convert a die into a device to have a connection. Die’s outer connection has a small gold wire to a pad on the package that helps to connect it. The pad or pin is silver and it is an extruded terminal on the IC that continues to connect to a circuit’s outer parts. There are different types of IC packages having different dimensions, installation methods, and a number of pins.
Understanding Pin Numbering and Polarity Marking
You should know that every IC is polarized and each pin is different in its function and location. So, the package must show each pin’s nature and function. Mostly the ICs have DOT or Notch to differentiate the first pin. Like, sometimes only one pin is the first or sometimes both are.
Package Mounting
The mounting of a package on a PCB also varies, it can be SMT or surface mount, SMD, or a through-hole mounting. The through-hole package is often large and easy to manage, and it is created to get stuck through a board’s one side and soldering the other side.
The surface mount package has different sizes, small or minuscule. These packages are created to be soldered to the PCB surface and sit on one side. The SMD package has pins either perpendicular to the chip or extruded out the side, or set in a matrix on a chip’s lower part. Such ICs are hard to assemble with hands and need special tools for this purpose.
Dual In-Line Package or DIP
DIP is an ordinary through-hole IC package having two parallel lines of pins that extend perpendicularly from a black, and rectangular plastic casing.
SMT, SMD, or Surface Mount Package
There are many types of SMT packages and in the case of ICs, you must have a custom PCB having compatible copper patterns to be soldered. You need special automated tools to solder the SMD package.
SOP or Small Outline Package
The SOIC package is the SMT cousin of the DIP as this is what you see when you bend all the pins outward on a DIP, reducing the size. The SOP package is very easy to solder with hands. The spacing between the pins should be 1.27mm or 0.05”.
The shrink small-outline package or SSOP is a small type of SOIC package. Likewise, there are TSOP or thin-small outline packages and TSSOP or thin-shrink small-outline packages.
It is easy to understand the difference between IC and PCB if you know all their features as described above.

Final Thoughts

The integrated circuit is a key part of advanced electronics and it is the heart of many circuits. You will see at least one chip or IC in every electronic device. IC is a combination of various electronic components, including capacitors, resistors, transistors, etc.
The purpose of the integrated circuit or IC is to integrate an ordinary circuit into a chip. So, if the IC gets damaged, the chip won’t work. But, if the PCB gets damaged, you can replace the components. However, PCB and IC work together to help an electronic device function.
Would like to know more about the ICs, PCBs or pcb assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

PCB Design

Understanding the PCB Design for Half Adder

Multiple circuits’ combination involves various logic gates to create a multiplexer, encoder, de-multiplexer, and decoder. Such circuits have certain qualities, such as the circuit’s output more depends on the levels which are present at the input terminal.
Such a circuit lacks memory, and the previous input can’t influence the current input. The combined circuits consist of inputs and outputs.
A half adder is an electronic circuit that adds two binary numbers. So, two single binary numbers act as adders in this case. It can return the carry and the output, and the representation in practice involves the XOR and AND logic gates. There are two inputs in a half adder circuit, including A and B, generating the Sum and Carry. So, the number of outputs is also two in this case, like S and C.

Types of Combinational Circuits

  • Half adder
  • Full adder
  • Encoder
  • Subtractor
  • Decoder
  • Multiplexer
  • De-multiplexer

Understanding The Half Adder

Half adder is a digital circuit in PCB that provides an addition to binary numbers. In a half adder, a number’s weight is based on the binary digits’ position. The binary numbers are only from 0 to 1 of which 1 acts as the largest number and 0 as a smaller digit.
The two inputs of the half adder generate two outputs, so it is the simplest electronic circuit in the PCB. The inputs A and B are the bits where addition is required, whereas the Sum and Carry are the outputs abbreviated as S and C.

Half Adder Explained

The half adder circuit has two gates, including XOR and AND, and both have the same inputs. However, each gate generates the output, like XOR generates the Sum and AND generates Carry.

Half Adder Facts

According to engineers’ calculations if both ‘A and B’ inputs are 0, then both outputs like S and C would be 0.
However, if any of the input is 1, then the S or sum will be 1, but the C or carry will be 0.
However, if both A and B inputs are 1, then the S or sum will be 0, and the C or carry will be 1.
The half adder in a PCB performs additions according to the inputs applied.

2-Bit Half Adder

You can have the following combinations, such as





In this equation, 1+1=10, but it should be 2-bit output if rewritten, such as





In this case, the normal output is the Sum, whereas you should consider Carry as a carry-out. It is easy to implement a 1-bit adder through an XOR gate.
If you want to add two 8-bit, you can do it through the full adder because the half adder is suitable for the addition of one binary digit.
For two-binary digits, you will have to reduce the truth table. But, for a three-binary digit adder, the process of addition through a half adder should be done twice. Likewise, a four-digit adder involves another repetition of the half adder addition.
The entire process shows that it is easy to implement, but it takes lots of time.

Half-Adder IC

You can implement the half adder by using the high-speed CMOS digital and logic-based Printed Circuit Board.

Understanding Equation

It is easy to identify the equation of the half adder PCBs through two concepts, such as the Sum of Products, SOP, and the Products of sum, POS. The Boolean system of such PCBs helps find the relations between the inputs applied and the generated outputs.
Designers draw the K maps to find the equation and the maps are based on the facts. The k map has two equations, as it has two logic gates.

The K map for the Carry brings the below facts.
Whereas the K map for the Sum or XOR brings
S= A⊕ B

Applications of A Half-Adder PCB

The basic half adder has several applications, such:

  • It offers additions on the binary bits, and the logic unit and arithmetic lying in the computer need a half-adder circuit.
  • The half adder circuits when combined can produce full-adder circuits.
  • Such logic of half-adder circuits helps in designing calculators. So, the PCB in a calculator prefers a half-adder circuit.
  • The half-adder circuit also helps calculate tables and addresses.
  • Other than additions, the half-adder circuits can also handle different digital circuits’ applications. So, you can consider it a vital part of digital electronics.

Implementing The Half Adder Through An NOR Gate: NOR is a universal gate that helps implement a half adder.

Implementing The Half Adder Through NAND Gate

The NAND is also a universal gate that shows that you can design any type of PC Board through NAND gates. In this type, the carry output is produced through one NAND gate’s output being applied to the input which is another NAND gate. The second NAND gate is AND-gate generated output.

The Sum’s output equation can be produced through the output of the initial NAND, but with A and B inputs. In the end, the outputs generated by the NAND gates are again tried on the gate, producing the Sum’s output.
Hence, the standard adder in a digital PCB is easy to design through different logic gates. However, the addition of multiple bits is hard and it becomes a half-adder’s limitation.

Understanding A Full Adder PCB

The full-adder circuit includes three inputs, such as A, B, and C which add three numbers for input, generating the Carry and Sum. Whereas the number of the outputs is two. The main reason for half and full adders is the addition.
If Carry is produced through a previous addition, you can add it to another, unlike a half adder.

Difference Between A Half And Full Adder

A full adder involves two AND gates, two OR, and two EX-OR gates. Full adder is applicable in digital processors, and additions of several bits.
You have to combine two logic gates for PCB design with a half adder. But, a full adder consists of three gates.
Half adder is required in the electronic devices to calculate additions. But, the full adder is applied to the digital processors to add a long bit.
You can have a high output in full adders. Moreover, they involve a high speed and are very powerful in supplying voltage.
Full adder is also suitable for GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit.
How Are Half Adder And Full Adder Similar?
Half adder and full adder have one thing in common and that is the addition, as both are combinational circuits and don’t need a memory, like sequential circuits.


What Is An Adder In PCB?

The digital circuits have different benefits, and if their main focus is to provide an additional, it is called Adder. It has two types, including the half adder and the full adder, depending on its inputs and output. However, the output is called Sum and Carry.
Adder is used in different kinds of processors other than just computers. They are constructed for several numerical elements, such as binary code decimal or excess-3.

Is There Any Limitation Of A Half Adder?

Yes, the half adder has some limitations. Like, it cannot add the carry bit produced from the previous or old bit. So, the half adders can’t perform additions in the case of multiple bits.

What Is A Full Adder In PCB?

A full adder includes three inputs, such as A, B, and C which add three numbers for input, generating the Carry and Sum. Whereas the number of the outputs is two.

Where To Use A Half-Adder Circuit?

PCB with a half adder is used in calculators and digital devices. It has a simple design and you can convert it to a half subtractor.

How Many Types Of Combinational Circuits Are There?

The types of combinational circuits include the half adder, full adder, encoder, subtractor, decoder, multiplexer, and de-multiplexer.

What Are The Uses Of A Half Adder?

A half adder offers additions on the binary bits, and the logic unit and arithmetic lying in the computer need a half-adder circuit. Moreover, half-adder circuits when combined can produce full-adder circuits. The logic in designing calculators. So, the PCB in a calculator prefers a half-adder circuit. The half-adder circuits can also handle different digital circuits’ applications.

Wrap Up

A half adder is an electronic circuit that adds two binary numbers. So, two single binary numbers act as adders in this case. It can return the carry and the output, and the representation in practice involves the XOR and AND logic gates. There are two inputs in a half adder circuit, including A and B, generating the Sum and Carry. So, the number of outputs is also two in this case, like S and C.
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Stencils for SMT Assembly

Stencils for SMT Assembly

A stencil mask is used in many manufacturing processes to make PCBs. This includes SMT stencils which are most commonly used in the process of making printed circuit boards. The use of these SMT assembly varies based on the size and complexity of the board that they will be used on and the type of assembly machine that will be using them.
For any SMT stencil application, solder paste should be used for paste dispensing. Advantages of using a stencil method are high yield rate, high accuracy, and repeatability, low labor cost, and good surface finish. The main disadvantage is that it is not suitable for mass production or high-mix low-volume assembly.

SMT Stencil Types

There are two types of stencils, including manual and automatic. Manual stencils are available in many materials, such as stainless steel, plastic, etc., while the automatic ones are made from silicon rubber material which has been pre-impregnated with the conductive paste by screen printing methods. Both manual and automatic stencils require cleaning after each use.

Cleaning Process

The cleaning of stencils can be either by hand washing with solvents or ultrasonic cleaning bath. If an ultrasonic cleaner is used, then the dry time must be taken into consideration before reusing a stencil again to avoid a short circuit caused by excess moisture on metalized pads.

When an ultrasonic cleaner is not available, the cleaning process should take place immediately after soldering to prevent a short circuit due to moisture trapped under soldered components. It is also important to ensure proper drying of a Printed Circuit Board before applying the stencil. This will help reduce contamination during the next round of the soldering process.

How To Choose The Right SMT Stencils For Your Project?

You have to consider many factors when choosing an SMT stencil, including material, thickness, complexity, size, durability, and cost. It’s important to do your research before ordering a stencil from a vendor.

Stencil Application In PCB Assembly Method

The solder paste should be applied to both sides of a printed circuit board with a stencil. After applying solder paste, components are placed on top of it. Soldering is done by passing an electric current through it. This will melt solder paste, allowing it to flow between pads on PCB and component leads. This process is known as reflow soldering.
There are two types of reflow soldering, including hot air reflow soldering, and infrared reflow soldering. The hot air reflow soldering uses heated air to heat a PCB and components, while infrared reflow soldering uses IR lamps or IR guns to heat a PCB and components.
Both methods can be used for stencil applications. However, the hot air reflow soldering can only be used if there is no need to change the position of components after they have been placed on PCB. If there is a need to change the position of components after they have been placed on a PCB, then infrared reflow soldering must be used instead.

Stencils for SMT Assembly
Stencils for SMT Assembly

What Types of Designs Work with SMT Stencils?

While most customers using stencil printers are familiar with traditional SMT stencils, it’s important to know that there are other types of SMT stencil designs. While each is suitable for certain circuit board and component types, not all of them work with on-demand printing, so there are other factors to consider.
Another consideration when choosing an SMT stencil printer is whether or not you plan to print a single part or multiple parts at once. Most on-demand printers allow users to print one part at a time, but if you need more than one per run, it’s important to find a machine that can handle high volume runs, as well as quick turnaround times. If speed is your top priority, look for a system that offers a fast setup and take-down times so you can get back to production quickly.
Finally, be sure to choose a printer that offers interchangeable nozzles so you have access to different tip sizes without having to buy new machines. For example, if you want to use larger components like QFP packages or BGA chips, you might want a larger nozzle size.
Similarly, smaller components will likely require a smaller nozzle size. This allows you to switch between jobs quickly and easily instead of waiting for replacement parts to arrive. Of course, you should also make sure that your printer supports all of these features before purchasing.

How to Avoid Overruns on a PCBA?

Overruns occur when you place too many components on a single layer of your PC BOARD. This problem can be easily avoided by using stencil masks to help guide where your components should go. While it’s possible to manually transfer the component placement onto a new layer, it’s much easier and more efficient to use stencil masks. These plastic sheets are placed over each hole and etched with a laser, creating an accurate pattern that allows for easy placement of components onto layers below. This process ensures that all your components are placed correctly, which will result in fewer problems once you begin assembling your PCBA.
When there is not enough space between components, they may short out or interfere with one another. Both scenarios will negatively impact performance and may even damage some parts entirely. To avoid these issues, make sure you always use stencil masks to ensure proper spacing.
Additionally, check any design files you received from your manufacturer before placing components; sometimes oversights occur during translation. If you find errors while working with stencil masks, don’t hesitate to reach out to a service provider who can offer additional assistance if needed.

What Are Some Common Mistakes Made When Using SMT Stencils?

A stencil is an important part of manufacturing printed circuit boards, and you should choose it with care. Here, we will discuss some common mistakes when using SMT stencils so you can avoid them on your next project.

Not Knowing How Your Stencil Is Manufactured: There are three ways that stencils are made, such as laser-cut, die-cut, and silkscreen. The first two are much more expensive than silk screening but they produce higher-quality results. Silk screening has been around for decades and allows people without special equipment to create professional-looking stencils that work well for mass production. However, they don’t last as long as other stencils.

Not Checking Your Board for Burrs before Using a Stencil: A burr is a small piece of metal leftover from cutting your board with a laser cutter or CNC machine. It can easily ruin your stencil and make it unusable. You should always check for burrs before using a stencil, and make sure you get rid of them by filing them down with an emery board or some other method if they are present.

Not Pressing the Stencil Firmly against PCB: If you don’t press firmly enough against your board when applying solder paste, there will be air pockets where components won’t be soldered properly. This may not seem like a big deal at a first glance, but it can cause issues later on that could cost you time and money. You should always make sure to press firmly against your stencil before starting to apply solder paste so you get high-quality results every time.

Using a Stencil That Is Too Small for Your Project: When using a stencil for SMT placement, it is important to choose one that is large enough for all of your components. If you try to use a stencil that is too small, you will end up with extra solder paste on your board and possibly even miss-placed components. You should always make sure you are using a stencil that has plenty of room for all of your parts so you don’t waste time or money trying to fix mistakes later on.

Not Cleaning the Board after Use: After you have finished soldering, you should clean off any excess solder paste from your board. If left on there too long, it can cause oxidation and other issues which could ruin both your board and stencil. You should always clean off your board after using a stencil to make sure you don’t run into problems later on.

Using A Stencil That Is Too Old: While they may seem like they last forever, SMT stencils do wear out over time. You should always make sure to replace them when they start showing signs of wear and tear. Signs that your stencil is worn out include warped edges or holes that are too large for your components. If you see these kinds of problems, it’s best to get a new one before continuing with your project so you don’t end up wasting money or having issues later on.

Will My SMT Stencil Last Forever?

No matter which type of stencil you purchase, it won’t last forever. Eventually, all stencils will degrade and lose their effectiveness.

What Happens when an SMT Stencil Gets Damaged?

Damaged stencils pose a serious risk because they could cause solder paste to leak through and contaminate nearby components. This can result in costly repair work and even downtime for your production line.

How Do I Test My SMT Stencil to See If It’s Working Properly?

To test your stencil, you can use a device called a stencil tester. You can also get professional help in this case.
Would like to know more about SMT Stencils in PCB or PC Board assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices after Auto Routing

Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices after Auto Routing

In electronic design, PCB routing is the positioning of conductive pathways on a printed circuit board before final soldering and interconnection. The purpose of PCB routing is to have an arrangement where signal traces connect electrically to components and other signal traces while avoiding the signal crosstalk and maintaining short electrical paths between the components.
You can have a manual PCB through computer-aided design software or the use of specialized routing hardware, such as manually controlled routers or auto-routers.

How To Reset Your Board After Auto Routing

If you’ve used an auto-router, but you’re not happy with its results, you can fix it in different ways. Moreover, if you know what a DRC is, you can use it to override certain errors that auto-router made.
DRC means the Design Rule Check which you can perform by running an ERC or Error Report Check. The ERC will report all of your errors on your design file on a text file. It will then tell you how many errors are found in each layer.
You can then go into each layer and manually change any error that was reported by using the P-CAD’s drag function to move components around until they fit perfectly within their pads or tracks. This is also known as drag fitting.
When everything fits perfectly, save your design as a new version so that you don’t accidentally erase anything important. Once saved, run another DRC and see if it finds anything else wrong with your board layout. If not, continue with another step to check for shorts between traces/pads/vias/traces, etc.
After fixing these issues, perform another DRC again. Now that everything looks good, export your Gerber files. Make sure you select the top copper layer only and then hit OK. Your Gerber files should now be ready to send off for PC Board Fabrication.

How To Manage Multiple Copies Of The Same Net

In printed circuit boards, nets are electrical connections between different parts of a design. For example, if you have an LED that is connected to the ground and another net that connects to a microcontroller through various resistors, there will be two nets connecting these two components.
You need to route one copy of each net in your board file in order for it to be used in your design. Having too many copies can make it difficult to update or change an element of your circuit board design.
In case you have several copies of a net, they will all be shown in different colors. But, you should always try to join them together instead of having multiple copies. The PCB editor provides a Merge Nets option which can do that for you. To use it, just click on it in one of your nets and select another net for merging. You can do that with as many nets as needed. When finished, press OK and then Save Board to save your changes. You can easily learn it through various video tutorials available on the internet.

How to Manage Tight Spaces in PC BOARD Routing

The key to successfully routing a PCB with tight spaces is in visualizing what you’re doing. If you can see it, you can do it. Once you have a clear picture of your goal, there are several techniques to deal with PCB obstacles that make it possible to route those hard-to-reach traces. Here are some tips on managing tight spaces.

Place your components as close together as possible: This will leave plenty of room for routing at either end of each component lead.

Put components with shorter leads toward one side: This allows more space for routing on other sides, where longer leads might overlap.

Use right-angle headers instead of straight headers when possible: They’re easier to route around obstacles because they have a narrower footprint. If you can’t use the right-angle headers, place them closer to an edge than a corner.

Use large-pad ICs instead of small-pad ones when possible: Large pads make it easier to route around them without accidentally overlapping their neighbors.
Put components with longer leads toward one side: This allows more space for routing on other sides, where shorter leads might overlap.
Place through-hole components near an edge: This leaves plenty of room for routing on other sides, where smaller holes might overlap. It also makes it easier to access component pins from both sides.
Route clockwise around obstacles when possible: Clockwise routing tends to be smoother than the counterclockwise routing because it keeps your drill bit moving forward rather than backward.

Tips On Hard-To-Route Pins, Vias, Signals, Planes, And More

One of the biggest advantages of auto-routing tools is that they save you a ton of time by automatically planning out your board’s signal paths. Though these tools are very convenient to use, there are certain types of signal paths that can be very difficult for them to handle.
Here’s a quick rundown on some common hard-to-route signal paths and what to do about them, so you can make sure your PCB design doesn’t have any issues during production.
Multi-layer boards allow you to create more complex circuit layouts than would otherwise be possible with a single-layer PCB. But, when it comes down to it, most manufacturers prefer single-layer boards because they don’t cost much more and will typically get you faster turnaround times than multi-layer boards.
If you’re trying to decide between single-layer and multi-layer, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Multi-layer boards require additional fabrication steps. Though multi-layer boards do indeed allow for more routing options than their single-layer counterparts, they also require additional fabrication steps which increase the manufacturing costs. This means that unless you need those extra layers, it’s probably best to stick with a single-layer board.
The single-layer printed circuit boards can fit more components. This may seem like an obvious point, but when designing your layout, remember that multi-layer boards have smaller component pads and traces than their single-layer counterparts. Each layer adds another set of traces and pads. So, if you’re looking to fit more components onto your board, you should consider sticking with a single-layer PCB.
In other words, both multi-layer and single-layer PCBs have their pros and cons. So, if you aren’t sure whether or not you should use one over another, or if you simply want to play it safe, go ahead and choose a single layer board instead.

Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices after Auto Routing
Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices after Auto Routing

Avoid Over-Relying On Auto-Routing

Though auto-routing is a great help, you cannot over-rely on it. Besides, you have to select the right software for this purpose. There are lots of free software available on the internet which might or might not work well in this case, so choose carefully. You should have practice to route traces with any software that we will discuss further. Besides, there are different parameters of auto-routing that should be precise, however, they vary from project to project or between different modules on a single printed circuit board.

Top 5 Tips for Manually Routing A Circuit Board

There are different things to consider while manual routing on PCB, such as:
1. Keep your route sizes as consistent as possible: Having a fixed grid is highly beneficial when it comes to routing. You should lay out your design in a way that allows you to connect pin-to-pin with no more than 5 percent variation from expected routes. It ensures an optimal layout before starting any manual routing work.
2. Use proper start and endpoint selection: Starting a route at a pad or component lead not only wastes time but also affects a board’s signal integrity. To avoid these issues, always use endpoints or pins for start/endpoints whenever possible.
3. Avoid using vias for signal layers: Vias are used for connecting two different copper layers on a PCB, not for connecting two pads on one layer. If you need to connect two pins on one layer, consider using micro-vias instead of traditional vias.
4. Don’t overlap traces: Overlapping traces can cause different kinds of problems, such as ground loops and impedance mismatches. So, make sure you leave enough room between each trace for easy soldering and troubleshooting later on.
5. Focus on long-term flexibility: Once you have routed your board, think about how you might want to change it down the road. For example, will you ever want to add another connector? How about changing around some components? You may find that adding the solder mask artwork into your design software now will prevent you from lots of headaches later on.
Your ability to change the designs without having to reroute everything from scratch makes a huge difference in future productivity and costs. The best way to learn new skills is by doing new things, so don’t be afraid to take chances and be innovative.
You can develop the best PCB by focusing on different techniques and design parameters for which you can also read our other posts.
Would like to know more about PCB routing practices after autorouting or PC Board assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

5 PCB Design Elements for Digital Transformation

5 PCB Design Elements for Digital Transformation

Digital transformation means many things to many people, but regardless of who you are or what you do, it’s important to have an understanding of the overall impact it has had on PCB design and manufacturing. In the past five years, our industry has seen the emergence of an entirely new manufacturing process that leverages advanced semiconductor technology and equipment to produce end products in remarkably faster and more efficient ways than ever before.
PCB design goes far beyond simply ensuring that the PCB has all of the right elements on it, it’s an extremely critical factor in whether or not the final product will succeed or fail in the marketplace. This article will discuss five of the most important features that you should always include in your Printed Circuit design to increase its chances of succeeding in the market.

1) Embedded Systems

The biggest issue with embedded systems is that since we’re using digital devices for sensing and control, we need to worry about electromagnetic interference or EMI from other devices. This requires not only shielding and grounding but also capacitors in series with any power or signal lines that may have high switching currents. In addition, it can require filtering on any data line to prevent noise issues.

In some cases, it might even require active components such as an EMI filter or optoisolator between two circuits that shouldn’t ever share a common ground potential. Though there are lots of things to consider when designing a new system, four key elements are essential when designing your next embedded system, such as

EMI Shielding and Grounding: since you are using digital components on your Printed Circuit Board, there is a risk of electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can interfere with signals and cause incorrect readings or even damage the sensitive components. To prevent these issues, it’s important to use shielding whenever possible and ground all your devices separately from one another.

Power Distribution: Since many devices will be drawing power from a single source, it’s important to make sure everything has its dedicated current path so nothing gets overloaded or damaged due to shared current paths between devices on your circuit board.

High-Speed Signals: If you plan to move data over any high-speed interfaces, then special care must be taken to design them properly. In addition to ensuring good grounding practices are used for optimal signal integrity, special care must also be taken with PCB trace widths, as well as keeping impedance levels low through proper trace length and material selection.

Sensors & Input Devices: With analog systems, sensors were often free since they could usually tap directly off of existing power lines. But, now that we’re dealing with digital systems, many sensors require either specialized voltage regulators or their separate supply rails altogether. Not only do they require their supply rail, but sometimes they might even require additional processing before being able to generate useful information for us.

2) Low-Power & High-Performance Computing

The more you can do with a limited amount of power, space, and money, the more valuable your product is to users. FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) are tools that let engineers reprogram individual chips in order to handle specific computing tasks. The result? Microcontrollers or CPUs that are faster and can process greater amounts of data than they would be able to otherwise.
If there’s one thing you know about digital transformation, it’s that speed is everything. If a chip takes too long to compute, then what’s being computed isn’t worth much anymore. By making microcontrollers perform like high-performance computers, FPGAs help drive down costs while also increasing the value for the end-users.
In addition to general processor performance enhancements, many people look at DSPs as a means of lowering power consumption in their products. DSPs excel at using less energy by processing the audio signals or video images through filters designed to cut out unnecessary information from signal processing circuits. They allow device manufacturers to keep devices running longer without having to worry about recharging them—and when these devices need charging, it takes less time because DSPs can run on lower voltages than processors traditionally used for signal processing applications.

5 PCB Design Elements for Digital Transformation
5 PCB Design Elements for Digital Transformation
3) Power Management

The management of power in electronics is very important, especially for mobile devices. Engineers now have to consider energy usage and battery capacity when designing PCBs for new devices. Consumers want smartphones that last all day, or they will move on to a different company.
Reducing power consumption can make a product more attractive to consumers. It’s important to choose high-quality power supplies because they determine how much current your components can draw from your system’s batteries. If you choose low-quality power supplies, you could damage your PC Board components and reduce their lifespan.
When selecting power supplies, look for products with higher output voltages. These provide better performance and allow you to use fewer components. Also, look for products with active PFC (power factor correction) circuitry to help save money by reducing your electricity bill. Also, be sure to select products with short circuit protection so they don’t get damaged if something goes wrong inside your system.
The analog-to-digital converters, or A/D converters, are a key component in most embedded systems. This type of converter converts the analog signals into digital signals so they can be processed by microcontrollers and other processors.

4) Sensor Technology

Reducing energy consumption during PCB operation is a key to reducing the operating costs, and sensor technology play a huge role in that process. Sensors can help reduce energy consumption by preventing inefficiencies and keeping the cost down. While there are many different types of sensors in printed circuit board assembly, some of the most common sensors used in industry are:
Thermocouple: It measures temperature using two wires made from dissimilar metals, such as copper and constantan.
Photoelectric Sensor: It measures the light intensity using a light-sensitive resistor called a photocell.
Capacitive Sensors: They detect changes in capacitance, which is defined as an electrical charge that accumulates on a capacitor’s surface when it is exposed to an electric field.
Infrared Sensors: they measure infrared radiation by detecting changes in its wavelength or amplitude.
Magnetic Sensors: Detect magnetic fields, which are created by moving electrical currents and magnets, and can be used to measure position or proximity.
Ultrasonic Sensors: Measures distance using ultrasonic waves, like the sound above 20 kHz.
Optical Sensors: they detect the light intensity using photodiodes, such as the devices that convert light into electric current.
Pressure Sensor: It measures pressure changes in a fluid such as air or water, usually by converting these changes into an electrical signal.
Acceleration Sensor: It measures the acceleration along one axis of motion using piezoelectric crystals.

5) IoT technology (such as NB-IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is going through a digital transformation. A protocol known as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) has been developed to handle communication between IoT devices and cellular networks.
But before you can take advantage of any of these technologies, you need to design your device’s printed circuit board or PCB accordingly. Here are five ways that designers can integrate the NB-IoT into their products:
1. Ditch Wi-Fi in an IoT product with very limited space for antennas: Consider ditching Wi-Fi altogether in favor of NB-IoT. Since it operates on a different frequency from 2G/3G/4G networks, there is no interference between wireless modems and Bluetooth LE radios – which means you don’t have to worry about limiting throughput by adding too many connections.
2. Think Small when it comes to antenna size, bigger isn’t always better. If you want to add more connectivity options without increasing your PCB footprint, consider using multiple antennae of varying sizes instead of one large antenna.
3. Make It Wearable. Wearable electronics are predicted to grow exponentially over the next few years – and if you want your product to be part of that trend, then you should include some form of cellular connection capability in your design from day one.
4. Reduce Power Consumption: One of the main advantages of NB-IoT is its ability to connect smaller devices at extended ranges while using less power than standard 4G/LTE connections. To maximize the battery life, keep all unnecessary functions turned off until they’re needed.
5. Software Cellular connections aren’t just hardware; they also require software. Many cellular modules come with built-in SIM cards, so you won’t need to add your memory card reader to your design. However, if you do plan on adding external memory cards, make sure they meet the current industry standards. Also, consider including a cellular module in your design that supports the dual-SIM functionality.
By considering the above design elements for digital transformation, you can develop a better device. You can deal with the fast-changing technology by updating the PCB design. However, it does not end here, as there is a lot more to explore regarding circuit design.
Would like to know more about design elements or PC Board assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com