Tag Archives: printed circuit board assembly

How Is PC Board Designed In KiCad

How Is PC Board Designed In KiCad

There are many free and open-source PC Board design software packages out there, but KiCad has become one of the more popular ones due to its combination of low cost and flexibility. As with most design software, it does take some practice to learn how to use it, which is why we created this guide on how to design PCBs in KiCad.
Whether you’re just getting started or want to review your skills, this guide will get you up and running quickly, allowing you to create your first PCB in no time.We’ll walk you through starting a new project, designing your circuit, creating the Gerber files to send off to your manufacturer, and much more.

Step 1: Open The File

To open up your chosen schematic file you need to double click on it. This will bring up your schematic editor, and also provide you with access to other tabs as well as additional views of your schematic. If you have more than one page in your project, they will appear separated by tabs that can be accessed at any time.

The first thing you should do is get rid of all unused components so that there is no clutter or confusion when designing your circuit board. You can do this by selecting each component individually and pressing delete or right-clicking on them to select Remove from Project from the menu.

Remember not to select any electrical connections you may have made during your design process because these are required for our circuit board to function correctly. When you are done removing everything that isn’t needed, save your project file under a new name so that you don’t lose what you’ve already done.

Step 2: Save Your Work

To save your work as you go, you must keep your progress handy. You can do so by clicking Save on KiCad’s main toolbar, or by using the CTRL+S on your keyboard.
As you work, you’ll want to save your work often. To do so, click File>Save Project (at the top left) or use the keyboard shortcut Control + S on Windows/Linux and Command + S on Mac.
Before saving, make sure that you haven’t included any hidden layers by clicking Layers>Show/Hide>Hidden Layers and making sure all layers are checked. It’s also helpful to set up a backup location for your project files.
If you choose to Save a project before compiling it when creating new projects, KiCad will automatically create backups of your files before compiling them into an output file. If something goes wrong during compilation, simply open one of these backups and continue working from there. The next time you compile, KiCad will overwrite your old backup with a new one.

Step 3: The Project Tree

You’ll notice that on your right-hand side, there’s a list of nodes. This is where you keep track of all your libraries, schematics,PCB designs and pcb fabrication files. The project tree will start with just one node called Unnamed; click on it and give it a name. That way you can return to it quickly and easily.

By default, designs are displayed as hierarchical project trees of symbols, footprints, and 3D models. Clicking on an object displays its properties in a panel at the left.

Right-clicking on any object opens a context menu for modifying it. It is also possible to create new project folders and objects from within KiCad using these menus.

There is no limit to how many objects or projects you can have in KiCad. When creating or editing the schematic sheets or PCBs, remember that the current sheet refers to either sheet 0, the top sheet, or sheet 1, the bottom sheet.

Step 4: Board Settings

The software is now configured for new designs. If you’re happy with all of your settings, click OK to save them and make sure that Configure Project for Manufacturing is unchecked. We want our design files to be suitable for creating prototype boards, but we don’t need any extra vias or silkscreen layers as those would just be an unnecessary drain on our budget.
The part of KiCad you’ll be focusing on is called Board, and it’s located under Preferences > Board. Click on that, then click Save as Default Project, then click OK. Now, any new projects you create will use these settings by default.
You’ve already got some elements selected in our schematic; now let’s check out how to add components from libraries. This is done using something called Footprints. For each component you want to add, different types of Footprintsdetermine their size and placement on your board.
To get started, find your library folder in Documents >KiCad Library> Components. There should be two folders inside here, such as footprints_1_0 and footprints_1_4. The former is used for older versions of KiCad while 1_4 has newer parts available.
Find one you like and double-click it to open up its details page. Here you can see a list of all the possible ways that components could be placed on your board, along with their respective sizes. Scroll down until you find one that matches your needs, and then right-click on it.
Once you have chosen a footprint, go back into your schematic editor and place your cursor where you want it on your board. It doesn’t matter where exactly, just somewhere near where you think it might fit nicely. Right-click again and select Add to Selection.
All instances of that component will now appear highlighted, allowing you to easily move them around without accidentally dragging another object instead. Move them around until they look good, and then press Ctrl+S to save your work.
Repeat steps 3–5 for each other component you want to add. When you’re finished adding everything, click File > Export Gerber Files… A window will pop up asking you where you want to export these files to.Choose your preferred file type before clicking Save.

Step 5: Trace Settings

To ensure your traces have sufficient space between them, you’ll need to change several settings in KiCad. If you’re working with 2 mils (0.002 inches) traces, choose Min trace width / Min clearance 0.2 mm and Min spacing 1 mm from under Advanced Tracing on the left side of the Project Properties dialog box.
If you’re using 5 mils (0.005 inches) traces, select Min trace width / Min clearance 0.5 mm and Min spacing 1 mm instead. For 10 mils (0.010 inches) or 20 mils (0.020 inches) traces, use 2mm/4mm as appropriate for those sizes.
Note that these values are set per layer, so if you want to use different values for top and bottom layers, simply click on the Top or Bottom layer in the Project Properties dialog box before changing these values. Once you’ve made your selections, click OK to save changes.
Now that you’ve got your trace size set up correctly, let’s move on to via size. Vias are used to connect one layer of copper to another through plated holes. These connections allow us to route signals through our board by allowing us to go from one layer to another without going all the way around (which would waste space).
The reason why we have two types of vias is that they serve different purposes depending on where they’re placed. Printed Circuit Board Blind vias are located inside a hole, which means they’re not visible from either side of our board. On the other hand, buried vias can be seen from both sides.

How Is PC Board Designed In KiCad
How Is PC Board Designed In KiCad

Step 6: Fabrication Output

You’ve created your schematic, laid out your board, and routed everything beautifully. Now it’s time to order those fab files. For now, let’s focus on getting these fab files ready for manufacturing.

  • Use DRC to ensure there aren’t any issues with trace width/spacing or via holes.
  • Add solder mask.
  • Add silkscreen.
  • Check for manufacturability (is your design feasible?).
    Export Gerber files.

Step 7. Exporting Gerber Files

Now that you have everything drawn up, save your schematic and board files. You will be using these files when it comes time to order your board. Start by going File > Save or hitting Ctrl+S.
To save Gerbers, you must create and name an output folder. Go ahead and do that now. After your boards are all laid out, you’ll be able to export them as Gerber files.
If you’re doing more than one layer of a board, like if you have an inner ground plane, then make sure that you select a Separate file per layer for Gerber, otherwise, they won’t work.
Also, make sure that you check every single box under File Options except Place component origin at the lower-left corner of pad/hole. This option puts components off-center on pads and is only useful if you plan to manually place components later.
Once you have checked those boxes, go to File > Export Gerber Files. A window will pop up asking where you want to save your Gerber. Name your project or whatever makes sense for what you’re making and click OK.
Then another window will pop up asking which layers you want to export. Select All Layers and click OK again. Finally, a third window will appear with progress bars telling you how long it will take to generate your Gerber. It can take anywhere from 10 seconds to over an hour, depending on how many layers you have selected and how complex they are.
Would like to know more about printed circuit 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

What is Back Drilling in PC Board Manufacturing

What is Back Drilling in PC Board Manufacturing?

Back Drilling is a way to remove the copper barrel’s stub from the through-hole. A stub is an unused part of the plated-through holes as it does not perform any function on the circuit, so it’s not needed.

For example, while producing a 12-layer PCB you have to make a hole to connect the first to 10th layers. In general, via holes are drilled and then copper plating happens which connects the first layer to the 12 layers, whereas you only have to connect the first layer to the tenth layer.

The part from the 11 to 12 layer is useless as there is no electrical connection, so it is only a pillar. This extra length of via affects the signal passage, making the communication weak. So, that extra pillar or stub has to be removed from the back through another drilling.

Moreover, back drilling is also known as CDD, controlled depth drilling and you can use it in any Printed Circuit Board having weak signals.

Why Do You Need To Remove the Stub

The stub is not just a waste, but it affects high-speed signals by distorting them. When these signals pass through a copper barrel having a long stub, it results in a high distortion. Thick or multi-layered PCBs and back panels are more vulnerable to weak signals due to stubs.

Printed circuit boards of high-frequency should have blind and buried vias, as well as back drilling. Besides, you don’t have to consider the layout design in the back drilling. On the other hand, you have to consider the aspect ratio in blind vias.

When the Circuit board fabrication is over, the fabricators redrill the holes to remove the stubs. This process involves a large drill compared to other holes. In other words, you have to back drill the holes to a controlled or limited depth, like it should not reach the last layer including via.

However, the back drilling is not a clean process like other drilling methods, as the copper gets electrolyzed in this case. Besides, the drill point is sharp in this case, so the fabricator leaves a small point. Moreover, the b-value or the remaining stub length should be from 50 um to 150 um.

What Are The Benefits Of Back Drilling Or CDD?

Back drilling has many benefits as described below;
• It involves fewer bit errors
• It reduces the deterministic jitter
• It provides more data rates
• You get more channel bandwidth through back drilling
• The enhanced independence matching helps reduce the signal attenuation
• It helps reduce the resonance mode’s excitation or noise
• It does not involve the consideration of any aspect ratio
• It reduces a stub’s EMI radiation
• Back drilling reduces the thickness of local plates
• It enhances the signals, making them powerful
• It eliminates the need for blind holes
• It enhances a PCB’s production process

Back Drilling Principles

During the drill bit drilling, the tip of the drill connects with the substrate board’s copper layer. This process produces a low-level current to evaluate the PCB’s surface height, drilling with an appropriate depth. So, drilling stops after the set depth.

Applications of Back Drilling

You can use the PCBs with back drilling for different industries, including aerospace, computers with large servers, medical equipment, communication, and military.
In the case of military or aerospace, only the manufacturers having a background with these industries are eligible to provide the back drilling in PCBs. This means the ordinary PC Board companies can’t get such projects.

How to Proceed With Back Drilling

The back drilling or CDD process involves a few steps, such as:
• It involves the PCB with tooling holes through drilling
• Copper plating of holes before sealing of the dry film
• Developing graphics on the external surface when the plating process is over
• After graphics, making plating with patterns and providing the sealing of the dry film of positioning holes. However, the sealing is done before the pattern process.
• The tooling hole’s s drilling and vias’ back drill
• Cleaning of vias from the residual that occurs during a back drilling of holes.
• The back drilling of the left via is done from the top surface, whereas the back drilling of the right via occurs from both sides.

PCB Features for Back Drill

The PCB with back drilling consists of certain features, such as:
• Only a rigid PCB can go through back drilling
• PCBs with 8 to 50 layers can have a back drill
• Its thickness is 2.5 mm or more than that
• The aspect ratio of the PCB is also large
• There is less trace in the external surface, like in a square array with press-fit holes.
• PCB dimensions are larger than the boards without back drilling
• The depth clearance for a back drill has to be +/- 0.05mm
• The thickness of the insulation should be at least 0.17mm
• Generally, the back drill hole is larger than other vias, like more than 0.2 mm
So, the PCB drilling involves various stages and back drilling is the second stage that removes the unused plating of vias. It involves a specific depth and the side of copper.
The secondary drilling has to be precise, and that depends on the expansion and contraction of the board, drilling technique, tool accuracy, and certain other factors.

Precautions to Follow While PCB Drilling

Whether it’s back drilling or some other, you need high-quality tools to bring the best results.
• Drills often wear while making holes in the thick boards, especially, small drills and they can affect the surface finishing, as well as the size of the hole. It also increases the drilling force, so your tool must have no wear.
• A worn-out drill needs more force to operate, besides, its temperature also increases, and eventually, the chemical and physical reaction of the drill wear also increases, causing a poor drill.
• You can reduce the drill wear by keeping the aspect ratios low, however, this is not in the case of back drilling.
• Also, take care of the chip load that depends on the drill diameter. Often drills with a small diameter break faster than the drill have a large diameter.
• You should hire professional services for your PCB design, execution, and assembly.

A Technique to Calculate the Drill Diameter

You can do it through the below formula,
Size of the back drill = size of the via or pad hole + 2 x design rule of an oversize back drill

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Main Purpose Of Back Drilling?

The basic function of the PCB back drilling is to remove a part of the through-hole that does not transmit the current. If you don’t remove a long hole, it will affect the high-frequency signal transition, causing reflection or distortion.

What Is A Stub In PCB Fabrication?

The stub is an unused part of plated-through holes, as it does not perform any function on the circuit, so it’s a waste. It will affect the signals if you don’t remove the stub.

What Are Plated-Through Holes?

The PTH or plated-through holes connect multiple layers of copper in a PCB to provide an electrical connection to the components.

What Is CDD In PCB?

CDD stands for controlled drilling depth or back drilling that removes stubs or wasted copper parts from the PCB holes.

What Are Other Factors Affecting The Integrity Of The Signals?

Not only stubs, but some other factors also affect the transmission of the electric signals in PCB components. Like, PCB material, connector type, chip package, vias, transmission lines, etc.

Why PCB Should Have Drilling?

The printed circuit boards have become more advanced and their demand has also increased that needs high quality. PCB involves through-hole drilling to create a transition path for the electric signals in various circuits.

Final Thoughts on Back Drilling In PCB

PCB drilling process has different stages and back drilling is the second stage that removes the unused copper plating. It involves a specific depth and the side of copper. It has to be precise, and that depends on the expansion and contraction of the board, drilling technique, tool accuracy, and certain other factors. Printed circuit boards of a high-frequency should have blind and buried vias, as well as back drilling.

The stud or extra length of via affects the signal passage, making the communication weak. So, that stub has to be removed from the back through another drilling. The back drilling is not a clean process like other drilling methods, as the copper gets electrolyzed in this case.

PCBs with back drilling is used in different industries, including communication, computers, military, aerospace, etc. you may have to go through some challenges while back drilling, but by following some precautions you can overcome them.

Interested to know more about Back Drilling or Printed Circuit Board assembly? Just email us at sales@pnconline.com

PC BOARD Electronics Components Optimization

PC BOARD Electronics Components Optimization

Can you imagine yourself all dressed up, but you have no place to go? Well, that’s awkward because we all need to do something but for a reason. And that reason should be enough strong that could stop us not to distracted by other various factors. The same happens to the engineer in the circuit board design. Sometimes, an engineer would do a mistake. What’s that mistake? He would probably be all dressed up, but he would not pay attention to the end goal. Instead, he would get distracted by other external factors and end up with nothing. And as a result, he would have a body of the circuit without a soul. That’s sounds bad right? So, what is that one thing that an engineer can apply to avoid this type of situation?

A clear answer, keep an eye on designing and optimizing. Before you launch your electronic component or product, you need to pay attention to the reasonable amount of material used in it.The fact that is overlooked in the virtual designing of the circuit board is that the product would have a physical structure also. The virtual designing process may include the components and design that are not beneficial or may not be available anymore. The database of virtual designing usually includes these components, and an engineer can get some hiccups in their assembly and prototyping process. And if these critical and useful components remain in the PCB design till the end of the designing then many severe problems can also occur.

For example, a delay in production can happen and the client may be unhappy. But the good news is, all these problems can be reduced if you take some steps and make some efforts to optimize your electric component section. But before we discuss the tips and tricks that need to be taken for better optimization of electronic components, one should understand how component procurement takes place.

Component selection and procurement:

You can get ease and freedom to work if the electronic components are placed on the circuit board correctly at a low frequency. The difficulty may arise when final design and heat dissipation occurs. Well, it is easy to deal with low frequency. But in the case of high frequency, the slightest mistake and wrong positioning of electric components that may be valid electrically would end in compromising the overall functionality of the circuit board. So, in a nutshell, it is being said that positioning any electric component in the circuit board is a crucial task to perform. In the case of high frequency, the requirement is also high for good positioning of the components. This will help in optimizing the signal path and improving the circuit operation.

The best placement for the circuit board can only be obtained by following the strict theoretical rules and some powerful software that helps designers in creating a sophisticated circuit. The length of the critical path should be reduced typically. If all the electric components are placed in the right arrangement, then the overall functionality of the circuit board can also be increased. And the physical size would be reduced accordingly.

Component selection is one of the most significant tasks that happen in circuit design and in the lifecycle of product development that may affect printed circuit board assembly. Then, the other tasks are performed to check if the components are integrated, and the device is performing the required functionality or not. Each component is available for a certain period and a graph is made for clear understanding. The product would be available in variation. A new production would be distributed modestly and then it would go to the peak once established and then decline because it is replaced with new technologies.

Following are the few terms that need to be taken care of while optimizing an electronic circuit. Some of them are related to the positioning of the components and some explain the optimization of the signal in any electronic circuit. An engineer should take care of every step so that the outcome of the circuit can work efficiently and effectively.

Placement of components for heat dissipation:

The positioning of components and optimization of a circuit board is not that easy task to do. It is always demanding and delicate to perform. The general recommendation is that the number of elements such as resistor, inductor, capacitor, indicator, and others should be connected with an extremely short track and device connected very close together. This is beneficial when the circuit is operating at a high frequency.

The rule is compulsory to follow for better functionality but sometimes, minimizing the length of the circuit may result in several thermal problems, and uneven accumulation of heat can happen, and some other unexplainable faults can also damage the entire functionality of the circuit board. So, to avoid these types of consequences, it is recommended to use the thermal ducts and go for the parallel positioning of the components.

With the advancement in technology, some techniques rapidly suggest an optimal positioning for components and then a uniform distribution so heat flow can be maintained. This ends up with the excellent thermal performance of the entire Printed Circuit Board circuit.

Placement of high-frequency components:

It is difficult to handle a system if it exceeds the frequency of 1 MHZ. The positioning of capacitive and inductive electrical and electronic components is critical to manage. The components may act differently even if they are arranged and electrically converted. So, the performance of the circuit board would be compromised. The motion of the capacitor and inductance of just a few centimeters can change the game by changing the functionality of the circuit. For example, you must have seen the transistors and receivers on the radio. HF amplifiers and other equipment that work in the high frequency.

Their frequency can be changed accordingly, and they will catch signals from the set frequency. The signal may be spread in the surrounding leaving the circuit in the order of MHz the positioning of the circuit board can be compromised (positively or negatively) with a small variation in the wiring connection. The resistors are difficult to manage and should be done in the most attentive environment.

Genetic algorithms:

As artificial intelligence is covering many other aspects of technology successfully, it had its impact on the world of electronics also. Some techniques help in the implementation of genetic algorithms so that the positioned components can be optimized, and thermal degree can be evaluated in the duration of the operation.

The convection can be cooled by airflow if the genetic algorithms are present on the surface of the board. The thermal model of the circuit acts in two dimensions. So, the optimization of the circuit and position of this differently acting thermal criteria is handled by the algorithm genetic. And this would result in the optimization of electronic components and positioning of components on the circuit board in a three-dimensional way.

All this would be done with the help of genetic algorithms. But arranging and finding the right arrangement is not a piece of cake. There are hundreds and thousands of arrangements that can take place in the circuit. For this purpose, the software has to manage the million permutations and combinations to find the right arrangement. Once the right arrangement is found, it is implemented for the efficient functionality of the circuit board.

Optimizing electrical components selection:

The impact of the component positioning on a circuit board is often undervalued. But the truth is your component choice can affect the assembly of the circuit board in a significant manner. The right choice for component packages can reduce pc board steps in the circuit board either through-hole or surface mount devices. However, some specific steps need to be followed for the overall functionality and optimization of the electric circuit board.

Determine the quantity available in the designing process:

Checking the quantity of the component is important because it helps in manufacturing delays of the circuit in searching for alternatives that perform equally well to the components from alternative markets.

Choose reputable suppliers for components:

Your product quality is depending on the components you are going to use in the circuit. So, selecting reputable suppliers and distributors is equally important to manufacturing. It should be mentioned in the manufacturing procedure which suppliers you are going to deal with for your product components.

Components should have comparable replacements:

Choosing components with replacement can help in minimizing a lot of tasks. Such as requirement gathering and redesigning and redefinition in case of components contingency. The need to update can also be managed.

Maintain access to the current component of the lifecycle:

Having a quick view of the current data rate is important. As the process proceeds further, you will need to check if the particular component is doing great or not. Similarly, this choice is important so you can check if you want to go with the particular component or you should select any other alternative.

Investigate the component:

This step is important to ensure the quality of your component.

Get your pcb fabrication and complete assembling done at PNC. Just contact us at sales@pnconline.com to get a customized quote.

Flexible Printed Circuit Board Overview

Introduction

On a slightly less romantic level, it would not be feasible to have such a standard laptop or mobile phone without flexible print circuit technology, which enables components to be linked electrically, in a dynamic, three-dimensional fashion. Flexible circuit technology has a long history that dates back over 100 years. The early patent activity emphasizes the fact that inventions such as Thomas Edison, Frank Sprague, and others in the early twentieth century experimented on ideas for flexible circuit materials and designs that were only used on a commercial basis in recent decades.

Background

Flexible printed circuits (FPCs) are the heart and soul of flexible films and thin layers of conducting traces. These typically represent the flexible circuit laminate base that can be used to connect electronic equipment – such as the LCD screen or a laptop’s keyboard – as a reliable cable replacement, or electronic components can be directly fitted to it through solder or conductive adhesive to form a completed, flexible printed circuit board.

Flexible printed circuits
Flexible printed circuits

Flexible PCB advantages

Flexible, FPCs may be bent and curved to provide more flexibility of application design and operation. Flexible circuits may also be adapted to tiny or inappropriately shaped areas, which cannot be supported by conventional rigid circuits. There is another benefit of flexible PC Board is that to reduce the weight of the motherboard of the application, they need less space. The effective utilization of existing areas also helps to improve thermal management and reduce the dissipation of heat.

Flexible PCBs may also be more dependable and longer-lasting compared to stiff PCBs, particularly in situations where constant vibration and mechanical stress are experienced. Based on soldered wires and hand-connected connector models, standard connecting methods are replaced by flexible printed circuits, with exceptional weight and thickness, and with strong mechanical resistance.

Think for example of connecting numerous electronic equipment, such as dashboards, display, and man-machine interfaces, in the automobile industry (rotary controls, buttons, etc.). All these gadgets are exposed to constant mechanical strains and vibrations and need a stable connection in all vehicle operating circumstances. Flexible printed circuits ensure zero reliability, durability, and maintenance in the automobile industry.

Flexible PCBs
Flexible PCBs

Flexible printed circuit boards provide a variety of possible advantages including:

  • Flexible PCBs provide cost-effective benefits that include decreased requirements for materials and packaging, reduced component replacement costs, and assembly mistakes that may lead to repair requirements.
  • These advantages make flex PCBs suitable for a broad variety of sectors, including consumer electronics, transport, medical, communications, military, automotive, industrial applications, and aerospace.

Missing Dielectric Material Callouts

Flexible and stiff flexible circuits are made utilizing a variety of material types to satisfy a broad range of physical and electrical costs and performance criteria. Because of this variation, the designer must give comprehensive information on the dielectric materials to be utilized about the potential problems associated with each choice. It is suggested that designers learn about the cost and performance options available. The Internet is filled with information about flexible circuit materials and how they may be utilized. This issue may also be helped by the PCB manufacturer. The fundamental kinds of flex materials are:

  • Adhesive materials without acrylic binding the copper to dielectric polyimide
  • Adhesive materials with acrylic copper bonding with dielectric polyimide
  • Flammable and non-flammable laminates, covers, and bonding flakes.

Incomplete or Insufficient Rigid-Flex Base Material Type Definition

The selected base material determines the rigid-flex circuit’s performance limitations in-process and field operation in many applications. For most solders devoid of plumage, the highest temperature requirements for soldering may be as high as 260°C, which usually requires the use of polyimide laminates. The choice of material and its electrical characteristics may, however, influence other performance problems.

One important issue is to control the characteristic impedance of the system and guarantee signal integrity with increasingly prevalent designs of higher-frequency circuits (these latter subjects will be given more attention later). The requirements for the temperature range of the stiff laminates used in rigid-flex structures must also be taken into account and handled. The stiff material should be capable of high temperatures. Polyimide laminate is a frequent callout, although epoxy resins are often appropriate for better applications.

Copper Type and Thickness Callout

Whilst many metal foils are available for flexible circuits, copper is the most frequently utilized metal for electronic interconnections. It is extremely conductive, mixable (making it flexible and foldable), reasonably easy to manufacture via graving and placing, and relatively cheap. The copper type most often used for flexible circuits is roll and copper (RA copper) with the greatest characteristics for dynamic flex applications.

The choice of type and thickness for the copper design should correspond to the electrical and mechanical requirements for use. Thicker copper is usually utilized for greater energy and thinner copper for circuits requiring repetitive bending (dynamic flexing). The options of thickness are many, but at present, one ounce (17μm or 0.7mils) and one ounce (35μm or 1 mil) are the most utilized for creating flexible circuit laminates. Additional copper may often be placed on the circuit, and this should also be taken into account in the specification. If the designer is unsure, he should seek the assistance of engineers for advice.

Flex Circuits
Flex Circuits

Cover layer or Solder Mask Over Flex Circuits

Covers are polymer materials used for the covering and protection of the copper traces of the flex circuit product. As is indicated, many solutions for the protection of the circuits are accessible and they meet various design criteria in terms of cost, performance, and flexural durability optimization. It is essential to describe the choice not only of the kind of cover material but also of the thickness required. This may be extremely significant for certain building types, especially when a flex circuit experiences dynamic flexing during usage.

As far as costs are concerned, a flexible solder mask is usually the cheapest. Someone or two-layer flexible circuits, which are not subjected to repeated flex cycles or severe radius curves, may be covered with a solder mask epoxy-based to flex without breaking. However, this is not advised if the design needs severe or dynamic flexing.

The second choice is the laminated cover. These materials are usually identical to the flexible core materials and are best suited for flexible dynamic circuit applications. The cover is a polyimide sheet with one side acrylic adhesive. It is usually pre-machined to open the sheet where the final finish is needed.

The cover sheets are typically coated with specific pads in a laminating machine to ensure that the copper characteristics of the flex layer are conformed. For rigid-flex circuits, the overlayer is usually reduced to not exceed 50 miles in the rigid part. The aim is to ensure that all the plated holes in the stiff-flex are empty of any acrylic adhesive, since they may influence the integrity of the hole wall plating.

Flexible Printed Circuit Board disadvantages

Although there are many significant benefits, the FPC technology also has several inconveniences or downsides. First and foremost, FPCs have significant one-time startup costs compared to conventional rigid PCBs. The initial expenses associated with the circuit and prototype design are greater than for rigid PCBs because flexible systems are developed for highly particular purposes. If the cost is a deciding factor in the choice of the kind of PCB, the use of FPC technology is preferable only for not too low manufacturing quantities.

The difficulty of fixing or changing the PCB when it is rebuilt is another drawback. In this situation, in reality, the protection film that covers the circuit must first be removed, the procedure carried out and protection restored. In order to provide their clients with this kind of product, flexible PCBs are quite a new technology and not all manufacturers are prepared. Moreover, considerable care must be exercised during the assembling stage, because the circuit may be easily destroyed by improper handling or by unauthorized people.

Structure

The historical electric connection methods have been revolutionized, typically for connecting various portions of the same circuit or different electronic devices by introducing flexible PCBs. The flexible PCB-based solution enables significant space, weight, and costs to be reduced compared to an equivalent solution using rigid PCBs due to its flexibility and compactness as well as the high density of electrical connections available. Many kinds of cable systems, frequently manual in multiple applications, have been replaced with flexible printed circuits which reduce overall electrical cable costs by up to 70%.

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Final Thoughts

In the last few years, the FPC business has expanded significantly led by the development of wearable and electromedical devices that are increasingly tiny and light. Flexible PCBs may remove connector and cable requirements in many applications, enhance connection reliability and reduce assembly time, assembly cost, and total device sizes. We can state that flexible PCBs have enabled new in conclusion, fascinating applications to be implemented that are not possible with conventional rigid PCBs.

Flexible printed circuits, from cars, VCRs, camcorders, cell phones, and SLR cameras up to the complex military and aviation systems, are present in all areas. There are numerous high-profile uses of flexible circuits. One example is the employment of flexible-circuit technology in the Sojourner, a robot that explored the Mars surface and collected data in the summer of 1997, in the stiff flexible wire harnesses employed.

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