Printed circuit boards are vital parts of smart devices and several equipments as they provide current or electrical signals to run them. You need different elements to construct a PCB, such as:
- Schematic design
- Database login
- Electronic component configuration
- Design preparation
- Block division
If any issue happens during a process, you have to go back to the previous process to correct it. The layout of PCB components is a complex thin as it determines a board\s appearance and neatness. Moreover, it also affects the function of the end product or device. We will discuss below the six basic PCB design principles in terms of its components and other factors.
1-Components Layout and Clearance
You have to place the components evenly on the board, leaving some space on the edges. The components around the edge should be 3mm away from PCB edges. In general, designers leave 5 to 10 mm space around the edges.
The components should be only on a board’s one side. There should be a separate pad for each lead pin.
Don’t cross up and down the components’ layout and keep a certain distance between the nearby components on the board. However, this distance should not be too small as it can hinder PCB maintenance.
Components should be installed at a low height and its lead should not be more than 5mm away from the PCB, as it can affect its quality to bear vibration.
Printed Circuit Board components that reside on a pad’s both ends must be a bit larger than their axial dimensions. The pads should be located where the coordinate grid intersects. The central distance of the pad has to be more than the board thickness to have a neat layout.
According to IEC or International Electrotechnical Commission, the standard spacing of the coordinate grid should be 2.54mm, whereas the axillary spacing should be 1.27mm.
However, these standards practically impact a few processes, including automatic drilling, computer automated design, components welding, and automatic assembly. But, such a grid spacing is not restricted in the case of manual drilling.
2-Defined Solder Mask
Solder mask expansion should be well-defined as it can cause issues if you over-define or under-define it. Tombstoning may happen if you don’t define the solder mask properly. Like, one side cools down faster than another side, affecting the board. So, by following the right parameters, you won’t have to revise your design.
The solder mask opening should be larger than the pad. In general, it expands 4 mils or 0.1mm. However, both can also have the same size, depending on the Printed Circuit board Fabrication.
3- Via Type& Routing Width
You must use the right via for routing as it won’t work if its diameter or ratio is not precise. The current won’t pass correctly due to fused vias. So, via styles should be considered while routing the entire PCB.
The routs should have enough width to carry the current that your device requires. You must have an impedance-controlled routing that needs various impedance profiles. You have to apply these profiles to routing widths to ensure a functional layout. Don’t have routing at an acute angle even if the signals have a low speed as acute angle hinders manufacturing. Like, an acute angle can increase the corrosion, leading to an open circuit.
Whereas it is vital to avoid the acute angle in the case of high-frequency circuits because it fully changes the track width at the corners and results in poor signals and discontinued impedance.
Different PC Board components are installed either vertically or horizontally. The horizontal components are parallel to the surface of the circuit board. Whereas in vertical installation, components are perpendicular to the PCB surface.
Vertical components allow you to have more quantity on a board’s surface. It is ideal for hearing aids, semiconductor radios, portable instruments, or devices that need a dense placement of components. For vertical installation, components have to be lightweight. Don’t install heavy components in a vertical direction as it can affect a PCB’s mechanical strength. Moreover, it causes vibration, and components can collapse, making a circuit less reliable.
On the other hand, the horizontal installation provides mechanical stability, and the circuit board also looks neat. It also helps lay down the printed wires because it enhances the elements’ span.
You can use any installation method, depending on your needs but make sure to arrange components evenly and the circuit should be anti-vibration.
5-Considering The PCB Layout Type
PCB layout has either a regular arrangement of components or is irregular. In an irregular format, the axis of the components are not aligned with each other, so it seems messy. However, it helps lay down the printed wires easily as there is no restriction of direction. Such a layout is ideal for high-frequency circuits and involves a vertical installation.
Whereas in a regular format, the component axis is aligned and either parallel or perpendicular to the sides of a PCB. It provides a neat board and makes certain processes easier, like PCB assembly, debugging, welding, maintenance, and production.
Moreover, a regular format is ideal for low-frequency circuits where the board has a few component types and its surface is loose. However, the number of components is high and such an arrangement also suits electronic instruments. But, due to the direction restrictions, such a PCB has a complex layout of wires, increasing the overall length of the wires.
6-Factors That Affect the PCB Layout
You also have to consider the factors that affect a PCB layout, like the direction of the signals, device position electromagnetic interference, thermal interference, mechanical strength, etc.
- Generally, the direction of the signal flow is from left to right of which left is the input and right is the output. It is also from top to bottom of which the top is the input and the bottom is the output. Connectors which are in direct connection to the input and output should be close to the input and output connectors. Integrated circuits or transistors should be the core components. Whereas other components should be located according to their electrodes’ location. You should also consider the size, a number of pins, shape, and polarity of components.
- You should adopt certain ways to prevent electromagnetic interference that occurs due to different external factors, like spatial electromagnetic ways, poor wiring, poor installation of components, etc. You can avoid these issues during the layout design. But, interference will happen if the PCB design is not right
- You should shield the components that interfere with each other. High-frequency components should have small wiring. Similarly, the components of weak and strong currents should be separated. Wires with high potential should be at a great distance to avoid 50Hz interference. Likewise, the metal components should not be adjacent or they should be well-insulated to avoid a short circuit.
- While designing a PCB, you must know which components are temperature sensitive and which are heat components. The heating components like resistors should be located near the shell or near vent holes to dissipate heat. Don’t place many heating components near each other. Also, use fans or radiators to prevent the rise in temperature beyond its limit.
- Whereas the temperature-sensitive components should be away from the heat source. In general, integrated circuits, transistors, electrolytic capacitors, and thermal components are temperature sensitive. These components get affected due to the rise in temperature, especially in a circuit’s long-term operation.
- The board should also be mechanically strong and its center of gravity should be stable. Don’t install heavy or heating components directly on the board, instead, they should be under the chassis to have a stable board. If the board size is above 200mm it will cause mechanical stress, so it should be strengthened with a mechanical frame.
Finally, many PCB design software uses the power layer to have a fast design process. You can connect more wires to ensure the current has a minimum impedance or voltage drop down, thus giving enough ground return paths.
1.How To Layout A Printed Circuit Board?
You have to follow certain steps to create a PCB layout. Such as making the schematic drawings, developing a blank PCB layout, creating a PCB stack-up, schematic capture, defining design principles, defining DFM, linking to PCB, placement of components, inserting drill holes, and the route traces.
2.Is It Hard To Design A PCB?
It is not hard to design your PCB if the electrical schematic is right. Besides, following the design parameters also makes the design process easy.
3.Why Is My PCB Green?
The color of the solder mask determines the PCB color. So, if the solder mask is green, you say that PCB is green. The solder mask shields a copper circuit to avoid shorts circuit or soldering issues.
4.What Is The Purpose Of Following PCB Design Rules?
PCB design rules or principles help you to develop a system to automate the testing of design requirements. You get an interface between the physical and logical sides to create a circuit board. So, you can automate the DFM tests by following the rules to ensure that you can build a PCB.
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