Simplify PCB Design, How Do You Start Designing a Circuit Board

If you've ever been curious about circuit boards but aren't sure how to get started, you're not alone. When used for the first time, it may be daunting to see a green PCB (printed circuit board) with countless traces and symbols. However, curiosity and creativity will never stop. Those who tend to repair, modify and create continue to promote the development of today's electronic technology.

Anyone who makes a circuit board knows that perfection cannot be achieved, and there are usually some defects or faults in the first attempt. However, a better understanding of how circuit board design works can help ease the trouble. By performing the following steps and understanding the importance of each step, you can have more confidence in the final product.

Think like an engineer

Try to spend more time thinking like an engineer before even starting the PCB design software. Thanks to Silicon Valley, the word "design thinking" has become a buzzword in today's era. But this approach is not just hype. It is very useful before you invest time and resources in your product.

You can start the product by participating in the discovery phase. In the meantime, make sure you have identified the problem to be solved. This may not be a physical problem, but it may be something missing in the market, or a niche market that you think your innovation can fill. This will ensure that your board is designed for a specific purpose from the beginning and avoid you being misled throughout the process.

Next, start brainstorming on potential solutions. You can use this time to consult the tinker community and PCB blog to learn what others have done about their design. By taking advantage of the PCB field, you can avoid redesigning wheels when there may already be ideas that need to be improved for your purposes. After completing the research, talking to others, and considering a variety of methods, you can start designing.

Create schematic

Even if you have the best idea in the world, you won't build it right away without planning. As the saying goes, it is best to measure twice and then cut once. Like building plans, schematic diagrams are a low-risk approach to layout planning. You may need to draw it manually first to understand the components involved. If you want to create a more complex PCB, you need to determine the function of each part of the circuit and group the components accordingly.

At this point, you will need to bring a free PCB design software that allows you to access layouts and components used by other PCB creators. For you to explore and experiment in circuit board design.

When designing a virtual schematic based on a hand drawn template, you must first add and place components. The most common components you will add are resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes and batteries, depending on your design. Be sure to keep in mind the size limitations of the PCB and do not overcrowd the circuit board. Placing too many components on a small area of a PCB may cause overheating and eventually lead to failure. If your design does require a large number of components, be sure to plan a budget for multi-layer PCBs.

So far, you have completed half of the diagram! After all components are in place, you can now add connections, connectors and power supplies. The last step in completing the schematic is to name the connection. Now you can click on the file and save or print it out so that you can carefully check your work before converting it to PCB layout.

The final PCB design

With most PCB design software, you can easily convert schematic to PCB design. The schematic creates a netlist, which is the data that helps build the PCB design. At this point, your screen actually looks like a circuit board. You will be able to determine the specifications of the product, such as the size of the PCB and the number of layers required. You can also add routing directions. Here, you can convert the connection on the schematic diagram into an actual copper "wiring" so that the PCB manufacturer knows how the current should flow between the pins. Pin to pin, daisy chain, star and bus wiring are the most common. You need to choose according to the working mode of PCB.

Trust but verify

Even if you have completed the plan and conducted a lot of research, you still need to triple check the circuit board design before sending the prototype for manufacturing. Each prototype costs manufacturing and shipping, and your budget may not be unlimited. Although your design may not fit perfectly with the prototype, you still want to know whether you have done due diligence to ensure its rationality. PCB design software has a design rule check function, which can be run to ensure that the manufacturer can produce your design and catch any errors.

Start writing now

Creating a board design has never been easier. Without struggling like the technicians in the past, you can get less trouble and support more high-quality products. Free PCB design software makes the art and science of making circuit boards easy and interesting.

Although your initial board designs may not be perfectly demonstrated, following these steps will help ensure that you cover all the basics. When you are familiar with PCB design software, you will also find that you will become more comfortable. However, the only way to improve is to continue to study circuit board design through online blogs, forums or tutorials. Of course, practice is perfect.

Simplify PCB Design, How Do You Start Designing a Circuit Board 1

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