If there is one aspect of technology that has revolutionized the world, it would be PCBs.
PCBs, or Printed Circuit Boards, were created several decades ago, and since their inception have found widespread use.
Today, just about every single electronic and electrical component has PCBs in them, with very few exceptions.
With regard to the PCBs themselves, there are several things that can be said regarding their design and other related aspects.
Some of the key details of the same are given in the points below.
1. Component Spacing
In addition to the circuitry of the PCBs, there are also several components that exist on the boards as well.
These include, among others, capacitors, resistors, diodes, transistors and so on. All of these are integral parts of most PCBs, and play a key role in the functionality of the final product.
It is necessary that they are placed appropriately, with proper spacing between adjacent components and indeed, the circuit itself. This helps in a variety of ways, ranging from design and structure management, to dealing with issues such as heating.
2. 90 Degree Trace Angles Need to be Avoided
In PCBs, traces consist of a flat and narrow part of the copper foil, which remains once the etching part of the manufacturing process is completed.
It is recommended that, wherever there are shifts in the orientation of these traces, that 90 degree angles be avoided, so as to prevent the circuits from being damaged.
3. Important Nodes Need to Be Accessible
A node can be thought of as a point where connections can be made, either to other parts of the PCB, or that of the electronic.
It is important that this part isn?t obstructed in any way, so as to ensure ease of access.
4. Width of the Lines
The width of the circuit lines will vary depending in the amount of current to be carried in them.
In other words, depending on the current flow required, the width of the wide will vary. And the same can be said about other aspects of the lines as well.
This has to be taken into account, for mismatching width and other characteristics of the lines can lead to issues further down the road, when the equipment or electronic is put to use.
5. Managing Mixed-Signal Circuits
When it comes to the circuits themselves, there are two kinds of circuits that can exist in PCBs, namely analog and digital.
Typically, PCBs tend to use either analog or digital signals, either because of application requirements or the general simplicity of the concept.
But then there are the PCBs in which it is required that both types of signals exist for a certain application. It is here where there arises a necessity to properly manage the two signals, in a way that allows them to be efficiently carried from one end to the other, without getting in each other?s way. This is because the two signals, when placed close to each other, tend to cause interference with each other.
Keeping this in mind, it is important that the two are kept away from each other as much as possible, unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
6. Material Of Choice
There are a host of materials that can be used, each of which comes with their own properties and characteristics.
The exact material used, as well as its combination, depending on the requirements of the equipment and PCB to be manufactured.
These things will have to be discussed and decided, between the client and fabricator, before the manufacturing process begins.
7. Heating Issues
A major problem with PCBs, as with any other electronic and electrical component, is that of heating.
The generation of heat is always an issue wherever electricity is used, which makes the management of heating a major concern. This is true for almost all electronics, and that certainly holds true for PCBs as well.
In addition to the adequate spacing of components, which has already been explained above, two steps that can be taken is the use of materials that rapidly dissipate heat, as well as the installation of heat sinks.
Another aspect about PCB design that should be looked into is layering.
Many PCBs come with just a single layer. Then there are others, which have multiple layers, depending on the PCBs end user requirements.
The exact nature of the requirements should be taken into consideration and worked with accordingly, where the number of layers is determined and kept to a minimum as much as possible.
This is because the increase of the number of layer will lead to an increase in the manufacturing cost, time as well as material requirement.
9. On Clear Specifications
It is necessary that the client provide the fabricator with the exact nature of the PCB specifications.
The specifications that are to be provided should be complete, beginning with the nature of the PCB and budget to the performance and functional requirements as well as any other expectations that may need to be addressed.
Another issue that should be addressed, is that of the production time for the same. This is because many of the supply chains are highly time sensitive, requiring one to have rapid deliveries, in cases where the market demands it to be so. Also, one may have to take into considerations issues such as shipping, if the products are being produced in another country and need to be shipped after manufacture.
10. Create Prototypes
Once the design specifications and other aspects of the PCB have been determined, the next thing would be to look into the prototyping of the same.
A prototype can be thought of as the first model of something, before the main ones can be created. This is important, as in addition to the designing the PCB, it is also important to check whether it works according to specifications.
Creating a ?sample? of it, which is what a prototype essentially is, allows for one to check whether it functions as expected, or if any changes are required.
In all, the above list of points about PCBs give a rough idea on the main aspects about PCBs, and the many factors that go into their construction and design.
Last but not the least, it should also be added that in addition to the ten points given above, there are several others as well, each of which their own importance and role have in the world of technology.