PCB Artist Includes Features Such as Multi-Page Schematics and Netlist Import. Advanced Circuits' printed circuit board design software is not only easy to use, it is absolutely the best free PCB layout software available! Our customers tell us one of the reasons they love doing business with us is because of our PCB design software. There are numerous software packages available for designing printed circuit boards (PCBs), too many in fact. That being said, there are three PCB design packages that are the most popular: Altium, Eagle, and OrCad. However, I prefer a less well-known PCB design packaged called DipTrace.
Have an idea you’d like to bring to market? In this series, John Teel walks through the process of scaling up from prototype to production. Follow each installment for a closer look at how to incorporate individual components. Designing electronics is complex, and many of the most common mistakes often occur on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB). The PCB is what connects and holds all the electronic components together. Whether you choose to do the design yourself, or hire an engineer, I strongly encourage you to get a design review from an independent engineer before you produce any prototypes.
I always have other engineers review my designs before prototyping. Independent are one of the best ways to prevent costly errors such as the ones listed below.
High current traces not wide enough If a PCB trace must handle current greater than a few hundred milliamps, the minimum width probably won’t be sufficient. A trace on an external layer can carry more than an internal trace for the same thickness.
• Obtain your purchased copy of the Longbow Converter • Start In the Converter App • Insert your AutoCAD 2008 CD into your CDRom drive • Select the 1st tab named “ AutoCAD 32bit Installer Converter“ • Using the “...” button, select your AutoCAD 2008 installation CD • Next, click the “ Convert“ button and follow instructions • Once the conversion process is complete • click Install/Run Setup to start setup • Simply install as normal, remembering to • Fully close the AutoCAD setup application once complete • Close the Converter App.
This is because the external trace has superior air flow and heat dissipation. Copper weight measures the thickness of the copper used on each trace. Most PCB manufacturers allow you to choose from copper weights of 0.5 oz./sq. To about 2.5 oz./sq. I recommend for proper calculations. You must specify the permissible temperature rise for a trace to calculate its current carrying capacity.
A safe choice is a 10C rise, but if you need a narrower trace width, you can use a 20C or higher temperature rise. Errors in landing patterns PCB design software packages provide libraries of electronic components. These libraries include the schematic symbol and PCB landing pattern for each component. You won’t usually have problems if you stick to these components in your design. However, if you use components outside of these libraries then you must manually draw the schematic symbol and the PCB landing pattern. It’s easy to make mistakes especially on the landing pattern.
For instance, if the pad to pad spacing is off by as little as a fraction of a millimeter, the pins won’t align properly making soldering difficult or impossible. Incorrect antenna layout on wireless designs If your product uses wireless technology, the layout of the antenna on the PCB is extremely critical. However, it is commonly layed out incorrectly, even by electrical engineers. For maximum power transfer between the transceiver and the antenna, you must match their impedance. This means their complex impedance and not their simple resistance. You’ll need a proper transmission line to connect the antenna and the transceiver.
Most of the time, the transmission line should have 50 ohm impedance for maximum power transfer with the antenna. You can determine the PCB transmission line dimensions for achieving proper impedance by using a special calculator such as the free tool. I recommend this particular AppCAD because it can handle lots of different types of transmission lines (microstrips, coplanar waveguides, etc.). It’s also the tool that I use myself on a regular basis. Other online calculators are more limited in their options. A matching circuit, like an LC pi-network, is also usually required between the antenna and the transceiver. This allows you to fine tune the antenna impedance.
Decoupling capacitors not used or improperly placed Most components in a design need a clean, stable voltage. Decoupling capacitors on the power supply rail help serve this function. However, decoupling capacitors need to be as close as possible to the pin that needs the stable voltage to be effective. The power trace from the supply rail also needs to go through the decoupling capacitor before it reaches the pin requiring the stable voltage. For highly sensitive components, such as analog-to-digital converters, a series inductor should also be added. This creates a low-pass LC filter to remove any supply noise. Layout of switching regulators not optimized Two types of voltage regulators exist in electronic designs.
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The first type is a linear regulator. They can waste a lot power but they’re inexpensive and usually simple to layout correctly. Although for especially high power or ultra low-noise applications the layout for a linear regulator becomes more critical.