Prototype PCBs are complex little pieces of technology. But they don’t have to be confusing! So here are some tips on how to properly design and layout printed circuit boards.
1. Ensure the important nodes are accessible
This is important so in case there is a electrical failure down the line, you will be able to inspect all the important nodes to find where it is being short circuited.
2. Put adequate space between the components
You will need to route the wires efficiently, so spacing is incredibly important so you will have enough room! Proper spacing will also make soldering easier down the line.
3. Number your components
This helps you keep track of everything so you do not miss a step! Number one should be placed in the upper left hand corner, then move down and across.
4. Print the component guide
Do this to ensure the size of your board actually fits the layout of the prototype printed circuit board. Sometimes, the sizes are not always correct, and you do not want to get into the middle of a project only to have to start over.
5. Watch the direction of your wires
This will stop confusion, so have all horizontal wires on one side, and vertical ones on the other.
6. Keep the current and the size of the widths in mind
Larger, more powerful currents require more space, it reduces resistance, and reduces the level of heat caused by dissipation. So if this is compromised, your board will not work.
7. Stay away from 90 degree angles
These are too hard to wire and route as it is hard to keep the trace width consistent, so stay with 45 degree bends.
8. Use the silkscreen to your advantage
Prototype PCBs come with silkscreens and are helpful for labeling all the different components on the board. At the end of the day, this will be great for the consumer as it lets them know what the board is for, the author of the board, and a revision number for the board.
9. Keep track of the heat usage
Find out what components use the most power, and where they are. This is crucial for the well-being of the board so it doesn’t overheat and malfunction.
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