Prototype PCBs are a great way to design both basic and complex of electronic devices. Prototype PCBs were once a part of every TV, mobile phone, and computer. In today?s highly technological times, it is even likely that they are a part of many more of the devices that we use on a daily basis. While basic PCB fabrication designs are relatively simple, more complex of designs take more planning and fabrication services. If you are currently working on advanced prototype PCBs, you will want to keep the following design tips in mind.
Keep record of all changes
Designing an advanced prototype circuit board is similar to building a complex web design. Making one single mistake can affect the entire design of the product. If you are unable to find that single mistake, you could waste time and money. When you keep a record of all changes made to a prototype, you can easily backtrack and identify the problem. Additionally, keeping record of any and all changes made will help others in the design and printing process better understand the requirements of the electronic product.
You can easily keep detailed records of these changes with online programs. Even using a hard copy legend is better than nothing. While record keeping may not be necessary in basic or smaller designs, you will find it invaluable to your advanced prototype PCBs process. For even larger of products, consider using a PCB cam software program. This program can be shared with others working on the project for a simple design process.
Utilize multiple layers
Keeping one design among a single layer not only makes things more confusing, but can also affect the electronics of the project. Prototype PCBs that are complex should have numerous layers. Each of these layers should be worked on sub sequentially and minor details should always be considered. Using FR4 epoxy materials can also be helpful in the complex PCB designs. FR4 glass epoxy is the primary insulating substrate upon which the vast majority of rigid PCBs are produced. A thin layer of copper foil is laminated to one or both sides of an FR4 panel. Circuitry interconnections are etched into copper layers to produce printed circuit boards. Complex circuits, like the one you are designing, are produced in multiple layers.
Give sufficient time for printing
Currently, there are three methods to print the legend, which contains the component designators, switch settings, test points, and other indications helpful in assembling, testing, and servicing the circuit board, silk screen printing, liquid photo imaging, and ink jet printing. While quick turn PCB printing services are available in most printing manufacturers, they are not generally ideal for more advanced of PCB designs. It is best to not rush the complex designs of an advanced project. Instead, attempt to extend your project time, especially if the design part of the project takes longer than expected.
Keep duplication in mind
Perhaps one of the biggest problems with advanced PCB designs is the ability to duplicate it. Most projects are designed with the intention of main streaming them at some point. If your legend is too complex and does not contain detailed enough of records, it can be almost impossible to accurately duplicate it for further production. Instead, you can extract both an IPC356 industry standard netlist and a PentaLogix F04 format netlist that includes trace information. This trace information within the prototype printed circuit board is important in later duplicating the project.
Printed circuit boards can be very simple, or extremely complex. More complex of projects usually produce more advanced of electronic projects. If you are in the design process of an advanced PCB prototype, you will want to keep these tips in mind. They will ensure that your project is designed, printed, and duplicated correctly.