10 Rules for PCB Layout Design


Oct 24, 20234560

10 Rules for PCB Layout Design

Nowadays, semiconductors are becoming more and more integrated. Many appliances also have system-level chips that are readily available. Many out-of-the-box development boards are powerful, but lots of electronic products still require customized PCBs. In one-off development, even an ordinary PCB can play an important role. The PCB is the most flexible part of the original component electronic system design.


Here are 10 rules that electronic design engineers should remember for PCB layout design and commercial manufacturing. Most of these have remained unchanged since the birth of commercial PCB design 25 years ago. They apply to a wide variety of PCB design projects. These are useful to young electronic design engineers and PCB manufacturers.


1. Choose the right grid set, and use grid spacing that matches most of components.


Although multi-grid seems to be effective, if engineers can think early in PCB layout design, they can avoid the problems encountered in spacing settings and maximize the application of the board. In fact, many devices use multiple package sizes. Engineers should use the strategy that is most beneficial to their design.


Additionally, polygons are important for PCB copper. Multi-grid PCB generally produces multi-corner filling deviations when applying polygonal copper. While it's not as standard as being based on a single grid, it can provide more than required board life.


2. Keep the path shortest and most direct.


This sounds simple, but should be kept in mind at every design stage, even if it means changing the board layout to optimize trace lengths.


3. Use power planes whenever possible to manage the distribution of power and ground wires.


For most PCB design software, coppering the power plane is a fast and easy option. By connecting a large number of wires together, you ensure maximum efficiency and minimum impedance or voltage drop for current flow while providing an adequate return path to ground.


4. Group related components with the required test points.


5. Copy the desired board multiple times onto another larger board for PCB imposition.


Choose the size of the device that best suits the manufacturer will help reduce costs. Start by laying out the board, contact the board manufacturer to get their preferred size specifications, then modify your design specifications and try to iterate your design multiple times within those boards sizes.


6. Consolidate component values.


As a designer, you choose discrete components with higher or lower component values but the same performance. By integrating within a smaller range of standard values, the bill of materials can be simplified and costs reduced. If you have a range of PCB products based on the value of your preferred components, it will help you make the right inventory management decisions from a longer-term perspective.


7. Perform design rule checks (DRC) whenever possible.


Although it only takes a short time to run the DRC function on PCB software, in more complex design environments, a lot of time can be saved as long as it is checked frequently during the design process. This is a good habit worth keeping.


8. Use screen printing flexibly.


Screen printing can be used to mark a variety of useful information for future use by PCB manufacturers, service or test engineers, installers, or equipment debuggers. Not only should functional and test point labels be clearly marked, but also the orientation of components and connectors should be indicated wherever possible, even if these notes are printed on the underside of the components used on the board (after the board is assembled). The full application of screen printing technology on the top and bottom of the board can reduce repetitive work and simplify the production process.


9. Choose decoupling capacitors.


Don't try to optimize your design by avoiding decoupled power lines and based on limiting values in component datasheets. Capacitors are cheap and durable. You can spend as much time as you like assembling the capacitor. Also, follow Rule 6 and use standard value ranges to keep your inventory tidy.


10. Generate PCB manufacturing parameters, and verify them before submitting them for production.


Although most PCB manufacturers are happy to do it for you to verify, you'd better do it for yourself.


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