07/24/2020 at 11:51 •
Are you trying to build a printed circuit board? And are you trying to create a seamless, error-free high-quality one at that? There is so much that can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing, and if you’re a beginner you want to do your research.
Image Courtesy: Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)
Visualize what your final product should be
One very common mistake beginners make is not knowing what they want their final product to be. You must have a clear goal in mind to work towards, what your circuit board will be used for, clarifying to yourself what your final product will look like and what it will do can immensely help reduce errors and make your board as efficient as possible.
Choose the right software
Once you’ve visualized what you want your final product to be, you move on to the designing. For this, you need to choose the right software. Choosing the right software can help give you a seamless design. PCB design software allows electronic engineers to design layouts for PCBs, to use PCB libraries for previously used circuit board component designs, and to verify schematic designs. Some top PCB design software today includes Autodesk EAGLE, KiCad EDA, and Altium Designer.
A PCB as a design on a computer (left) and realized as a board assembly populated with components (right).
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Optimize your board design
The next step is to optimize your design. Look at your board size, look at the components you’ll be using. Your goal should be to make the board as small as possible since smaller electronic devices are in demand today. Try to keep your design as simple as possible, the simpler design will be more efficient than an overly complex one, plus you’ll reduce the chances of error by going for a simple design.
Choose your board material wisely
Next, you need to focus on the materials you are using. If you want a high-quality PCB, the materials you use must be of the highest quality you can get too. For this, you need to make sure you are on terms with a high-quality manufacturer that will not only provide you with good material but will also see to the proper construction of your PCB.
Check your Gerber files
Once you have a design ready, you need to test your design and look for potential errors and room for improvement. Start by checking your Gerber files. What is a Gerber file you ask? Gerber files are the industry standard for PCBs, It is easily understood by everyone who is familiar with the file system. So when you send files to manufacturers, it gets easier to work on a common base.
The Gerber file includes the description of the components of the PCB and relevant information in a way the manufacturer will easily understand. The first generation of Geber files includes the RS-274-D (the Standard Gerber), the second generation is the RS0274X (Extended Gerber), and the most recent Gerber file format is the Gerber X2.
Now that you know what a Gerber file is and what it does. Once you create the design, there is always a chance of error. This is where the Gerber file viewer steps in. You can use a Gerber file viewer to check and test Gerber files for errors.
Once finished your PCB design, you can go to PCBWay Gerber Viewer to check. PCBWAY-ONLINEGERBER VIEWER
Get a prototype built
Creating a prototype is a step you don’t want to skip, particularly if you’re building PCBs in bulk quantity. This is a way to check if your design has any underlying errors you may have missed. You can also see where improvements can be made to the design. It’s better to get a prototype built and tested beforehand rather than dealing with errors further down the road.
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