PCB Design Tips

Document created by GUO XIAOLI Employee on Jul 12, 2012Last modified by johnmc on Feb 13, 2013
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Below is one example process of creating a PCB.


Create a Bill of Materials (BOM)

In other words, decide which devices you want to use and what you will need to construct your circuit. If space is a constraint, picking the right device package is crucial.


Create a Pin List

Once you have all your devices. Create a simple Excel sheet of the various pin-outs from each of these devices. The goal here is to create a reference of which pin goes to which. This will greatly increase your accuracy in the next step…


Create a Schematic

You will need to download and install a schematic-and-layout-program.

Using your schematic program create any needed device libraries and then create the schematic for the board.


Create a Layout

Once your done with the schematic, layout is just routing the traces around the PCB as efficiently as possible.
Some tips for good routing.

  • Use a ground plane (aka solid fill) - This helps with transient signals, and reduces trace congestion.
  • Keep any noisy signals away from data signals (keep the motor driving lines away from data lines)


Generate Gerbers and Drill Files

  • Read the website of the Manufacturer that will be building your boards. Most of them do a good job of explaining what format the design needs to be in for them to do the job correctly. Some manufactures support the layout files from certain software toolsets (usually their own). Gerbers are pretty much the universal language though.

Send to Board Manufacturer and order your BOM.

Below are some of the most popular ones in the USA. If you have a resource in your area please add to the list below.

  • pcbexpress.com
  • sunstonecircuits.com


Related Links

Training by Freescale on Effective PCB Design

General PCB design Engineering Articles from Quick-teck PCBs