Creating your own printed circuit boards is both challenging and educational. Designing your customized PCB for simple projects is also exciting. But before you start, you need to prepare for the things you need to do.
Start by researching what you need to make a layout of the circuit you want to create. The schematic design is important so take time to look for PCB design software or CAD packages that can help you make the perfect design. There are low-cost and even free programs available on the internet. When choosing, consider the following tips:
1.Capability – Look for software that is versatile and does not place limitations on the number of layers, size of the board, and number of components. Remember that there are programs that force you to pay for increased capacity, which is crucial for making versatile designs.
2.Ease and convenience – Find easy-to-use programs that will not make you confused with their complex process.
3.Portability – Choose the software program that allows you to export, convert, and enhance your designs anywhere.
4.Popularity – If many people are using the design program, then it’s likely that there’s already an abundance of ready-made libraries that you can access for reference.
After picking your chosen software, it is time to begin the process of designing the layout of your own printed circuit boards.
1.Draw your customized schematic diagram using the software tools. Schematic designs are important before making the board.
2.Prepare the board or the base then transfer the schematic diagram to it.
3.Do not hurry. Take time to draw your PCB. Remember that it is your own personal project so you need to make it as polished as possible.
4.Look for layouts that other people have done. Find out how they made them functional and at the same time, good to look at.
5.Keep on practicing and do not be discouraged when you make mistakes.
6.Do not expect too much with your first attempt to make your own design. Expect problems with your designs. Even professional designers face problems so enjoy the challenge when creating your own.
Here are some designing tips you can use when you are building a layout for your printed circuit boards:
1.Choose the size of your board. Make sure that the size does not exceed the capacity of the software you choose. Then choose the appropriate trace width. The ideal is the size of smallest traced width but thicker. Thin traces are easily damaged during soldering. Traces must be thicker in areas that will receive more current. It is necessary in order to avoid the trace to heat up.
2.Then using your schematic as your pattern, place the components in similar way. It makes troubleshooting the circuit easier if needed. To make simple connections, put the connectors on the side area. Keep your capacitors closer to partner pins. Keep in mind where to put the large components, especially if you need to box your project.
3.Add labels, values, and other information that will help you in soldering and troubleshooting. Add names and descriptions to each connectors or pins to understand their functions.
4.For two-layer board, it is best to build horizontal and vertical routes to avoid confusion. For complex kind of printed circuit board, you can design a ground plane to simplify your routing.
5.For RF circuit, use 45 degrees angles instead of 90 degrees on the PCB traces to avoid weird effects. It is also looks more professional.
Finally, print your designed printed circuit boards on a printed sheet of paper to check for possible problems. The paper version of the board helps you find mistakes with connectors or pins. Double-checking all details will prevent actual problems. It will also help you fit tall components or connectors in the box that you will use for packaging.
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