Think when designing a PCB

April 7, 2017 | 06:00
Think when designing a PCB
Think when designing a PCB
To many people designing a printed circuit board (PCB) is more or less an (annoying) detail or a mere afterthought. The circuit has been tested thoroughly, and then, without thinking about it too much, they plunk it on a circuit board to make it easier to move around, hopefully without any wires coming loose or components dropping off.

Even if such a naive approach may work for simple, low-power, and low-frequency circuits, it is wrong. Simple circuits need good PCBs too. Good PCBs not only make a circuit work reliably and as intended, they also limit radiated noise as much as possible, they provide test points for system assembly and repair, and they are easy to fit in the final application.

Because that is what a circuit board really is, a component within a larger system, and as such it has to be as good as any other component used in that system. A PCB design isn’t intended to please the designer, it should please the end user, whoever that may be.

So, the next time you design a PCB, please think it through a bit further. It doesn’t have to be as small as possible; you are allowed to use text objects, and please, please, don’t forget the mounting holes.

Here's one more afterthought: what about the board’s power supply? Did you think about that?

About Clemens Valens

Started working for Elektor in 2008 as editor in chief of Elektor France; was involved for a while with the Elektor websites and has since been active as technical manager of the lab. Is also editor for Elektor UK/US and Elektor Online. >>

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