Author Topic: How does one become good at doing PCB design?  (Read 7866 times)

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Offline matrixofdynamism

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How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« on: February 19, 2012, 11:08:43 pm »
I have done some very limited PCB design in my final year undergraduate project, it was just a two layer bord with a few components. It was fun, easy, and quite straight forward. I used Eagle PCB for it. Later however I had to design another board for a 100 Pin surface mount chip with a couple of dozen components, resistors and capacitors actually. That is when I felt the pain, so many components and so many connections to make, that simply did not seem to fit on 2 Layers! I gave up on that ultimately and modified the Project work instead.

I have since wondered how does one become good at PCB design? If I start with a couple of dozen components and a limited area and number of layers, how do I know where to fit what? Should I scatter the resistors or group them together?, should I scatter the capacitors or group them together?, what to do if two tracks are overlapping and I just can't find a way to route them since everthing else is soo crowded. A single track can get one stuck and force one to rip up and redo the whole thing  isn't it?

Is this how it always is? How do I know how many layers a PCB will need for a circuit? Why can't we just leave it all to the computers to work out - all of it??
 

Offline IanB

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2012, 11:28:08 pm »
"How does one become good at doing PCB design?"

Practice. Practice and experience. Practice and experience and studying design principles. Studying and experience and studying design principles and guidance from more experienced practitioners.

How does one become good at anything?  ;)
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Offline Joshua

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How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2012, 11:59:03 pm »
Watch Dave's latest videos on designing the pcb for his power supply project. Might give you some good ideas.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 01:28:09 am »
Practice.  but more importantly, by making mistakes :P
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Offline Rerouter

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 01:33:02 am »
the only way to become good is like others have said, practice, looking over your old designs and trying to optimise them with what you have learnt is one of the better ways for people who have play around before
 

Offline damo

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 01:46:59 am »
PCB design can also be described in terms of graph theory in particular the idea of planar graphs (graphs that can be embedded into a plane, the type the old world is based on, not the flying variety :P). If the circuit can be drawn without crossing the wires (nc wires) then you can produce the board without using any jumpers. It is, of course allowable to have a certain number of wires crossing components.

Oh... and practice, practice, practice ;)
 

Offline Neilm

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 08:08:22 pm »
In addition to the above - debugging the boards you have laid out. First time I did a board that had surface mount, I messed up the copper pour and managed to short out one particular track. It ended up that the board would blow up every so often. (As the thing thought the track should have been connected to the copper pour it wasn't spotted.)

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Offline JuKu

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 07:05:38 am »
Assembling boards you designed (or take criticism from those that had to build your first boards) is very good, too.
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Offline Simon

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 07:47:21 am »
sometimes just moving stuff around using trial and error can alter the balance of things enough to allow you to make the board work, I often move stuff around and then run the autorouter just to see how messy i made it, then rip is all up again and move parts and rerun the autorouter. Laying parts out is the first key, then comes the actual routing.
 

Offline PStevenson

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 03:47:54 pm »

one thing I did to practice when I started was to press the auto-route button and then try and improve what it had done.
that helped get me started but I ditched the idea after about 5 times doing that.

then I started doing lots of board layouts of any schematics I could find on the net for practice.

and of course I read Daves PCB book

anything I layout for manufacture I do a few times (for the practice and because I just really enjoy doing it)
after all that I've gotten pretty good at it
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Offline IntrepidN00b

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2012, 07:58:44 pm »
I think Hack-A-Day or adafru.it had a post some time ago from some european PCB manufacturer that had posted a very exhausting series of tutorials on pcb design.

But I cant seem to find the link on either of them.
I'll see if I can't find it in my gargantuan bookmarks archive
 

Offline DavidDLC

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Re: How does one become good at doing PCB design?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2012, 08:02:51 pm »
Practice but also read and watch videos about PCB design, use the available tools to calculate the different parameters.

Also design more complex PCBs with the time.
 


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