Electronics > PCB/EDA/CAD

Where do you learn PCB design (in Australia)

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I have been an electronics technician for some time, But through trade training in the RAAF and TAFE in NSW, QLD and Victoria I have never really been into CAD and "professional" PCB design. 

I have taught my self on Protel and eagle watching U tube videos, but I learned more from Dave's tutorial and watching the video blogs.  I am still nothing more than an enthusiastic amateur

I want to do some commercial grade work. Where do you learn?  Is there a TAFE course?


Steve W

I'm not aware of any course anywhere, let alone Australia, that will actually teach you PCB design.
The ones offered by the CAD vendors are "how to use our tool step-by-step", and not fundamental PCB design courses.
You learn by doing, and reading snippets here and there about various layout techniques, places like app notes etc.


What I know about PCB design came from studying PCBs, reading data sheets for details on specific routing cases (common with ADCs and DACs) and asking questions on sites like this.

Studying a PCB is a really good idea. Look for junk electronics. It forces you to ask questions that you otherwise might not have thought to ask. How did they route those two high pin count components so close together? Why did they lay out the board the way they did? Why are those traces squiggly? Assuming that this board is a good design, how can I best fit my design similarly? Etc.

It is also a good idea to start from the board on up. If you don't know the size of the board, you wont know how and where to place components. If the board size is entirely up to you, try to make it as compact as possible. Try to place related components as close to each other as possible.

Randall W. Lott:
I am an Electrical Engineering student in the USA.  My peers have very limited knowledge of PCB design.  I would be surprised if they even knew what SMD parts, vias, or Gerber files are.  If you want something badly enough; you will find out how!

I have been practicing and researching PCB design for many years and I've seen a significant improvement in my methodology.  I can assure you; you have do it if you want to get good.

As Dave would probably advocate; open everything that you are able to.  Understanding how and why things are done in successful products is an invaluable experience.  Musicians don't become skilled by only playing.  They also listen and analyze music that they are envious of.

Stay inspired and work at it.  If you put in your best efforts, you will get good.

I would also caution you about chasing after anything because it is "professional". I also frequent a game development board and it is quite common to have someone new to game development ask how to write "professional" code. The typical response is: "I'm a professional game developer. If you saw professional game source code, you would be shocked. Learn to write good code."

I have seen PCBs come out of commercial products, and thus are "professional", that look to be designed by a blind monkey. I have seen homemade PCBs from hobbyists (I am one, BTW) that look amazing. Forget "professional" and learn to design good boards.


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