Electronics > KiCad

Do I need to move to a 4 layer PCB

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This can be done on singe layer with a few jumpers.


--- Quote from: newtekuser on March 04, 2023, 03:32:46 pm ---My routing situation can be seen in the attached picture.

--- End quote ---
But nothing is routed yet here. This is a trivial board that absolutely does not need 4 layer board no matter how cheap it is. More layers does not always mean better. Board with hidden layers are harder to debug and fix,for example.

--- Quote from: newtekuser on March 04, 2023, 03:32:46 pm ---I do like the convenience of dropping vias to the ground plane and connect ground pins

--- End quote ---
You have a ton of space for the ground planes here. This is not even remotely a problem.

Looking at the ratsnest is not helpful here. They always look like nothing will work. Start routing majority of the traces that you can route without interference on a single layer and then see how many unrouted nets you actually have left. Then use via to the second layer.

--- Quote from: newtekuser on March 04, 2023, 03:32:46 pm ---Also like mariush's idea of using zero ohm resistors to jump across traces.

--- End quote ---
This is 100% not necessary here.

Footprint placement is a very important step during PCB design. If you do that wrong, then routing a PCB becomes a big mess easily, and it is a factor that beginners sometimes do not realize.
For a project like this, It is often easiest to start with the output connector, and then connect it to the darlington driver IC (I assume its somewhat like the ULN2803) without wires crossing. Then from the darlington IC, you can draw the wires to your microcontroller in a convenient routing pattern, And as a last step, you adjust the software definitions to use the pin layout you created. KiCad does not have special functions for this "reverse design", but you can have both the schematic and PCB open at the same time, and there is cross probing which also helps.

 Another big factor is making the PCB too small, so there is not enough room for the tracks, but that is probably not the issue here.

Show a schematic, and your goal. Is this going to be a product? Is this just a hobby board?

Chances are you'd only need a single-layer board as some have said, I've certainly prototyped this kind of stuff on single-layer PCBs back when I prototyped boards making my own PCBs with the toner transfer method.

Now if you're going to have the PCB manufactured, single-layer almost doesn't make any sense these days, as now only very few companies offer single-layer PCBs, at least for individuals at low quantities (only big companies making millions of products still use single-layer boards for the most part, even sometimes not FR4, for things like power supplies, panel PCBs holding buttons and  LEDs, etc.)

With a few exceptions and special deals, 4-layer PCBs unsurprisingly cost approx. twice what 2-layer PCBs of similar class do. And you probably don't need 4-layer here, but again if you can share a schematic and the application, we may have more accurate advice.

Problem solved! As suggested, I reassigned some pins and was able to route everything. :-+


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