- Over-Complicating Design
Beginner designers can often make mistakes as a result of not knowing the chemistry and processes behind PCB fabrication. Often, this will involve making the design far more complicated than it needs to be. Designers need to stop and think about the actual effectiveness of their design; just because it works on paper, this doesn’t mean that it’s the easiest or most economic method.
- Don’t Skip the Schematic
Beginner designers can often be tempted to skip the schematic step out on their simplest circuit board designs. This is not a step that should be skipped! If there’s a mistake in your circuit design, a properly drawn schematic can help you determine what’s gone wrong and help you see how to correct this mistake.
- Don’t rely on the Autorouter
You should still understand how to route traces yourself with your own hand. Autorouters are very useful tools, they should never be treated as the be-all-and-end-all by beginner designers. This is because autorouters must be specifically programmed by the designer in order for them to spot every weak spot. This programming must be different for each job. The default autorouter settings are not good enough – you should be able to route for yourself to make sure of accuracy.
- Electron flow
Beginner designers can misunderstand the ways in which electrons can behave in a circuit. They can encounter ‘choke points’ at certain parts of the circuit, particularly in trace bends and corners. An experienced designer understands how to design a circuit with this in mind. Watch yourself when using bends over 90 degrees and creating unnecessary ‘switchback’ shapes.
- Avoid Potential Slithers
Beginner PCB designers can often fall into the trap of formulating boards that will cause excess slithers. Slithers are manufacturing failures in which chunks of undissolved copper stick to circuit boards during the chemical bath etching process. These can cause your circuits to short. Experienced designers know to keep the minimum width of copper above their manufacturer’s minimum requirements – this should keep slithers at bay.
- Get knowledge of your fabricators
Each fabricator will have their own individual specifications and methods for producing your PCBs. PCB Train are an accomplished PCB fabricator and allow customers to run different PCB designs within the same order, processing them together. The greater the number of different designs on the sheet, the cheaper the set-up costs will be. We’ve also got fast turnaround and delivery times.