Printed circuit boards require keen attention to detail and meticulous design planning. One small mistake and the board won’t work properly. In our years of providing PCB layout services, we have seen similar mistakes made time and time again. Here are some of the most common PCB board layout errors.
1. Incorrect Landing Patterns
Many projects require you to work with electronic components above and beyond what is included in the libraries. On their own, the libraries have pre-designed schematic symbols, but when you add more components you have to manually draw schematic symbols and landing patterns. Being off by even a fraction of a millimeter can bring your project to a halt.
2. Wireless Antenna Placement
The world has gone wireless and many PCBs require a wireless antenna, but it can’t just be placed anywhere. For best results, use a microstrip calculator to ensure that the antenna and transceiver are properly connected. This typically requires a 50-ohm microstrip transmission line, but use a calculator to be sure. You will also need an LC matching circuit to ensure maximum power transfer.
3. Placement of Decoupling Capacitors
Decoupling capacitors can’t do their job unless they are placed as close as possible to the pin that requires power and voltage. You need power to transfer to the decoupling capacitor before going to the pin needle, otherwise voltage will not be stable. Power must then be transferred to the output capacitor, which means it must be placed close to the output pin.
4. PCB Trace Width
It is easy to miscalculate PCB trace width. For proper calculation you must factor in whether it is an internal or external layer and the thickness/weight of the trace copper. To be safe, aim for a 10C rise—but never more than 20C. To minimize error, use a trace width calculator.
5. Improper Use of Vias
You must understand the difference between through, blind, and buried vias to connect the layers of your PCB. If you select the incorrect via, your board won’t be manufacturable.
All the errors above are costly and time-consuming. To eliminate these common PCB mistakes, outsource your layout and design to BESTProto. This is one of the many PCB layout services we provide!