You’ve designed an innovative new or updated circuit board for your smart technology, but now it’s time for a prototype. Here are a few things to keep in mind before sending your PCB prototype out for production.
Determine Your Top Priority
One of the first things you must determine is your top priority: board size, cost, or layout time. The larger the board, the higher the routing function, but the higher the cost. However, multiple layers on smaller boards are sometimes more expensive than larger prototypes. The smaller the board, the longer it takes to layout.
If your design currently requires a sole-sourced part, consider if you can swap it out for something that is more widely available—if not for the long-term, for your prototypes. Otherwise, waiting for the part you need can cause a bottleneck in your launch date. While easy availability is ideal, also consider if there are any new parts that can improve your current design. And yes, this includes sole-source parts. Just be mindful of turnaround. If you are sending part kits with, create a checklist to double check all parts are accounted for.
Layout and Polarity Markings
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to ensure your board is laid out for maximum efficiency and has clear polarity markings. No large parts next to small parts that can interfere with solder function and no copper planes that overlap only on one side of small parts. Ensure that your polarity markings and reference designators are crystal clear. You know where everything is supposed to go, but if your markings aren’t clear your prototypes may come out incorrectly. The most common cause of incorrect PBC prototype completion is being sent outdated design files. Your prototype has likely evolved, so double check you send the correct version.
Don’t have a prototype partner yet? Reach out to BESTProto today for a quote.