Tips on PCB layout design – vital things to remember

Engineers are in the habit of paying attention to the latest circuits and components, as well as the programming code, as these are some of the most vital aspects of any electronics project-work.

But they often tend to neglect the PCB layout, the one critical electronics component that is of immense value. Reliability and functional problems are quite common when an engineer neglects to improve the PCB layout. Today, we will be talking about some tips regarding PCB layouts.

All these tips are quite practical, and hence, are easy to follow to make your project reliable and correct in terms of functionality.

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Making the loops small

The loops on the PCB, especially the high frequency ones, need to be made small for better functionality. These smaller loops showcase lower resistance and inductance, which is good. If the engineers try to place the loops over a ground plane, they will be making sure that the inductance is further reduced.

Using small loops also makes sure that the signals, that are broadcast from the node, or are coupled from external sources into the node, are reduced in amount. Until and unless you are given the job of designing an antenna, this is exactly what you want from your PCB layout. You can also use small loops for preventing noise from unnecessary coupling to co-amp circuits.

Properly sizing the traces

When a PCB layout comes with real world copper traces, the circuit has a higher resistance amount. This usually means a voltage drop for the trace, coupled with power dissipation and an unnecessary rise in core temperature during flow of current.

Expert PCB designers are in the habit of using width, thickness and length for the purpose of controlling PCB trace resistance. This is vital, as resistance is an intrinsic property of the metal, which is used to make the PCB trace. The designers do not possess the skill or the power to alter the physical properties of the trace metal, so they focus what they can actually control, the size of the traces.

When working on a PCB board with multiple layers, a designer to remember that the traces located on the external layers of the board are much more prone to cooling than the ones on the internal layers, owing to the passage of heat through the board and the material with which the PCB is designed. This fact needs to be kept in mind when designing the layout.

Being careful with the Kelvin connections

For every PCB designer, Kelvin connections are of the utmost utility for proper measurements of the board. These connections are precise and exact so as to allow for the lowest possible levels of inductance and stay resistance. For example, the Kelvin connections on a current sense resistor must be placed in an exact manner on the resistor pads, so as to allow for better functionality.

These are some of the tips that you can follow to build the perfect PCB layout. More such tips can be found on websites like circuitstudio.com. So keep your eyes open.


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