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Printed Circuit Board Design Process

Printed Circuit Board Design is the First Step towards manufacturing PCB, which is one of the most important part of any electronic device or equipment such as Mobile Phone, Smartphone, Laptop and Desktop Computers etc.

The initial Printed Circuit Board Designing Process was different from the Process that we adopt in modern days.

Initially a PCB was designed manually by creating a photomask on a clear Mylar sheet. With the help of the Schematic Diagram, the component pin pads were laid on the Mylar sheet and then conductive traces were routed to connect the pads using self-adhesive tape.

Modern-Day PCB Designing is done using Dedicated PCB Designing Software. Here I will focus on this Modern-Day and More Advanced and Reliable Printed Circuit Board Design Process and Software.

What is a Printed Circuit Board?

A PCB is a Sheet of Insulating Material with Electrically Conductive Tracks (Generally Copper) Etched on it. This Board has Several Drilled Plated Thru-holes for Thru-Hole Electronic Components. SMD Components are Directly Mounted on the Board and no Drilling or Plating of Holes is required in Case of Surface Mount Technology.

The electronic components are soldered in their respective places. Soldering can be done by Wave Soldering Process, Reflow Soldering or Hand Soldering.

Once all the components are soldered, the Board is Tested and then finally used in the Desired Electronic Device.

PCB Designing Process

There are several modern-day advanced technologies to Design a PCB and Printed Circuit Board Manufacturers can use any one of them or a combination of them depending on the Type of PCB.

These information and guidelines is applicable for all Types of PCB including Single-Layer PCB and Multilayer PCB and information includes substrate information, material properties, criteria for surface plating, conductor thickness, component placement, dimensioning and tolerance rules and more.

The current generic standard for printed circuit board design is IPC-2221A. Other circuit board designing standards are IPC-2220 and IPC-9592. It has to be noted that IPC and other standards will provide information on how to properly route the board.

For easy of understanding the basic Printed Circuit Board Design Process, please go through the following step-by-step procedures of designing a PCB board:

Printed Circuit Board Design Process with a Software

Step-By-Step Procedure:

  • Use any Good EDA (Electronic Design Automation) Tools to Capture Schematic.
  • Keeping in Mind the Type of PCB and Required Circuit, select the Card Dimensions and Template.
  • Determine Position of all the Basic Electronic Components.
  • Determine the Number of PCB Layers.
  • Determine Line Impedance and Stripline.
  • Place Virtual Components and Mark all the Vias and Lands.
  • Route the Signal Traces.
  • Generate the Gerber files.

Design the PCB circuit with Eagle Software

You can use CAD PCB layout software such Eagle and Multisim or Free Software such as Fritzing or TinyCAD. Here I have selected Eagle software to design the circuit:

  • Double Click and Open the Eagle Printed Circuit Board Design Software.
  • From the “Files” Menu, Select “New Design”.
  • Now Go to the “Library” Menu and Select “Pick Devices/Symbol”.
  • Select the Required Component Symbol and Add it at the Desired Place on the Circuit.
  • In the same way, Add all the components and complete the circuit.
  • Add Rating of Each Component as per Requirement.
  • Now, Go to the Command Toolbar and Click “Text Editor Varriages”. Click on the Varriages, and then close the window.
  • Now you will see a Layout of the Circuit on the Screen. This is the film diagram of the circuit that needs to be Printed for Actual Manufacturing of the PCB.

PCB Manufacturing Process

Once you have the Film Diagram of the Circuit Board, the Next Steps are:

  • Step 1: Print from File to Film
  • Step-2: Patterning or Etching
  • Step-3: Photoengraving
  • Step-4: Lamination
  • Step-5: Drilling
  • Step-6: Solder Plating (Solder Resist)
  • Step-7: Silk Screen
  • Step-8: Testing

PCB Assembly Process Flowchart


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