For an efficient circuit board design, it’s important to understand the design process and that is what our blog is all about. It provides you a brief description of all the steps involved in the process of our printed circuit board designing and also guidelines that help to create an error-free design, fulfilling the fabrication requirements.

Since there are quite a lot of steps involved, we have divided the process into two fundamental parts:

  1. Before the Design:

–      Concept

–      Define electrical hierarchy

–      List of components to be used

–      Component development

–      Determine the mechanical/electrical requirements

–      A schematic diagram of the board

–      Prototyping onto bread board if possible


  1. Preparing the Design:

–      Schematic capture

–      Netlist

–      Netlist Verification

–      PCB Design

–      PCB Design verification / PCB DFM

–      Gerber file and NC file o/p

–      Finalize data package for fabrication


  1. Before the Design:

Initially it is just the beginning of the concept or the idea of the design that takes shape. Before the design, all you would require is to select a list of components to be used, data sheet of each component and the components to be used in the electrical schematic.

Then you create a schematic diagram of the board and decide where and how the board fits – whether it fits in a case or cabinet or simply slides into a rack with guide rails or mounting holes?

Define the electrical hierarchy- Define the inputs, outputs or displays as well as the sources of obtaining power or exchanging information.

Determine the mechanical/electrical requirements – Is there any height restriction? Where should the critical components be located?

It would be preferable if you have the components hand soldered onto breadboard in the earlier stage of the design so that the conflicts if any may be cleared then and there. It would also serve to conduct several different implementations of the feature,  benchmark the resulting performance and ensure the correct design decisions.


 We hope this blog will be very useful to indurstend PCB design process .We will come back with part -2 next week .


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Mechanical Layer:

A mechanical layer should minimally contain:

  • The exact board outlines with dimensions.
  • Exact positions and sizes for all inside milling,FF slots or cutouts with dimensions. 

Additional information that should be included in the mechanical plan when needed:

  • A reference hole: the distance from one drill hole in X and Y to the PCB outline.
  • All drills using different symbols for each different drill size.
  • PTH/NPTH indication for holes and slots
  • A clear layer sequence or buildup drawing including all copper layers, soldermask and legend layers, any additional layers like peel-off or carbon, in the correct sequence viewed from top to bottom and with the correct corresponding data file name.


Use top viewed right-reading text to label every gerber layer to prevent mirror board production.

Board outline:

Make sure your design o/p includes board outline in every layer.


Gerber output:

Make sure you turn all used layers while giving gerber o/ps. So there is no confusion for extra / missing files.


You can also visit our Design Guideline page for more information.
To review the complete list of PCB Design Tips page Here.

Stay tuned for next week PCB Design tips.

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  1. If the circuit is very large and it can become unreadable and difficult to follow in a single sheet. Then it makes sense to separate logically different parts into a new sheet or functionally different parts into separate sheets.

2. Decoupling capacitors must be physically close to the parts they are decoupling.


You can also visit our Design Guideline page for more information.

To review the complete list of PCB Design Tips page Here.

Stay tuned for next week PCB Design tips.


Continue reading...
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