Published On: Fri, Jun 30th, 2017

PCB, the Vital Element of Electrical Engineering

Printed circuit boards (PCB) are elements of electronic gadgets. They consist of boards which come in either plastic or resin and solder, which are basically the metal parts through which energy passes. Solder often comes in the form of copper and ensures that connections between parts of the electronic gadget and PCB are efficient. The PCB board features a silkscreen layer which acts as a guideline to show how connections are made.

Apart from supplying power, PCBs aid gadget operations by channeling signals to various components. Gadgets can hardly function without a PCB. In this case, PCB is a fundamental aspect of all electronic gadgets. PCB boards are described according to the number of layers they have. PCB layers can feature anywhere from one to ten depending on the intricacy of the gadget. More complex gadgets tend to have more PCB layers. Additionally, the layers can either be double or single sided featuring copper layers for each side. Intricate gadgets are likely to have more copper.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

What are the features of a modernized PCB?


  • Via types


Vias make interconnections between elements and layers possible. They come in various types which include buried, through, blind, and micro. The best PCB design is one that consists of minimal types of via. Before settling on a particular type of via, it is important to consult with a PCB expert to ensure that they are capable of handling the required task. In addition, individuals should confirm the current capacity of each via.


  • PCB stack-up


PCB stack up is the most crucial part of a PCB. It determines the number of layers in the PCB and enables the engineers to identify the effective resistance of different layers in order to accomplish the required cost target, reliability, and returns.


  • Design rule


Design rules determine the effectiveness of the physical layout of a specific chip. This includes layer allocation, crosstalk budgets, placement of components, and length matching. This process also includes DFM which ensures that completed designs are ready for manufacture.


  • Signal integrity


In order to ensure good signal performance, engineers perform signal integrity simulations before and after layout. This is done to test the signal fall and rise, the effective resistance, and the track lengths. The engineers will also determine the slew rates and signal drive strength.


  • Power Integrity


Power integrity is the process of ensuring that the required current and voltage are discharged from the origin to the target destination.


  • Breakout strategy


Breakout strategy is performed before signal verification. This is to ensure that all signals can channel and breakout on high pin count gadgets. Usually, this impacts PCB stack-up. It determines how deep a micro-via breakout should be stacked which enables engineers to choose the channeling strategy they wish to use.


The above list forms the basis of information that Every PCB Designer Needs to Know. Ofcourse, PCB is a wide topic that requires more complex drawings and information to be able to articulate it adequately. However, this list should lay a perfect foundation for any individual striving to sharpen their PCB design skills.

Author: Nidhi Mahajan

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