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PCB Designing – Common Mistakes and Their Corrective Actions Explained

 Jul 02, 2024

PCB Designing

The reliability and efficiency of any electronic product largely depend on thequality of PCB assembly as well as their manufacturing and fabrication. Evenminor errors in designing and assembling PCBs can lead to functionality- orcircuitry-related issues, costly rework, delays, and sometimes project failures.With PCB designs becoming more complex these days, along with attention toevery small detail, process automation may be required depending on the designcomplexity, number of components to be mounted, and volume. Regardless ofautomation or applying robots for mounting components, it is essential to knowand understand some common design mistakes and prevent them in PCB design andassembly.

6 Common Problems and Their Solutions in PCB Designing Discussed
Here are some typical problems OEMs and PCB manufacturers must avoid when designingPCB boards. Let’s have a look at it. 

  • Design Files and Documentations: This is probably the most common source of PCB designing errors. Errors in the circuit board documentation can lead to severe challenges and delays. Missing or outdated design files, incomplete assembly drawings, and more can confuse OEMs and PCB assembly engineers. nappropriate or multiple versions of design files and documentation can result in a high risk of misinterpretation, incorrect component placement, soldering errors, or other issues. Therefore, designers must check all the required files,including schematics,layout files, and assembly drawings, and ensure they are latest, up-to-date, and consistent to facilitate a smooth PCB assembly process. 
  • BOM Discrepancies: This is another source of PCB design errors. Discrepancies between the bill of materials (BOM) files and the components used can result in soldering mistakes, incorrect part placement, procurement of wrong part numbers, or component shortages during the process. These discrepancies occur due to inaccuracies in the file, such as incorrect part numbers, missing components, variations in component specifications or substitutions, etc. To avoid such issues, both OEM and PCB design teams should review and verify the BOM against the circuit board design and ensure alignment with procurement. 
  • Inadequate Clearances and Spacing: Inappropriate clearances and spacing between components, pads, and traces can lead to short circuits during assembly or operation. This happens especially when the PCB undergoes thermal expansions or mechanical stress.Thus, designers and technicians should adhere to industry standards and specifications for proper clearance and spacing. Before the final layout of the circuit board,designers must review the design as per the manufacturers’ guidelines. They must utilize design rule checks (DRC) and space constraints in the design. 
  • Poor Thermal Management: Most PCBs experience overheating components during operation, especially if ventilation and heat dissipation are not considered during the design stage. This can lead to performance degradation or even premature failure. Inadequate consideration of heat dissipation in the circuit board layout can affect soldering quality during assembly. Incorporate heat sinks, thermal vias, and copper pours strategically to dissipate heat effectively. Additionally, conducting thermal analysis using simulation tools helps identify hotspots and optimize component placement for improved performance. 
  • Signal Integrity Issues: Reflections,crosstalk, and impedance mismatches are common signal integrity issues caused by improper PCB layout techniques. These issues can degrade electronic circuit performance, leading to data errors or signal distortion. To avoid this, it is essential to employ best practices for signal routing, including minimizing signal path lengths, maintaining consistent trace widths, and more. Utilize impedance-controlled routing for high-speed signals and ensure proper termination to mitigate signal integrity issues. 
  • Lack of Testability: PCB designs that lack provisions for debugging and testing lead to challenges during PCB assembly and post-production testing. Difficulty accessing test points can prolong troubleshooting efforts and increase market delivery time.Collaborate with experienced and skilled engineers early in the design process to ensure adequate test coverage and accessibility.

Designingand assembling PCBs requires exceptional technical skills, adequate experience,and precision. A single mistake can lead to massive losses. Theseabove-mentioned pointers may be helpful to prevent such errors. A standard PCB designing and assembly process assures performance-driven circuit boards. If you plan to design a PCB for your next application, consult an expert in thissegment. Accelerated Assemblies is one famous name on the list. The companyspecializes in PCB design, PCB manufacturing, and assembling to meet the demands ofmodern applications. They provide these boards with custom specifications. Formore information, Contact us today. 

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