How to Avoid Critical PCB Design Mistakes

As a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) designer it’s your job to constantly be coming up with ideas that work, that produce the kind of results your client is looking for. Unfortunately, all it takes is one critical design mistake to throw the entire project awry, which means added expenses and time. So how can you ensure that as a designer you’re not missing red flags and you’re not forging ahead with designs that will end up failing?

Here’s a look at ways you can avoid those critical design mistakes that are all too common.

PCB designer

Be on the Looking Out for Landing Pattern Errors

One common mistake that can occur is errors in your land pattern. This tends to happen if you use components that aren’t found in the software package. Each software package is pre-loaded with its own electronic components, which have been tested and will work.

When you manually draw up your own landing pattern, you are at a much higher risk of making a mistake. Once a landing pattern is off, then your design won’t be able to work as intended.

You Aren’t Using the Right Software

In the world of PCB design one of the most important tools in your arsenal is the design software. The proper P-CAD software such as that provided by Altium will help you do the job effectively, in a timely-manner, and help to prevent any major design flaws from occurring.

Old, outdated software or software that doesn’t have the correct tools and features will hold you back, rather than help you out.

Have You Thought Through the Layout of the Switching Regulators?

Then there is the topic of your switching regulators, which can also end up being another critical mistake if you’re not careful. These need to be laid out correctly so that they don’t waste power.

Your goal is to optimize them through the layout. This includes the layout of your switching regulator along with the linear regulator.

PCB design consulting
photo credit: University of Oxford

You Haven’t Asked Around for Additional Opinions

One of the ways you can ensure you haven’t missed anything or overlooked a design flaw is to get a second, or even a third opinion to check for mistakes. Understandably you probably have a very tight schedule, so it can be difficult to find time for that second opinion, but if the person is able to point out a critical mistake then you have the time to fix it before delivering a faulty product to the client.

Are the Decoupling Capacitors Close to the Pin?

Decoupling capacitors are what help to provide your design with a consistent and clean voltage. Without a consistent voltage, your design can’t function properly. With that in mind they need to be placed close to the pin.

Save Yourself a Lot of Headaches by Getting It Right

In the end you’ll be able to save yourself from a lot of extra work, expenses, and stress by just taking your time and making sure you take all of these tips into consideration. Getting the design right the first time should always be the goal.