A Simple Intro Guide on Prototype PCBs
Electronics are everywhere. From telephones, computers, and cell phones, to children toys and television, they are filled with prototype printed circuit boards. These PCBs can be quite complex and for a beginner, they can be hard to wrap your head around. Luckily for you, we have created a beginner’s guide to PCB, so here is everything you need to know to make a successful circuit.
What exactly is circuit board prototyping?
Back before the development of this technology, old electronics had to rely on their circuits being connected by simply one wire. This could lead to plenty of failures and problems, so to make things less complex, engineers started to compile everything into one board.
What is the design of these printed PCBs?
Think of the PCB prototype assembly as something similar to a cake. There are different layers such as frosting, fruit filling, the cake itself and sprinkles. In general, there are four different layers including the silkscreen, copper, soldermask, and substrate FR4. When everything is laminated together, the finished product is the result.
What exactly are these different components?
The FR4 is the fiberglass that is the base of the PCB fabrication and assembly. As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the board, the more complex it will be.
Copper is what the electrical components are attached to. Soldermask is a solution that is meant to prevent any accidental electrical currents from hitting the copper.
Silkscreen is basically the design of all the components, printed out into the board so the engineer will know exactly where to place the components so the prototype PCB assembly will go by smoothly.
Some of the best tips for PCB design include:
- Place the components only on the top of the board.
- Use a silkscreen or at least a printed out design beforehand so you know exactly where you need to put everything. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of the process and then figure out you are missing something!
- Lay the power and the ground traces at exactly the same time. Put the horizontal traces on one side and the verticle on the other and work from the outside of the board in.
- Run your wires one at a time so you can tell the difference between what one is working and what one isn’t.
These tips will make your PCB prototype assembly go by much quicker.