Since the time printed circuit boards are being designed; placement of components over the board has been given significant importance while routing hasn’t got its due share of importance. Hence, most PCB designers don’t give much consideration to routing. However, routing is equally important as the placement of components, when designing a printed circuit board. In this post, we have compiled certain tips to help you ensure that the PCB design created by you will turn out to be successful when implemented in the application.
Never Depend Completely on the Autorouter
With the evolution of PCB design software, designing a printed circuit board hasn’t remained that complex as it used to be. Nearly every PCB design software comes with an Autorouter. While you may think that using the Autorouter you can complete the routing part in a simple and easy manner; you must know that the same must not be followed.
An Autorouter is there only to aid and assist you and can never be declared as a replacement for routing your printed circuit board yourself. However, you can use the Autorouter to check out your completion rating and to find out bottlenecks in your PCB design. Apart from this, it is not smart to use the Autorouter. Since you have created the design of the printed circuit board you will be able to better route it yourself since the Autorouter is never completely accurate. For immaculate and impeccable routing you need to depend on yourself.
Check out the Width of Your Traces
It is understandable that when electricity will pass through the printed circuit board designed by you, it, certainly, will produce a good amount of heat. Hence, you need to have a check on the width of the traces that you have provided on your printed circuit board. Wider you keep the traces; electricity will face less resistance when moving pass through the board designed by you.
Hence, it is essential that you have a talk about the same with the manufacturer. If the manufacturer allows you to increase the width of your traces, you must go for it. Wider the traces lesser are the chances of the connections breaking up on the printed circuit board. A good PCB design software has a lot of intelligent routing tools that help you a lot with your trace routing. A very good example of this is the new and improved Protel PCB by Altium which has many different interactive routing tools at your disposal to aid and assist you with the routing process.
Check the Space that you have left between Traces
It is essential that you must leave enough space between the traces and pads on the printed circuit board designed by you. Not enough space and you run the risk of getting your printed circuit board short-circuited. This is because if there is not enough space between the traces; the traces which are not required to connect with themselves, will unknowingly connect with each other during the manufacturing process. Hence, there is a high possibility that your board will get short-circuited as and when the electricity is made to pass through it. As a result of this, the final application in which the board is being used can also get damaged resulting in loss of essential resources and an escalation in total cost encountered over the PCB project. Of course, you don’t want that to happen.
Leave enough space between Traces and Mounting Holes and Components
For effective PCB routing, you must have enough space between traces, components and the mounting holes. It is needless to say over here that if there is not enough space between the various components, traces and mounting holes you are, actually, propelling your board towards developing a shocking electrical disaster. Hence, when you are putting the mounting holes, always leave a circle of space around the actual width of the mounting hole so as to keep it separate from the traces and components that have been placed nearby.
These are only some of the major tips that can help you smoothly sail through the routing phase. Remember, you must give due importance to routing and plan for it at the same time you are designing the printed circuit board to avoid any kind of surprises later on.