Right the First Time: Modular PCB Design for Makers
Date: 13th Oct – SundayTime: 10:00-10:30Location: Ballroom A
Designing your custom-made electronic circuit boards is the next logical step for stepping up your microcontroller project. After mastering the art of embedded software development, creating your custom hardware enables more elegant designs, lowers power budget and unlocks higher performance at a smaller size.
We describe a low-risk method for designing custom embedded microcontroller designs. With a step-by-step approach, you do not have to dig into the full scary stack of electronic engineering to create your embedded designs and finally bring your custom design to production. Your PCB peripherals can range from conventional sensors and switches to specialised display controls, external storage and wireless transceiver features. You can use all these fancy electronic parts without bulky adapter PCBs as they enter the market.
Once you decide on the type of microcontroller at the core of your project and you familiarise yourself with its firmware, implementing new peripherals on your custom PCB can become risk-free when following a few basic guidelines. We explain how you can dissect your design into modular function blocks. Once proven to work, you can contain complex electronic analogue circuits in reusable modules. Your circuit block collection grows one peripheral at a time.
By establishing alternative parts and footprint options in your component library, your project can transition through the different stages from prototyping to mass production. This flexibility keeps you also prepared for shortages in the availability of specific component variants and unexpected longer lead times.
In analogy to the software build process, configuring a build environment with the right set of rules for your electronic design is essential. Like a compiler check, the design rule check (DRC) verifies the electronic and mechanical functions of your circuit. It is vital to specify the settings as detailed as possible to avoid unnecessary mistakes and debugging on the physical board. Most PCB design tools offer a long list of rule settings for schematics and layout helping you to find schematic flaws. Component and board manufacturer often provide you with design rules in their datasheets and requirements. We show how these map to PCB design rules.
This talk provides hands-on advice on how to choose suitable components and create schematics in a clear and structured way. The focus is on PCB layout and preparing the PCB design for prototyping and small/medium scale manufacturing.
electronic circuit design basics
using function blocks in schematics for modularity
organising component libraries, BOM
preparing rulesets, DRC/ERC
component placement and PCB layout
design for testability
thermal dissipation and parasitics
creating production files (panelisation, PCB Gerber files, Pick & Place files)
external PCB assembly services and testing
integrating your PCB design with nice looking housings