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Custom PCB-The Ultimate Guide To Getting The Best Results

PCB is an indispensable unit in the electronic products that humans use every day, and it plays a role that cannot be ignored. Do you know how to choose a PCB that meets your needs? Or, you want to buy but not sure about the right supplier? No worries! We have created this friendly guide to help you with everything you need to know about Custom PCB. At the end of this article, we would guide you through the path to ensuring that you get the best from the right vendor.


1、Custom PCB


1.1: PCB prototype board


The custom printed circuit board fabrication and design is very important and needed in adding final touches to end products. At the initial stages of development, it is easier to construct on a board that is styled or designed for prototyping.


Custom PCBImage 1: Custom PCB


1.2: Printed Circuit Board Material


Inclusive of the material required for the printed circuit board is the copper clad board material and the positive photoresist. The positive photoresist and copper-clad board are perfect for small product manufacturing. As you might know, the printed circuit board is a very crucial component in any electronics. Before the invention of the printed circuit board, circuit boards were built in such a way that wires go across and get entangled within themselves, and of course, they are prone to various breakdowns after the long life of the wires which becomes old and cracks off. Since these wired circuit boards could not forever be suitable, Created continuous development and led to the invention of PCBs and their materials The material encompassed by the printed circuit board includes:

• Copper: the copper gathers on the thick layer of foundation known as the substrate. Depending on the type of board and use, there can be one or two copper layers present.

• Silkscreen: the silkscreen performs the responsibility of making the printed circuit board readable to technology programmers by adding both numerical and letter indicators.

• Substrate: the substrate is commonly known as FR4, which is an acronym for Fire Retardant. It functions in the provision of a thick layer of foundation for the printed circuit board which of course varies.

• Soldermask

It is important to note that there are other types of the board that does not make use of the above-listed materials. Instead, they make use of epoxies. A disadvantage attached to this type of board is that they are thermally sensitive, which makes them susceptible to fast loss of their lamination. One of the ways to recognize this type of board is through the smell they give when undergoing soldering processes.


Custom PCBImage 2: Custom PCB


1.3: Types of PCB


As briefed earlier, the PCB is a crucial component in different electronics. Now, let's consider the masterpiece behind your TV set and remote, the TV set can change channels from a press on the remote due to the presence of a kind of PCB in the remote. There are many applications of the PCB which ease our very existence and make our daily activities flexible. Depending on the use, PCB manufacturers make use of varying types of PCB to suit different products. The type of printed circuit board includes;


Single-sided PCB


In the earlier part of this article, we mentioned that the substrate varies with use. In the single-sided type of PCB, the substrate contained is just one. A suitable electrical conductor such as copper is used to shield a side of the substrate, the solder mask is present on the copper layer, and a silkscreen coat is usually in use for the marking of the parts of the board. This type of PCB entails designs such that only one side accommodates the circuit and another electronic component. They are commonly referred to in simple electronic manufacturing. An advantage attached to this type of board is that it is more pocket-friendly compared to other types of printed circuit boards.


Double-sided printed circuit boards


Unlike the single-sided printed circuit board, the double-sided printed circuit board has its two surfaces of the substrate coated with conductive metal layers with the parts fixed to the two sides. The double-sided printed circuit boards are in more use when compared to the single-sided printed circuit boards. The holes in the double-sided PCB carries the function of connecting one circuit on a side to the circuit on the other side through one or two techniques. The first technique through which the holes connect the circuit is the surface mount technology –this type of technology or method involves the use of no wires at all. The advantage of this method is that it saves space. The second method is the through-hole technology – this technology or method involves the use of thin wires that is passed through the holes and soldered to the right component.


Multilayer printed circuit boards


The multilayer printed circuit board serves a more function when compared to the double-sided printed circuit board. This type of printed circuit board contains numerous layers of substrate boards with insulating materials parting them into single sheets. Of course! When we talk about how much space can be saved, the multilayer printed circuit board has the capability of saving even more space than the double-sided printed circuit board. The multilayer printed circuit boards can have up to 10 layers or even more. They are used in well-known inventions such as machinery, and so on.


Rigid printed circuit boards


Combining the advantages of having a good number of layers with rigidity is a characteristic of this type of printed circuit board. This type of PCB’s makes use of materials that prevent them from bending, the material used is the fiberglass. An example of the rigid printed circuit board is the board inside your device.


Flex printed circuit boards


Of course from the word "flex," the substrate contained here is flexible. Since the rigid printed circuit board cannot form the desired shape, the flexible printed circuit board can fit well into this category. They offer a good advantage over the rigid type in that they are flexible but also holds an advantage due to their cost.


Rigid-Flex printed circuit boards


The rigid-Flex printed circuit board offers the characteristics of both the rigid printed circuit board and the flex printed circuit board. This type of printed circuit board allows a rigid printed circuit board to be attached to another flexible printed circuit board, which appears to be more difficult than other types of printed circuit boards.


Custom PCBImage 3: Custom PCB


1.4: PCB components


Irrespective of the mindset behind creating any device, there must be components required for different circuits. Below are some of the components which are essential in any electronic product or device.

LEDs: the LED is an acronym which means led emitting diode. The led emitting diode allows current through it; this current is only permitted to flow in a direction.

Resistor: the resistor performs a very important function by regulating or controlling the current and in order to determine their value, they are color coded.

Battery: as the general function of the battery, it is responsible for the supply of energy. The battery is responsible for the supply of voltage to the circuit.

Transistor: the transistor renders a critical function in that it is responsible for the intensification of the charge.

Switch: the switch serves as a component which is used in the control of electric current. The switch can be used to permit the entrance of current or block the entrance of current.

Diode: the diode is a component that permits the entrance of electric current just in one direction. Other passages are blocked while electric current flows in just a direction.

Inductor: the inductor is responsible for the storage of charge.


2、What is PCB DESIGN?


Custom PCBImage 4: Custom PCB


2.1: PCB design basics


In discussing the basics of the PCB design, we require a background familiarity with the terminologies used. When referring to schematic capture, we talk about a program that permits the operator to make a schematic diagram of the component and other features. The schematic capture is just the representation of this in a graphical way. Other terminologies used include:

Gerber files: the Gerber files refer to those Computer-aided design files that are sent to the printed circuit board producers to build the PCB layer structure.

PCB layout tool: the program responsible for the layout of the PCB permits for the wiring connection structure to be applied on multiple layers and which after completion, allows the operator to generate the CAD files needed to make a printed circuit board.


2.2: PCB design steps


In this present age, there are different approaches to the designing of a PCB. Depending on the manufacturer of the PCB, there are many ways to do this. Below are the essential steps noted in the designing of a printed circuit board.


Step 1: use of a software


It is the designing of a printed circuit board with the use of software; it involves schematic representation of the circuit with the use of the software. Examples of layout software that can be used are computer-aided design (CAD) software, mutism software, and eagle software. Let us make use of the eagle software in this article and in doing so, we have; Open the software board designs>>>click on file menu>>>select new design>>>click on library menu>>>select from the drop-down menu ‘pick devices/symbol’>>>double click on a relevant comment>>>add the components and represent the circuit with proper connections.>>>enter the rating of each component>>>click text editor on the command toolbar>>>click on variages>>>close the window>>>after the appearance of a black screen, save as an image format.


Step 2: the generation of film


With the aid of the finalized circuit board diagram of the printed circuit board layout, the generation of the film occurs.


Step 3: Selection of the raw materials


Less expensive printed circuit boards manufactured from paper phenolic bonded with copper foil are used in simple devices. The value of the copper clad laminate is 0.059 thick with either single or double sided board.


Step 4: Drilling holes


Hole in the PCB implemented using machine and drill bit. The first type of machine that can be used in drilling holes into the printed circuit board is the hand machine. This type of machine requires the effort of the operator to make holes into the board. The second type of machine is the automatic type called CNC machines. The programs they run provide the convenience of punching holes on printed circuit boards.


Step 5: fixing the image


In order to print the layouts on the PCB, laser printers are one of the best options in doing this. The process involved in this includes; placing a clean copper layer on the printer>>>storing on the computer the designed layout film>>>printing of the command received from the computer by the laser printer.


Step 6: Etching and Stripping


This stage uses a variety of chemicals to eliminate the useless copper attached to the printed circuit board.


Step 7: testing


After completing the above process, the board will be tested to ensure its functionality. In these recent days, many devices have been manufactured to aid the testing of the large volume of printed circuit boards.


2.3: PCB design software list


• PCB Artist

• Ultiboard

• Altium Designer 17


• DipTrace

• PCBWeb

• BSch3V

• XCircuit

• Gerbv

• KiCad EDA

• DesignSpark PCB

• Eagle PCBs

• CircuitMaker

• Pad2pad


• ZenitPCB

• CircuitStudio

• PCB123


• FreePCB

The above list is the program used in the design of printed circuit boards.


2.3.1: PCB design software comparison


In looking at the comparison between printed circuit board designs, we would consider two software; this software is EAGLE CAD and DIPTrace. This two software are of course picked at random.


DipTrace features:


Capable of schematic captures with components linked to a library, the creation of patterns with the aid of a decent library editor, availability of perfect tutorial and support, great for smaller and simpler boards.




Electrical rule check, the schematic hierarchy for a design organization, forward and backward annotation between schematic and printed circuit board.


2.3.2: best PCB design software


Out of the great number of PCB design software available these days, some plain ones are highly recognizable for their perfect functionality.

• Readily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor (EAGLE): the eagle is a PCB design software that is user-friendly with moderate price. EAGLE has a wide range of proper function which includes: batch execution of script files, copper cladding, and more.

• Altium Designer

• DipTrace Lite

• DipTrace Starter

• Easy EDA


Custom PCBImage 4: Custom PCB


2.4: PCB design rules


There are some rules associated with the printed circuit board design that To use it effectively, and you need to remember it.

Width and Spacing: for the width and spacing, the parameters are usually denoted as “x/y rules” the X in this stands to represent the minimum of trace width while they in this represents the spacing, that is; the minimum trace spacing.

Thickness and size of the board: size and thickness can be set to suit the particular product. Many individuals use more boards on just a panel to conserve space and cost if mass production is to be done.


3、How To Make PCB Layout


3.1: PCB layout design


The printed circuit board layout design requires the technical know-how or professional skills that calls for the knowledge of the printed circuit board software, the printed circuit board computer aided design system, and the skills or methods involved in the successful transfer of the basic circuit design to the final PCB.


3.2: PCB layout comparison


In the comparison of the printed circuit board, certain factors must be watched out for, and these include:

• The size of the board

• Layers available

• Power delivery network analysis

• 3D modeling

• Differential pair routing


3.3: PCB layout tutorial


This section will detail these steps:


Step 1: conversion of the schematic to a printed circuit board


It is the first step associated with the PCB tutorial. After you have successfully done your schematics, you can convert into PCB by clicking on "convert to PCB" on the editor that you are making use of.


Step 2: drag and drop the component


The second step is to place the document at exactly where you want to be positioned. If you are the type that prefers a clean looking printed circuit board, components with similar function should be placed side by side.


Step 3: sketching a custom outline


In doing this, the first thing to do is to go to the layer menu and click on the board outline layer, click on the current outline and delete it after successful completion of, create a new outline with the PCB tools.


Step 4: copper area


The copper area is the best thought of when many parts are to be joined to just a signal. This copper area can be created using the tools menu.


Step 5: Routing


Depending on the type of current, there are two approaches to this method. If you have a low current where you are creating the printed circuit board, the auto-router function can be used. In cases where there is a need for different track sizes, it would be better if this is done manually by you. The auto-router function can be found at the Top of the page.


Step 6: Holes


Of course, in one way or the other you might need to mount your printed circuit board on something, in so doing, holes are required. The Hole tool can be found on the Tools menu and then locate the spot you want.


Step 7: pictures and text


In doing this, you would need to stroll to the tools menu and locate either the image or text tool. You can position the text as you wish and change the required layer or the text itself.


Step 8: photo view


After the successful completion of the above steps, you can round up your work by viewing the result. You can change the color or some other features. Once you are ok with the result, click on "fabrication output" to buy the PCB.


4、PCB Reverse Engineering Software


In cases where the schematic may not be available, the data created from the printed circuit board reverse engineering can be used to produce replacement parts, or it can also give hints in repairing parts that already existed.




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