Let’s say you designed your circuit all on the breadboard and everything is working fine. However, you want a more permanent solution to mounting your project as a standalone.
So, what options do you have? Well first, you can make your own circuit board with a perf board or strip board.
What is a perf board exactly?
Well, it is basically a rigid, thin sheet with pre-drilled holes at standard intervals in a grid configuration. It is mainly used for prototyping rudimentary electronic circuits. You may have seen these perf boards in toy stores where they sell toy circuits that teach kids about basic electronics.
Perf boards are fine for smaller projects where you do not really need it to be that accurate, or for a little DIY home project where looks don’t really matter. The backside of these perf boards are usually messy due to the amateurish solder work, which some perf board users usually employ. It is considered by many as a “ghetto” solution, since it works despite its looks.
If you want something more professional, however, the question that most likely popped in your mind is, how do you go about designing a proper PCB? How do you design something that is similar to those nicely designed Arduino or Raspberry Pi boards? Well, one of the first tips we will provide in making or designing a PCB is to use up all the available area of the board.
Don’t waste any space at all. PCB has what we call component footprints. Component footprints are designated spaces where the PCB components will go — soldered into. Make sure that every real estate on the board is utilized. Don’t make it so that there is a huge space on one side, while the other side is cramped up.
While maximizing the board’s real estate is crucial, don’t make it so that it will be very hard for you to solder. If you have loads of SMD LEDs in a matrix for example, it is likely that you are going to have to solder it by hand. If you have board densely packed with components, it is going to be a real pain to solder them in.
While there are pick and place machines that can machine solder the components on the board for you, these are pretty expensive and are y advisable only for manufacturing runs of a hundred PCBs or more.
Another thing that you must remember when designing a PCB is to avoid a regular through-hole components. Instead, try to use surface mount technology. Surface mount technology can be quite useful because a lot of components come in surface mount forms, such as the little FT232RL USB to UART converter chip. Another advantage of using surface mount technology, or SMT, is that it is a lot more professional looking.
Another thing to think about when designing your board is the component price and component selection. This can be one of the most time consuming and difficult parts of the PCB design process. Choosing the right place to buy your components is just as important as choosing the right place to manufacture your board.
If you are looking for top quality boards, we offer them here at pcbnet.com. We here at pcbnet.com have the ability to produce your designed board and give you the complete product at an extremely low cost. Not only that, we can also give it to you with a quick turnaround time. We have a dedicated team of specialists here at pcbnet.com who prowl various sources to provide you the exact part that you are looking for, at the best possible price out in the marketplace, any day.
Aside from offering PCB boards, we also offer PCB components, bare boards, and assembly services.
So, where you get your components is extremely and definitely a huge factor in PCB design. Of course, once you have designed your PCB and acquired all the components, you always want to check it before you actually send it off to the board house. What you can do is print out a list of all the components that require connections and individually check them out on a virtual render of the board.
A virtual render is basically any printed image of the board, which allows you to have a visual representation of the placement of the various components of the PCB. This can be a printed image of the board schematic on paper, both top and bottom.
One by one, cross out all the components on your list after verifying their connection on the board. Before you actually give your board to a manufacturer like us here at pcbnet.com, make sure you print a one-to-one scale printout of your PCB and check whether the placement of your components on the board is how you want it exactly. After verifying everything, you can now send them to the board manufacturer and wait for the finished product to arrive.