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Design Considerations for High Speed PCBs

Category: Circuit Board AssemblyPublished on 2017 Jan, 13Author

When it comes to fabricating high speed printed circuit boards (PCBs), an efficient overall design is crucial to a successful end product. By taking extra steps to ensure efficiency during the design phase, you can avoid poor layouts that create performance issues when the PCBs are fabricated and put into testing or production use. Redesign or rework at that point becomes extremely costly and time consuming. By keeping in mind the following design factors, you will save both time and money as you go through PCB assembly in Pennsylvania.


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Photo: Damien Pollet, Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to fabricating high speed printed circuit boards (PCBs), an efficient overall design is crucial to a successful end product. By taking extra steps to ensure efficiency during the design phase, you can avoid poor layouts that create performance issues when the PCBs are fabricated and put into testing or production use. Redesign or rework at that point becomes extremely costly and time consuming. By keeping in mind the following design factors, you will save both time and money as you go through PCB assembly in Pennsylvania.

Factors of Successful PCB Design

  • Schematics - The basis of any good design is detailed schematics. Fabricating questions about the board’s physical layout can be answered by a clear schematic that shows the intended flow of the circuit. It should also include any and all available specifics, such as required component placements, trace lengths, board housing information, and so on.
  • Component location - Major components—including critical power locations and input/output points—need to be well-defined to ensure board functionality. It is also important to make sure that other components—such as individual circuits—are not placed in such a way that their physical proximity interferes with each other’s functionality.
  • Routing and shielding - The negative effects of signals on the board interfering with each other are even more problematic in high speed PCBs. There are several techniques you can incorporate in your plan to avoid conflicts between signal paths:
    • Maintain as much distance between signal traces as possible
    • Keep long parallel runs to a minimum
    • Reduce the number of long traces on adjacent board layers
    • When individual signal traces require higher levels of isolation, route them on separate layers whenever possible
  • Parasitic capacitance - Also referred to as stray capacitance, parasitics can have a negative impact on high speed circuits. Designers should understand the potential source of inductance and how to avoid this potential instability or the resulting oscillations in current.
  • Materials - Choosing the right materials for board construction go a long way in reducing noise and cross-talk of signals. Different materials have different dielectric constants: lower constants result in signals that propagate at higher speeds.
  • Trace construction - Microstrip or stripline trace layouts can also have an impact on signal performance. Their values depend on the trace width, thickness, and the dielectric constant of the materials being used. These values affect the resulting resistance, inductance, and capacitance of the trace, and impact the associated signal path’s performance as well as potential noise separation attributes.

A Pennsylvania PCB Assembly Service with Over 35 Years of Experience

Telan Corporation offers an extra set of eyes to ensure your PCB will meet all its design requirements while maintaining functionality and ease of manufacturing. As part of our Pennsylvania PCB assembly services, we offer value-added engineering to evaluate your product for function and efficiency. Telan Corporation helps you through every phase of PCB assembly in Pennsylvania, from prototype and testing to large runs. If you are interested in our Pennsylvania PCB assembly services, contact us today.

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