3 Costly PCB Design Errors to Avoid


The first concept for printed circuit boards was first proposed in 1903 by a German scientist and inventor, Albert Hansen. Hansen described the use of multiple layers of foil conductors laminated to an insulation board. Today, PCB assembly spans across just about every major industry, with applications continuing to evolve in novel applications. The top three common devices to use PCBs include medical devices, LEDs, and consumer electronics.

The perspective of PCB prototyping has changed over the years, with designers attempting to get to smaller and effective circuit boards for their products. As such, errors in the initial design stage and the final PCBA manufacturing can result in unreliable circuit boards production.

Below are three costly design errors that can be significant impediments to the performance of your circuit board.

1. Failing to Consult the PCBA Fabricator

Research and design teams are notorious for kicking out the assembler’s input to the design, resulting in the production of unreliable circuit boards. You may need to send your controlled impedance board stack up to your circuit board fabricator for review. Most PCB manufacturers utilize internal processes that are proprietary and may have to tweak your design to account for their proven processes.

Failing to connect with the PCBA fabricator early in your design cycle may result in imbalanced impedance and manufacturing tolerances, generating unreliable circuit boards. This is especially true for designs for components not present in the software tool library. Manually drawing the schematic symbol and the landing pattern can be stressful. Getting a millimeter off the spacing may result in a damaged PCB. Consultations can resolve such errors.

2. Inadequate Layouts

Forced by prevailing consumer behavior, most product designers wish to have the lightest and smallest design out in the market. The team may continuously come up with an even-smaller printed circuit board for their upcoming products, forcing components on reduced footprints. The insufficient layout runs the risk of PCB assembly for unreliable circuit boards that fail on connectivity and compliance.

To achieve the desired functionality, it is essential to select a layout technique that fits all components required. Sending the preliminary component placement to the fabricator can help you avoid the mess.

3. Insufficient Project Revisions

The competitive nature of today’s marketplace piles pressure on electronic designers to come up with new products in record shorter timeframes. As such, the RandD team may prefer to forgo vital steps in testing and verification to meet the set deadlines. Failing to organize for design reviews in tandem with the PCB fabricator can result in design flow errors and unreliable circuit boards.

All stakeholders including the marketing and sales team may need to be present to ensure that the communique about the type of product they wish to deliver is correctly interpreted by the designers and the PCBA fabricator. Communicate with the PCB assembly company to learn about the number of design reviews that they are open to accommodate.

PCB design and assembly may require careful planning and execution to produce high-quality circuit boards. Simple mistakes, whether during the initial design or late assembly process, may result in non-functional or unreliable circuit boards. To schedule a free consultation with a PCB fabricator, please reach out to tell us about your project and get started.