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DIY PCB Design

by: Mar 19,2014 580 Views 0 Comments Posted in Engineering Technical

PCB Design Printed Circuit Board

Designing a Printed Circuit Board or PCB requires special skills and a lot of patience. However, one does not necessarily need to get special training for that since most PCB layout software comes with tutorials and step-by-step examples that can be used to learn the basics. At least a simple circuit can be designed after spending a few hours of learning. The more involved designs, using complex software, require more dedication and patience. It is always a good practice to start with an example tutorial and follow the steps before starting one's own design.


1 Download and install the PCB software of your choice, such as EAGLE from CadSoft.de.

2 Lay out your circuit design on a piece of paper. Designing a circuit directly on the schematic designer is prone to errors.

3 Start schematic designer in your PCB layout software. In EAGLE this can be done by going to "File," "New" and "Schematic."

4 Add all parts that you require from the library on to the schematic layout board and connect them together according to your design. If a part is not available in the library, you will have to create it. Follow the tutorial in the help section on how to add a new part to the library.

5 Check for connection errors. In EAGLE this can be done by clicking on "Tools" then "ERC." If there are errors, correct them before proceeding to the next step.

6 Instruct the software to create a PCB layout directly from the schematic. Look at the help section of your software on how to do that. This will create a broad layout with all of the components and connections lumped together on one side.

7 Using the mouse, move all of the components to the location where you want them to be located on the PCB. It is a good practice to follow the schematic design while doing that. Do not worry about the lines that are connecting the components.

8 From here onward, PCB in different software are handled differently. If you are using EAGLE, click on "Rasnest" in the left menu bar to clean up the connecting air wires. If you are using some other software, consult its help files.

9 If you are using EAGLE, click on "Auto" in the left menu bar to let the software make traces automatically. If you are using some other software, consult its help files.

10 The auto routing never works perfectly, so there should be some pads left to be connected. Manually connect the pads by creating traces that do not touch other traces.

11 Re-size the board by moving its boundaries according to your needs. It is always good practice to leave about1/2 inch of space on each side of the rectangular board.

12 If you are using EAGLE and want to make ground plane, use "polygon gnd" command in the top text bar, hit "Enter" and use the mouse to create the polygon of your choice. Select "Auto" from the left menu to automatically adjust the polygon for the trances, pads and vias. If you are using some other software, consult its help files. Your PCB layout is ready.

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