Design Con 2015

PCB

Michael Dunn
Editor, Design Ideas, IC/FPGA, PCB, and Medical Design Centres
In-depth technical design information, product advancements, and technology and tool updates for engineers, engineering managers and system architects responsible for designing, specifying, selecting or connecting printed circuit boards (PCBs) for electronics applications. Topics include layout tools, IC and board connectivity, connectors, board to board connectivity, signal integrity, power, signal and ground routing, conformal coatings, passive device integration, 3D modeling, and board and system concurrent design.

100 GHz real-time oscilloscope arrives

Teledyne LeCroy ups the oscilloscope bandwidth ante with the announcement of the LabMaster 10-100Zi. Read More...

Quick-Turn PCB shop review project: Step 1, the PCB

A test PCB to send out to some quick-turn shops is designed and begins its journey. Read More...

How long a stub is too long?: Rule of Thumb #18

Identify the maximum stub length a high-speed data trace will tolerate. Read More...

EMC pre-compliance testing ups success rate, part 3 of 3

Save time and money by conducting EMC pre-compliance testing yourself. In part 3, we look at the remaining test setups you can implement, then wrap things up. Read More...

EMC book needs some serious editing

While you might learn from "EMC Made Simple," you have to get past too many editing errors to make it worth your time. Read More...

Probes & software enhance impedance measurements

Probes and software from Picotest let you measure the stability of op-amps, filters, and power regulators while in-circuit. Read More...

DesignCon Awards nominations open

DesignCon’s Best in Design & Test Awards and the DesignCon Engineer of the Year Award recognize the best of the best in engineering and new product advancements at the chip, board, or system level, with a special emphasis on signal integrity and power integrity. Read More...

Weird components

What weird components are in *your* junk box? Read More...

Free PCB design tool includes 3D modeling, crowd-sourced parts database

CircuitMaker PCB design tools' 3D modeling and other features will help designers deal with the "lumpy" nature of LED lighting products or other design projects involving large, irregular components. But that's only half of the story. Read More...

Simple trick to measure plane impedance with a VNA

The measurement of a PCB plane using a VNA may not be as straightforward as you might expect. One simple trick makes it easy. Read More...

EMC pre-compliance testing ups success rate, part 2 of 3

Save time and money by conducting EMC pre-compliance testing yourself. Part 2 looks at the first three options for performing these tests. Read More...

The quarter-wave stub frequency: Rule of Thumb #17

High frequencies and bit-rates require point-to-point routing. Learn how to estimate the suckout caused by a via or stub, and therefore, what signals the line can handle. Read More...

Profiles in Design: Brice Achkir

“There is resistance to looking at things from a different angle, and, unfortunately that sometimes has a big consequence”—Brice Achkir Read More...

Goodies from PCB West 2014

If you didn't make it to PCB West 2014 (or even if you did), here are some highlights. Read More...

Bogatin's Rules of Thumb

All of Eric Bogatin's "Rule of Thumb" articles. Read More...

Mostly free engineering software

There are amazing riches of free engineering software out there, if you know where to look. Read More...

Sheet inductance of a cavity: Rule of Thumb #16

Separating power planes by as little as possible is ideal, but maybe not why you think it is. Read More...

Get the fix on common EMC problems

A presentation by EMC engineer Kenneth Wyatt shows engineers why problems occur and how to reduce them. See photos and video from the presentation and download the slides. Read More...

Don't damage thin devices when testing

ICs are easy to damage when performing reliability qualification tests. Read More...

Do we need Radio Shack anymore?

The chain of electronics stores is on the verge of bankruptcy. Will you miss it? Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Short circuit tracer/finder uses low power

Build this bench tool and become a master at pinpointing shorts. Read More...

Avago Tech Note: 14.2mm wide Creepage and clearance optocouplers for high-voltage applications

Not any optocoupler will do for applications requiring extra-high-voltage isolation. Read More...

Milliohm Squawker great at finding shorts and reverse engineering PCBs

This well thought out tool for “listening to” low resistances really speeds troubleshooting & tracing. Read More...

Music keyboard inductively senses position & velocity

Technologies to measure key position, pressure, and velocity go back almost a century. Now, an inductive sensing IC offers another solution. Read More...

Water & vandal-proof keypad uses piezoelectric disc as sensor and buzzer

An ingenious and low-cost method to create a rugged “UI”. Read More...

Safety flasher warns of high voltage

A low power circuit warns the user that high voltage is present. Read More...

Best Design Ideas of 2013Q3

We present the best Design Ideas of the last quarter! Read More...

Soldering iron driver bridge controls temperature

With a power supply and a replacement soldering handle you can implement this temperature-controlled soldering iron driver. Read More...

Reduce acoustic noise from capacitors

Adding parts or cutting PCB slots can make a difference. Read More...

Make a quick-turnaround PCB for RF parts

Parts get smaller, but the laws of physics don't change. Your designs must change to compensate. Read More...

Capacitive touch switch uses CPLD

Using an Altera MAX IIZ CPLD, you can implement a touch-switch decoder with no external components. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

100 GHz real-time oscilloscope arrives

Teledyne LeCroy ups the oscilloscope bandwidth ante with the announcement of the LabMaster 10-100Zi. Read More...

Probes & software enhance impedance measurements

Probes and software from Picotest let you measure the stability of op-amps, filters, and power regulators while in-circuit. Read More...

Free PCB design tool includes 3D modeling, crowd-sourced parts database

CircuitMaker PCB design tools' 3D modeling and other features will help designers deal with the "lumpy" nature of LED lighting products or other design projects involving large, irregular components. But that's only half of the story. Read More...

Mouser releases free version of NI MultiSIM simulator, PCB tool

Available via free download on Mouser.com, MultiSIM BLUE enables engineers to design and simulate circuits before laying them out in physical prototypes. Read More...

Power supplies combine linear and switching

Autoranging power supplies from Picotest deliver maximum power at any voltage/current setting. Read More...

Measure low current and high resistance

Two new instruments from Keysight Technologies help with researching new materials through low current and high-resistance measurements. Read More...

Mentor's Xpedition xDM provides enterprise PCB data management

Designs can leave you swimming in a morass of files and versions. xDM is a management solution for designs and libraries. Read More...

Copper heat pipes keep electronics cool

Advanced Thermal Solutions offers a line of 33 round and flat copper heat pipes for transporting power dissipation away from hot electronic components. Read More...

Low-CTE laminate targets 100-Gbps Ethernet designs

Intended for very high-speed digital applications up to and beyond speeds of 100 Gbps, Isola’s Tachyon-100G laminate material exhibits electrical properties that are very stable over a broad frequency and temperature range. Read More...

MLCCs feature reduced acoustic noise in 0402 package

A range of MLCCs from Murata have an extra interposer substrate that reduces acoustic "squealing" noise. Read More...

Path Finder mates PCB, IC package, & system design

The Xpedition Path Finder suite provides a single environment that gives cross-domain design teams the ability to model every device/interface. Read More...

Power supply board layout capability added to TI’s WEBENCH

WEBENCH® PCB Export, is a new feature in TI’s online WEBENCH Power Designer tool that engineers can use to quickly create a power supply printed circuit board (PCB) layout and export it to industry-leading computer-aided design (CAD) development platforms. Read More...

Mentor surprises with $299 EDA

Following the trend to low-cost SW & HW, Mentor & Digikey announce a $299 schematic+PCB package that you can try for free – now. Read More...

Printoo: Printed electronics made Arduino compatible

A spin-out from YDreams, Ynvisible was founded in 2010 with the goal to bring more interactivity to everyday objects and surfaces, mostly through the use of flexible and printed electronics including the company’s fully transparent electrochromic display. Read More...

NPI software links PCB design and manufacturing operations

Mentor Graphics’ Valor NPI (new product introduction) software is now fully integrated with the company’s Xpedition PCB design platform to deliver a seamless, automated flow for the design, fabrication, and assembly of PCBs. Read More...

Liquid crystal thermal-measurement system reveals hot spots

An imaging camera and software provide temperature resolution to 0.1°C. Read More...

Prototyping boards target Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone

Mikronauts’ line of easy-to-assemble prototyping boards, which includes versions that are specifically designed for the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone hardware platforms, are silk-screened on both sides, highlighting power and signal buses and taking the guesswork out of finding the signals under the solder mask. Read More...

Circuit board plotter leverages UV laser

The ProtoMat D104 circuit board plotter from German manufacturer LPKF performs mechanical and laser machining in one system, carving circuit tracks out of fully coated base materials by negative contour routing, while an integrated UV laser extends processing to sensitive materials and allows structuring down to an ultra-fine pitch. Read More...

Checksum, ECT roll out flying-probe alternative for board test

CheckSum and Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) jointly announced the Tilt 12KN universal-probe test system, which delivers in-circuit coverage and increased throughput using Tilt fixturing at a low bed-of-nails tooling cost of about $2 per pin. Read More...

System brings thermal characterization to the test site

The ATS-535 Thermostream from InTest Thermal Solutions performs temperature testing and conditioning of components, parts, hybrids, modules, subassemblies, and printed circuit boards at the test bench, on the production floor, or in the lab. Read More...

JOT inline router automates PCB depaneling

According to manufacturer JOT Automation, its router is one of the smallest and most cost-effective inline routing solutions for automated depaneling of PCBs used in smart phones, tablet computers, PCs, motherboards, automotive electronics, and practically any electronic product. Read More...

Altium’s 3-D PCB toolset eases rigid-flex design

Focusing on core PCB design technology, Altium Designer 14 now supports flex and rigid-flex design, including schematic capture, 3-D PCB layout, analysis, and programmable design—all in a single unified platform. Read More...

ICT system conserves production floor space

Compliant with SMEMA (Surface Mount Equipment Manufacturers Association) specifications to enable seamless integration into high-volume production lines, the fully automated Medalist i3070 Series 5i inline ICT (in-circuit test) system from Agilent requires 33% less floor space than standard 3070 systems. Read More...

Stacking connectors ensure reliability in harsh environments

Built with a locking mechanism that offers both tactile and audible feedback when properly mated, stacking connectors in the FCN-280 series from Fujitsu maintain a secure board-to-board connection in rugged industrial environments. Read More...

Stamped CPU heat sink improves air convection by up to 5%

ASSMANN WSW has introduced the 'Stamped CPU Heat Sinks' series, a combination of 'CROSS-CUT' and 'Finger-Shaped heat sinks'. Read More...

Mini PCI Express board adds CAN functionality to any modern PC

Measuring 30x51mm, the Kvaser Mini PCI Express HS is a highly integrated CAN add-on board that adds a single, high speed CAN channel to any standard computer board with mini PCI Express capability. Read More...

Low-profile ferrite-bead arrays permit high-density mounting

Offering a compact EMI filtering option for circuit designers, ferrite-bead arrays in the ACSB series from Abracon come in surface-mount packages ranging in size from 5.60x5.00x1.50 mm to 5.60x4.80x3.00 mm. Read More...

Board-level shields help solve EMI issues

TE Connectivity has introduced shielding products that provide isolation of board-level components, minimize crosstalk, and reduce susceptibility to electromagnetic interference without impacting system speed. Read More...

Daughter cards support FTDI's Arduino-compatible HMI

Following on the release of its VM800P development platforms, which facilitate more advanced human machine interface (HMI) implementation, FTDI Chip has introduced a series of accompanying daughter cards (or shields). Read More...

Verification IP for 3D memory structures

Cadence Design Systems has announced verification IP supporting all popular 3D memory standards including Wide I/O 2, Hybrid Memory Cube, High Bandwidth Memory, and DDR4 3D Stacking. Read More...

Audio bus technology takes on MOST, Ethernet AVB

The Analog Devices audio signal distribution system for automotive use that could emerge in some environments as a strong competitor to established infotainment bus systems like MOST and Ethernet AVB. Read More...

Memory IP targets low power requirements

In order to reach the stringent low power requirements of LCD drivers and touch screen controllers, Dolphin Integration has introduced a foundry-sponsored Single port RAM for the UMC 110 nm embedded Flash process. Read More...

COM Express mini module has ECC memory support

The conga-MA3E, based on Intel Atom E3800 series processor, provides a memory error correction feature ensuring maximum reliability. Read More...

The delta-q ruggedized industrialized battery charger

I recently found an industrial battery charger built like a tank. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Teardown: 1966 Programmable scientific calculator

Look inside a mid-1960s programmable scientific calculator! Read More...

Teardown: iPhone 5s

Go inside the iPhone 5s to see the tech, the parts, what's better, and what's the same, as iFixit tears it down. Read More...

Teardown: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 still the category leader

TechInsights breaks down the processors, memory, and design wins in this teardown of the Galaxy Note 3. Read More...

Teardown: Airbag controller

Check out this airbag controller teardown, courtesy of Dave Jones from the EEVblog. Read More...

Teardown: OBD-II Bluetooth adapter

Peer inside an unbelievably low-cost OBD-II to Bluetooth "dongle." Read More...

Teardown: What's inside Google Glass?

With both intrigue and concern about Glass, this teardown takes a model apart to bring you a detailed view into the electronics guts of the in-demand device. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Goodbye Copperclad Road

We get down to the nitty-gritty business of prototyping and testing the ECL-based, copperclad-built test-fixture. Read More...

Copperclad Road (with apologies to Steve Earle)

An ECL warrior battles the copperclad to produce a high-performance breadboarded test fixture. Read More...

PCB design: Reducing errors & increasing efficiency

Make simulation a regular part of your schematic capture process, and reap the benefits. Read More...

Thermal test chips streamline system development

You don’t need to wait for final silicon to test and characterize the performance of your system’s thermal design. Read More...

Product how-to: HSPICE accurately analyzes gigabit circuits like DDR4 & USB3

Accurate SPICE analysis at the PCB level can save time and cost by reducing numerous iterations of PCB prototyping and measurement. Read More...

DDR4 memory interface: Solving PCB design challenges

Walk through a DDR4 PCB layout and see how the tough challenges are solved. Read More...

Build low-EMI prototypes: The essentials

Follow a board from EMC simulation to final testing, and learn how to minimize risk and expense. Read More...

Getting EMC design right – First time, Part 7: Crosstalk

Learn to successfully deal with victim & aggressor traces. Read More...

Getting EMC design right – First time, Part 6: Signal Timing

Routing critical analog & digital signals for SI & EMC. Read More...

Getting EMC design right – First time, Part 5: Routing

Learn many tricks of the trade regarding PCB routing for EMI reduction & SI. Read More...

When smaller isn’t better in precision resistor applications

In precision analog, SMT resistors may not be the best solution. Read More...

Getting EMC design right – First time, Part 3: High-speed signals & Impedance

Learn what qualifies as a high-speed signal, and how controlled-impedance traces work. Read More...

EasyEDA: Free online EDA – Product how-to

One of the newest free Web-based EDA systems looks impressive. Read More...

Getting EMC design right – First time, Part 2

The EMC book continues, with hints on decoupling caps & power integrity. Read More...

Getting EMC design right – First time, Part 1

We start this extensive book serialization by looking at grounding and planes. Read More...

The case for rigid-flex PCB technology

Once reserved for specialized and higher-end applications, mixed rigid-flex PCBs are trickling down into the mainstream. Read More...

Use of nanoindentation to measure and map mechanical properties of SAC 305 solder

The nanoindentation technique is used to characterize a RoHS solder alloy in situ, and is applicable to material qualification and failure analysis. Read More...

Minimize crosstalk with optimized PCB routing technique

At gigabit rates, data pair ordering has a significant impact on crosstalk. Read More...

PCB characteristics affect PDN performance

Since no impedance path is perfectly flat, we need to make some design adjustments. This article aims to help you make compromises that have the minimum impact on the system performance. Read More...

6 tips for transferring a PCB schematic to layout

PCB Design Best Practices: Six things to consider when transferring a PCB schematic to layout. All the examples in this article are developed using the NI Multisim design environment; however, the same concepts apply when using different EDA tools. Read More...

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Quick-Turn PCB shop review project: Step 1, the PCB

A test PCB to send out to some quick-turn shops is designed and begins its journey. Read More...

DesignCon prophecy from 1995

As we prepare to celebrate DesignCon’s 20th anniversary, Istvan Novak looks back at Design SuperCon 1995. Read More...

How long a stub is too long?: Rule of Thumb #18

Identify the maximum stub length a high-speed data trace will tolerate. Read More...

EMC pre-compliance testing ups success rate, part 3 of 3

Save time and money by conducting EMC pre-compliance testing yourself. In part 3, we look at the remaining test setups you can implement, then wrap things up. Read More...

DesignCon Awards nominations open

DesignCon’s Best in Design & Test Awards and the DesignCon Engineer of the Year Award recognize the best of the best in engineering and new product advancements at the chip, board, or system level, with a special emphasis on signal integrity and power integrity. Read More...

Weird components

What weird components are in *your* junk box? Read More...

EMC pre-compliance testing ups success rate, part 2 of 3

Save time and money by conducting EMC pre-compliance testing yourself. Part 2 looks at the first three options for performing these tests. Read More...

The quarter-wave stub frequency: Rule of Thumb #17

High frequencies and bit-rates require point-to-point routing. Learn how to estimate the suckout caused by a via or stub, and therefore, what signals the line can handle. Read More...

Goodies from PCB West 2014

If you didn't make it to PCB West 2014 (or even if you did), here are some highlights. Read More...

Mostly free engineering software

There are amazing riches of free engineering software out there, if you know where to look. Read More...

Sheet inductance of a cavity: Rule of Thumb #16

Separating power planes by as little as possible is ideal, but maybe not why you think it is. Read More...

Get the fix on common EMC problems

A presentation by EMC engineer Kenneth Wyatt shows engineers why problems occur and how to reduce them. See photos and video from the presentation and download the slides. Read More...

Do we need Radio Shack anymore?

The chain of electronics stores is on the verge of bankruptcy. Will you miss it? Read More...

EMC pre-compliance testing ups success rate, part 1 of 3

Save time and money by conducting EMC pre-compliance testing yourself. Read More...

Designing testability into a PCB

It's easy to forget about test needs when designing a PCB. Here are some reminders. Read More...

DesignCon abstract reviews complete

An update on the technical program progress for DesignCon 2015. Read More...

Estimating wire & loop inductance: Rule of Thumb #15

Get a grasp of some inductance fundamentals, and look specifically at straight-wire and loop self-inductance. Read More...

DesignCon Chiphead goes to Europe

DesignCon's mascot, known as Chiphead, gets out of silicon Valley by touring Spain and Amsterdam. Read More...

10 tips on being a consultant

Steve Weir shares the strategy that has made him a highly successful EE consultant for over 13 years. Read More...

Debug ARM Cortex without a header on your PCB

The Tag-Connect connector system provides a spring-loaded cable that can be used to program and debug prototypes. Read More...

PC foil current

My intuition got a little upbraiding once upon a time during a discussion about the current distribution in a copper foil pad of a circuit board. Read More...

ESD wrist-strap insulation decomposes

Several ESD wrist straps suddenly have exposed wires as the insulation fails and gets sticky. Read More...

Resistance of a copper trace: Rule of Thumb #14

Quickly calculate copper trace resistance. Read More...

EMC Symposium 2014

A quick review of the recent IEEE EMC Symposium held in Raleigh, NC, August 2014. Read More...

Fundamentals tutorial provides an EMC overview

The 2014 IEEE EMC Symposium opened wih half-day and full-day tutorials. EDN editor Martin Rowe attended an EMC tutorial on Monday morning, August 4. Read More...

Eric Bogatin's SI courses go online

Signal-integrity evangelist Eric Bogatin's SI Academy classes are now available through an online subscription. Read More...

Could your product be exempt from EMC testing?

There are some little known exemptions that I learned about when I was wading knee deep through the murky waters of several regulatory standards. I hope you can take advantage of a few of them and save yourself and your company some serious money. Read More...

Sheet resistance of copper foil: Rule of Thumb #13

Learn how to quickly calculate the resistance of power planes. Read More...

PC board log periodic antennas

Always on the lookout for low-cost and small broadband antennas I can pack into my EMC troubleshooting kit, and having seen a few displayed at the EMC Symposia, I thought I'd look into PC board designs. It wasn't long before one antenna designer rose to the surface in my research - Kent Britain (WA5VJB). Read More...

Finding a quick-turn PCB shop

Many PCB shops offer fast & easy quoting and ordering of prototype to production quantities. Need help finding one? Here it is. Read More...

Designer's Notebook: How NOT to do it

Some products have so many problems, it's astounding they made it out the door. Read More...

Gaps in return planes - yes or no?

As a participant during the panel discussion on EMC versus SI at the recent DesignCon 2014, I sensed (along with some in the audience) that there was disagreement as to whether it was OK to cross a gap in the return plane with a high speed, fast-edged, signal. Unfortunately, there was too little time in which to come to an agreement or to illustrate the conditions in which it was OK, or not OK. Read More...

PC board resonance and the "balloon effect"

How many of you have beat down a harmonic at one end of the spectrum, only to have an otherwise low harmonic rise up above the limit at the higher end of the spectrum? This is often termed the "ballon effect", where squeezing one end of a balloon makes it expand at the other end. This is usually due to board resonances within the PC board itself. Read More...

Questions on PC boards for EMC mitigation

I received several great questions following my recent EMC webinar and have grouped them by topic. This posting will include questions on PC board design from an EMC perspective. Read More...

Free PC board viewers

As an EMC consultant, I have a constant need to review other company's PC board layouts during my design reviews. These free PC board viewers help me do this. Read More...

DesignCon 2015 Call For Abstracts Portal Opens

Engineers working with signal integrity and power integrity and related topics in high-speed design can respond to the Call for Abstracts for DesignCon 2015 from now until July 11th. Read More...

Pad isolation and magic

A former colleague could do a circuit board magic trick using an insulating sleeve. Read More...

See the crosstalk in 100GbE

Thrill to a real-time view of time-varying 25Gb/s crosstalk. Read More...

Homemade PCBs

Engineer Wayne Yamaguchi shares his experiences with making PCBs at home. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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