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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.

DDR4 memory interface: Solving PCB design challenges

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

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...

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...

Sheet resistance of copper foil: Rule of Thumb #13

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

EDN Tablet Edition: Engineering state of mind

EDN has launched a new tablet edition, find out more in this editorial note from Patrick Mannion. Read More...

The Circuit Designer's Companion: Inter-board interfacing, star grounding & shielding

Part 3 of an excerpt from the book "The Circuit Designer's Companion, 3rd Ed." covers inter-board interface signals, star grounding, and shielding. 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...

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...

Join the band at EMC 2014

The 2014 IEEE EMC Symposium will once again feature an engineer-musician jam session. Join the band on August 5 & 6 in Raleigh, NC. 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...

The G word: How to get your audio off the ground (Part 2)

The biggest overlooked opportunity for differential signalling is *inside* the box where small signals and large currents slug it out in cramped quarters. 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...

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...

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...

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

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

>> SEE ALL

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...

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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...

Fujipoly expands line of thermal gap-filler sheets

Used for filling air gaps and uneven surfaces in electronic circuitry, the Sarcon XR-Pe line of thermally conductive silicone putty sheets from Fujipoly America now offers sheet thicknesses of 1.0 mm, 1.5 mm, and 2.0 mm. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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

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...

Tips for PCB design management

PCB Design Best Practices: Here’s what you need to keep in mind for net management and managing PCB layers. 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...

6 tips for choosing PCB components

PCB Design Best Practices: Six things to consider when making PCB component choices based on part footprints. Read More...

5 tips for PCB schematic file management

Best practices recommendations for file and project management in a PCB design. 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...

Embedding components within PCB substrates

Embedding components within a PCB substrate offers a range of benefits in terms of space and performance. But this alternative approach to product design demands support from the entire supply chain, including EDA vendors. Read More...

Measure PDN on a budget

There are many very good analyzers available for measuring PDN, but many of these are above our price range. Here are a couple of ways to evaluate a power distribution network design for less cost. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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...

The art of PCBs

Have you ever wondered why solder masks have traditionally always been green? Read More...

Moving to open-source PCB design

There are several advantages over traditional PCB design that make open source a more appealing option for engineers. Read More...

Gross causes of PCB failures

Michelle Woolley shares examples of cleanliness issues found at the factory and in the field that were discovered during her work in failure analysis. Read More...

Industry Survey: Engineers reveal PCB software preferences

Cadsoft Computer surveyed engineers on their preferences regarding PCB design software. One key finding: Optimizing productivity remains essential. Read More...

What caused the corrosion: The Question

Michelle Woolley has a puzzle for you. Figure out what caused the corrosion on the PCB. The answer posts December 2nd. Share your ideas in the comments. Read More...

Make a PCB with your laser printer

Here’s a method to make your own PCB at home, using a standard laser printer. Read More...

PCB materials match leaps and bounds of today’s technologies

Different materials make it possible to find the optimal balance between board cost and performance. Read More...

PCB Technology

Some PCBs have become extremely high-tech. What do we need to know when specifying & designing them? Read More...

Flux residues can cause corrosion on PCB assemblies

Even with RoHs compliant solders, how is flux residue still a problem? Michelle Woolley explains. Read More...

Mentor impresses with PCB layout software

I talked with a team at Mentor Graphics to find out about their new Xpedition layout solution. Read More...

Photos of contaminated printed circuit boards

Late last month we posted Michelle Woolley’s article Gross causes of PCB failures, complete with pictures of ants and mosquitos in the most unfortunate places. Here are some contributions to add to the collection. Read More...

Stretchable and conformal electronics for peace of mind

Some of the latest stretchable electronics are bringing the Internet of Things to health and safety products, and enabling a whole new world of medical monitoring. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

07.23.2014

DDR4 memory interface: Solving PCB design challenges

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

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