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.

LXI + PoE: Essential Design Considerations

This paper introduces the basic concepts of LXI (LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation) and PoE (Power over Ethernet), and studies the four key considerations for hardware realization to achieve LXI compliance for a device powered over Ethernet. The LAN PHY compliance test is also discussed. Read More...

Profiles in Design: Thomas Lee, Ph.D.

“Learn to be your own teacher. The profession changes at such a velocity that many things you learn in school will be obsolete before too long.”—Tom Lee Read More...

Crosstalk: How much is too much?: Rule of Thumb #19

Minimizing NEXT between strong transmitters and weak Rx signals is critical to system performance. Read More...

Global certifications for makers and hardware startups

Our EMC approvals blogger talks about the rationale behind his new book, which is addressed to smaller startups, but should find a wider audience by the sounds of it. Read More...

Book review: Controlling Radiated Emissions by Design

This near-classic EMC book, now in its third edition, keeps pace with todays radiated emissions problems using easy-to-understadn examples. Read More...

Expedition xSD adds support for multi-board system design

Most systems these days have two or more boards, and CAD vendors are finally cottoning onto this to support repartitioning and interconnect design. Read More...

PDN design essentials for wideband low impedance

The essential steps to design board-level power distribution networks (PDNs) with wideband low impedance are discussed. The key steps include placement and routing for optimal PDN characteristics, post-layout simulation that computes the PDN impedance, and impedance measurement of the prototype PCB. Read More...

Vote for your favorite design trick

It's time to pick the best design trick from our DesignCon Trick for a Treat contest. Read More...

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...

>> 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...

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EDN Hot 100 products of 2014

Of the many thousands of products announced during the past year, these are 100 that especially caught the attention of our editors and our readers. Read More...

EDN Hot 100 products of 2014: EDA Tools, IP & Memory/Storage

This section of EDN's Hot 100 Products of 2014 includes design automation tools and memory/storage products. Read More...

Expedition xSD adds support for multi-board system design

Most systems these days have two or more boards, and CAD vendors are finally cottoning onto this to support repartitioning and interconnect design. Read More...

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...

EDN Hot 100 products of 2014: Boards & Development Tools

This section of EDN's Hot 100 Products of 2014 includes development tools - both hardware and software based - and system-level components. Read More...

Open-source SBC packs compute power and graphics

Powered by an AMD Embedded G-Series system-on-chip featuring a dual-core 1-GHz CPU and a 300-MHz Radeon 8000 series graphics processor, the Gizmo 2 single-board computer (SBC) from GizmoSphere gives embedded programmers and expert DIYers an open-source platform to build high-performance designs. Read More...

NXP launches dual PCB configurable logic devices and design competition

NXP launched its line of multi-gate, multifunction, dual PCB configurable logic devices with Schmitt-trigger inputs, and a design competition at Electronica 2014. Read More...

Auto-grade photovoltaic MOSFET driver debuts at Electronica

Avago launches a photovoltaic MOSFET driver qualified to AEC-Q100 Grade 1 test guidelines, making it the first such device usable in "under-the-hood" high-temperature automotive applications. Read More...

Prototyping accessories for the Raspberry Pi

Element14 has launched the Microstack range, a series of accessories for the Raspberry Pi. Read More...

CogniVue, Fraunhofer debut supersmall camera at Electronica

Fraunhofer's driver-assist microcamera, exhibited at Electronica in Munich, uses CogniVue's image processing technology and a Freescale Semiconductor image cognition processor based on CogniVue's IP. Read More...

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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...

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LXI + PoE: Essential Design Considerations

This paper introduces the basic concepts of LXI (LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation) and PoE (Power over Ethernet), and studies the four key considerations for hardware realization to achieve LXI compliance for a device powered over Ethernet. The LAN PHY compliance test is also discussed. Read More...

PDN design essentials for wideband low impedance

The essential steps to design board-level power distribution networks (PDNs) with wideband low impedance are discussed. The key steps include placement and routing for optimal PDN characteristics, post-layout simulation that computes the PDN impedance, and impedance measurement of the prototype PCB. Read More...

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...

>> SEE ALL

Crosstalk: How much is too much?: Rule of Thumb #19

Minimizing NEXT between strong transmitters and weak Rx signals is critical to system performance. Read More...

Bringing up PIC: The agony

In which I discover that choosing and getting up to speed with a new MCU family can be more daunting than expected. Read More...

Global certifications for makers and hardware startups

Our EMC approvals blogger talks about the rationale behind his new book, which is addressed to smaller startups, but should find a wider audience by the sounds of it. Read More...

Book review: Controlling Radiated Emissions by Design

This near-classic EMC book, now in its third edition, keeps pace with todays radiated emissions problems using easy-to-understadn examples. Read More...

Vote for your favorite design trick

It's time to pick the best design trick from our DesignCon Trick for a Treat contest. 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...

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...

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