Tuesday, March 4, 2008

PCB part 1

Road to making a Printed Circuit Board

Before teaching how to make your first PCB, I will first outline what the steps involved are to make a PCB. These steps will be broken down in different posting. If i post everything in one posting, there will be too much to read and you might get bored. :)
  1. Schematics design.
    1. Convert to PCB.
  2. Printing Foil (PCB).
  3. Transferring Foil to PCB.
  4. Etching.
  5. Drilling.
  6. Soldering.
Some topics will expand into different sub topics.

1. Schematics design.

Before you even try to make a PCB, you first need software to draw the tracks. From what I noticed on the net, most people prefer to use Eagle. You can try it out, but I use Diptrace.

Though I like the Eagle's component database, they way to locate a component is much easier than in Diptrace, but that’s all I like about it. I feel Diptrace is easier to use. Give both a try and see which one suit you best. Eagle has a limitation of 4" x 3", double layer PCB, while Diptrace has 300 pins double layer limitation. I have a friend working in a publishing company, and does his foil design in Illustrator. If you like, there even are templates available on the net for doing your foil patterns in Microsoft Paint. What is boils down, choose one that you are comfortable with. Whatever references I make will be to Diptrace. Or you can try others like TinyCad, Protel.Design Spark...

With either Diptrace or Eagle, you can draw your schematics. Then from your schematics you convert the can than play around with your components placement on the board for best routing of the traces. Or you can do manual routing.

If you get Diptrace, download the tutorial file. Go thru is and in no time you will be creating your own schematics, components and component pattern. It took me less than a day.

It is easier to start when you already have a project on mind. If you don’t have a project in mind, check the net for some simple projects, draw schematics in your software. Try playing around with component placement so that you don’t need jumpers. Sometimes jumpers are unavoidable, but for simple circuit there should not be any jumpers.

I think that should be enough for now. Next posts will cover PCB.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Some photos available from the download section on my blog