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Browse our library of resources to learn more about pcb design and pcb routing.
Understanding Ground Planes in Your Two-Layer PCB
Back when I was a young and hungry grad student, my first PCB ground plane design was used to collect analog signals from several sensors. When looking at a voltage graph of my measurements, the noise level was horrible and completely masked the signal I was trying to measure. I soon realized that I had completely bungled my ground plane connections, and ground loops were ruining my signals. Placing your ground plane and routing to ground are two
How to Test for a Short Circuit on a PCB
Every engineer has that “worst case scenario” story that they survived. During the worst week of my professional life, we had a shipment of overdue PCBs come in. These PCBs were supposed to have been installed in hardware and deployed at customer sites more than a month earlier. We were beyond a little mortified. Needless to say, there was a slight rush to ship these new circuit boards. Once we powered them up for testing, you could smell the
Introduction to High Speed PCB Designing: How to Eliminate Crosstalk
Recently at a wedding reception I was trying to talk to a gentleman who was sitting at the same table as me. Unfortunately there was a woman sitting between us carrying on a conversation with someone else sitting on my other side. With all the commotion of the reception in the background, conversation was difficult to begin with. Having another discussion taking place between us though made our conversation impossible. What we had was crosstalk
The Best Multilayer PCB Design Tips for Circuit Board Layout
Doing something new for the first time can be difficult. Baby birds probably don’t appreciate being pushed out of the nest and teenagers are nervous before their first real date. I, personally, was scared to death on my first date. However, I’m glad that I took that first step because that milestone was a great moment in my life. Designing your first multilayer PCB board may not be quite like a first date, but it's still a critical step for a PCB
Class-D Amplifier Design and PCB Layout
Altium Designer makes it easy to design your own Class-D audio amplifier design. Here’s a simple project to help you get started.
My Favorite Altium Designer Keyboard Shortcuts and Viewing Features
If you want to be more productive in PCB design and layout, try out these common Altium Designer keyboard shortcuts.
LVDS to LVPECL, CML, and Single-Ended Conversions
A lot is made of high speed interfaces for PCBs. Here’s how you interface between LVDS to LVPECL, CML, and other logic families.
WiFi 6 PCB Design Guide and 802.11 Standards
Your next PCB might need WiFi 6 capabilities. Here’s what you need to know about WiFi 6 PCB design and layout.
PCB Routing Rules for Single-Ended and Differential Signals
Different signalling standards require different PCB routing rules. Here’s how to find and set the PCB routing rules you need in your PCB design software.
USB 4 Design: Ultra-fast Serial Data Transfer for Your PCB
USB 4 will bring ultra-fast serial data transfer to your PCB. Here’s what you need to know about USB 4 design for your PCB.
How to Setup HDI PCB Layout and Routing in Your PCB Design Software
HDI PCB layout and routing seems more complicated than it really is. Here’s how you can get started with HDI layout and routing in Altium Designer.
Differential Pairs Without Ground: Is it a Problem?
Some designers tell you that differential pairs without ground are acceptable. So who’s correct? We’ll examine the pros and cons of a differential pair ground plane.
Solder Bridge Jumper Best Practices in PCB Design
A PCB variant is often simply thought of as a new layout created from an old design. However, if you’re creative with your routing and layout, you can use a solder bridge jumper to configure portions of a single PCB layout for multiple variants. This lets you quickly create variants of a PCB layout without rerouting traces or changing your schematics. If you plan to use jumpers in your PCB layout, there are some important guidelines to follow to
I2C vs. SPI vs. UART: How to Layout These Common Buses
If you’ve never worked with an MCU and programmable ICs, here are some guidelines on I2C vs. SPI vs. UART layout and routing.
Modeling Copper Foil Roughness in Altium Designer's Impedance Profiler
Advanced transmission line models for long interconnects require that designers include copper foil roughness calculations in order to determine accurate impedance. Without the right models or design software, you’ll be left to estimate the skin effect impedance, dispersion, and parasitics in your PCB. These models can be difficult to work with by hand if you’re not mathematically inclined, but the right design tools can be used to quickly
Bluetooth 5.1 SoC vs. Module: Which is Best for Your Design?
The list of features available in Bluetooth just got a little longer since the release of Bluetooth 5.1. Component manufacturers have taken this mobile technology to the next level for IoT devices by integrating wireless comms with an MCU for embedded processing. This is just another step in the continuous push to pack more functionality into a smaller footprint. If you want to incorporate a Bluetooth 5.1 SoC into your new product, you have two
PCB Mountable Connectors: SMD vs. Through-hole
When I designed some of my first boards, I was always working at DC or low speed, and any signal integrity problems from my connectors were an afterthought. These initial boards were for low frequency measurements of an electrochemical sensor. The only circuitry involved was a low-pass filter circuit with through-hole passives, a PCB mountable connector for a lab-grade power supply, and a parallel connection to an SMU. After learning the finer