In the years of working with hardware entrepreneurs, we have seen too many cases of poorly designed printed circuit boards (PCB), which can never meet the quality requirements of commercial production.
In some cases, these committees are designed by the entrepreneurs themselves, and sometimes by freelance engineers. I
n particular, if you want to hire imaginary experts to design PCBs, it is important to be able to judge the quality of their work.
As I think many electrical engineers will agree, most engineers have never taught PCB design in school, so be sure to avoid hiring engineers who lack actual PCB design experience.
Although PCB design experts do need to conduct a proper and complete design review, there are still ways to quickly judge the quality of a PCB design. The schematic can tell you how to connect the various components together to provide a given function.
However, on its own, it provides very limited information on how to actually place and connect the components together to provide a functional product. For example, the schematic lines are converted to traces on the printed circuit board (PCB). However, unless it is clearly recorded in the schematic, the schematic will hardly provide information about the types of signals carried by these lines.
This schematic document is especially important if the PCB layout is designed by an engineer who is different from the engineer who designed the schematic.
The signals in these lines may be low-level, low-noise signals, which must be led away from the noisier circuit board traces to avoid noise. Or, they may be fast data or clock signals, which fan out to many pins on multiple chips. In this case, the length of the trace should be matched and kept short to avoid delay mismatch.
If these traces are not designed correctly, some circuit boards may work, and some may not work, depending on the characteristics and tolerances of the components used to fill each circuit board. In other words, even if the circuit board faithfully implements the interconnection of all the components of the complete working schematic, the final product may not work as expected.
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