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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

PCB Placing Components

Generally, it is best to place parts only on the top side of the board.
When placing components, make sure that the snap-to-grid is turned on. Usually, a value of 0.050" for the snap grid is best for this job.
First place all the components that need to be in specific locations. This includes connectors, switches, LEDs, mounting holes, heat sinks or any other item that mounts to an external location.
Give careful thought when placing component to minimize trace lengths. Put parts next to each other that connect to each other. Doing a good job here will make laying the traces much easier.
Arrange ICs in only one or two orientations: up or down, and, right or left. Align each IC so that pin one is in the same place for each orientation, usually on the top or left sides.
Position polarized parts (i.e. diodes, and electrolytic caps) with the positive leads all having the same orientation. Also use a square pad to mark the positive leads of these components.
You will save a lot of time by leaving generous space between ICs for traces. Frequently the beginner runs out of room when routing traces. Leave 0.350" - 0.500" between ICs, for large ICs allow even more.
Parts not found in the component library can be made by placing a series of individual pads and then grouping them together. Place one pad for each lead of the component. It is very important to measure the pin spacing and pin diameters as accurately as possible. Typically, dial or digital calipers are used for this job.
After placing all the components, print out a copy of the layout. Place each component on top of the layout. Check to insure that you have allowed enough space for every part to rest without touching each other.