Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Eagle PCB design notes

by Hoang-Long Cao and Raphael Furnemont (19/11/2014).

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Schematic design notes

  • Arrage components in groups depending on their functionality in your design.
  • Name wires to avoid long connections.
  • Always open schematic and PCB layout files at the same time to avoid non-consistent errors.
  • Regarding 5V power, name it VCC so it is automatically connected to VCC of components (mainly ICs). Check it carefully to make sure you power your components correctly.
  • Use DRC to check errors.

PCB layout design notes

  • Select the right component package:
    • Make sure you find the components before using them in your PCB layout.
    • The component package should have a proper dimension. Not too big compared to your PCB size (e.g. big switches, LEDs, relays) or too small - you can't solder very small SMD components.
  • Arranging components:
    • The main component (microcontroller, motor driver, or important ICs) should be put at the center of the board.
    • Put related components together for the ease of connecting wires.
    • Connectors (power, sensors, motors,...) should be put at the sides of the PCB. Then you can connect cable more easily and prevent wrong connections.
    • Try to fill your PCB area with components i.e. limit the "blank area" as much as possible.
  • 1-layer or 2-layer PCB?:
    • Look carefully at your PCB layout. It's always recommended to design a 1-layer PCB because most of your designs are simple. For wires that you can't route totally in the same layer, use jumpers.
    • For 2-layer PCB, keep in mind that you have to connect the vias yourself. So, try not to put vias under ICs.
  • Wire thicknesses: Since the technician makes the PCBs manually, your wire thicknesses must match the requirements.
    • In general, all write thicknesses should be at least 20 mils (~0.5mm) while 25-30 mils (~0.6-0.7mm) are more preferable. With this thickness, you can route a wire between 2 pins of an IC (50 mils).
    • (Optional) Power and ground wires should be thicker because they carry more current (~35-40 mils or ~0.8-1mm).
  • Wire clearance: Keep wires at least 20 mils (~0.5mm) far from each other and also from pins, vias, and holes.
  • Holes: Put holes so you can place your PCB in your system by using screws.
  • Use DRC to check errors (configure this function to match the above requirements).

  • If you have enough time, can try to render your PCB in 3D by using Eagle3D or EagleUp.


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