Fine-Tuning Your PCB Component Placement
When starting a new design, it’s easy to leave the PCB design guidelines as an afterthought as you spend most of your time focusing on your circuit design and component selections. But at the end of the day, not providing ample time and focused effort on your PCB design can lead to a design that translates poorly from the digital domain to physical reality, and could ultimately become troublesome for your manufacturer to fabricate. So what’s the key for designing a board that’s realistic on paper and in physical form? Let’s explore a top PCB design guideline that you need to know to design your next functional and reliable PCB.
The component placement stage of your PCB layout process is both an art and a science, requiring a strategic consideration about the prime real estate available on your board. And while this process can be challenging, how you place your components will determine how easy your board is to manufacture, as well as how well it meets your original design requirements.
While a general guideline exists to place components in a basic order of connectors, power circuits, precision circuits, critical circuits, etc., there are also several specific guidelines to keep in mind, including:
Orientation -- Be sure to orient similar components in the same direction as this will help with an efficient and error-free soldering process.
Placement -- Avoid placing components on the solder side of a board that would rest behind plated through-hole components.
Organization -- It’s recommended to place all your surface mount (SMT) components on the same side of your board, and all through-hole (TH) components on the top side of your board to minimize the number of assembly steps.
One final PCB design guideline to keep in mind - when using mixed-technology components (through-hole and surface mount components), manufacturers might require an extra process to assemble your board, which will add to your overall costs.