Feeling the Pain of Chip Shortages?

Empty Shelves

The present chip shortage has made plenty of headlines in the mainstream press. Where this is most acutely felt is in the printed circuit board design space.  Components (a.k.a chips) are electronic functional elements that make up a circuit.  They come together on a medium known as the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).  These are the green boards you find in your electronic equipment.

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I’ll Stick with Mils. Thank You Very Much.

In the field of printed circuit board design, there has been a constant clamor to get designers off the imperial unit system known as the mil.  The mil is 1/1000th of an inch.  It has been used throughout the history of PCB design.  Classic component packages like the DIP were designed using the mil for pin spacing.

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Of Muscle Memory and Game Controllers

In the world of EDA tools, there is a factor that may inhibit you or your colleagues from a desire to change to or consider other EDA tools. It is not apparent, yet it is well studied.  Your hesitation may be an aspect of procedural memory commonly referred to as muscle memory.

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The Ten Fundamental Rules of High-speed PCB Design

In addition to creating his iCD tool suite, Barry Olney is a contributor to PCB007.  One of the reasons why we represent Barry’s tool is the fact that his tool was designed with his knowledge and experience in high-speed PCB design.

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The Dedicated PCB Layout Artist – Is This a Sustainable Profession?

The August 2017 edition of Printed Circuit Design and Fab Circuits Assembly acknowledged what many of us PCB designers have suspected; there is a strong need to train young people in the art of PCB design.  It is becoming a lost art in a time when it is ever so needed.  With the current technological upswing, it is truly a great time to be an experienced PCB designer.  But while being an experienced PCB designer is one thing, getting more people to embrace a job as a dedicated PCB designer is another.

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When it comes to libraries, maybe it’s time to take a page from the mechanical folks!

Recently, Nine Dot Connects, a printed circuit board centric organization, became the national VAR for SOLIDWORKS PCB.  With that came the opportunity to explore the mechanical side of design in our effort to better understand and prepare for the future of mechatronic design. Like the old saying, ‘Can’t see the forest for the trees’, this insight into the mechanical domain gave us the opportunity to step back and see the electrical design flow from afar.  It became apparent when compared to mechanical libraries, the PCB library structure is complicated by several factors, some by the very nature of electrical design, and others are self-inflicted by the PCB industry. Continue reading When it comes to libraries, maybe it’s time to take a page from the mechanical folks!

Detangling a Power Short

Preface:  Mark Saunders is currently a senior at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  He is one of the few undergraduate students with a working knowledge of PCB design.  Although his focus is firmware, he has used Altium Designer for several personal and class projects.

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When STEPs Become a Misstep

Author’s note – For clarification purposes, SOLIDWORKS will be referred to as ‘SOLIDWORKS CAD’ to differentiate from SOLIDWORKS PCB.

Though STEP files are critical in collaboration between MCAD, such as SOLIDWORKS CAD, and ECAD, such as SOLIDWORKS PCB, an important issue has become more significant as of late. Because there are many ways for an electronics designer to obtain STEP files, it is difficult (if not impossible) to know what tool was used, or more importantly if the STEP file was validated. This is not just true for components that may have been downloaded from 3DContentCentral.com.  Also, such components can be provided by OEMs who then, provide them to suppliers, such as Digi-Key and Mouser.

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