Designer’s Notebook

John Burkhert

Or why aspect ratio rules all.

The humble via comes in many flavors. By connecting one layer of a conductor pattern to another, vias have connected the world. My career has depended on them as part of the hardware I used to design for others to use. A foundational innovation in electronics brought plated through-holes to the masses. As a leap forward from wire-wrap technology, multilayer printed circuit boards put a “mainframe” in each of our pockets almost overnight.

From the first plated through-hole to the latest, the trend is to support higher-density interconnect. The key driver in plating holes is the aspect ratio, the hole’s width relative to its depth. For a through-hole, the depth is the thickness of the PCB. Most reputable fabricators can handle a 10:1 ratio, such that a common 0.062" board thickness will require a minimum finished hole size 0.006" (FIGURE 1).

Read more: The Nuts and Bolts of a Via Padstack

John Burkhert

Design reviews can easily go off on tangents. Make sure you’re the one sharing your screen.

Every job eventually gets to tape-out day. But before that day comes, a lot of moving parts are wrangled into place. Even the simplest layout will require deliverables for assembly, including custom paste stencil and a bill of materials to associate the correct component for each location on the board. Along the way, a set of physical and electrical properties will be used to gauge line width and length, among other parameters (FIGURE 1). Getting the responsible parties to give guidance on the many assumptions made during layout is the point of the design review.



Read more: What to Bring to the PCB Design Review

DfM means design for money. If it can’t be built, that’s a waste.

Read more: Common Design for Assembly ‘Gotchas’

Why you should be mindful of long parallel routing situations.

Read more: Contrary Routing Schemes

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