John Burkhert

Pros and cons – and costs.

It’s almost inevitable that a component that works well and lasts a long time will eventually be put on a list of parts not to be specified for mass production. Newer, better parts are on the way. The thinking goes that the microcontrollers and other devices on a board are already fine-pitch, so another one can be accommodated. That’s how we end up with those five-pin regulators with a tiny diamond-shaped pin trapped between four beveled rectangles.

Advantage: Component-to-component spacing. The via-in-pad trick enables high component density by enabling routing that is 100% internal to the board, with no exposed traces. The space normally set aside for the fan-out via can be used for the next component with the following stipulations:

  • Test access is maintained
  • Rework clearance (for desoldering)
  • Electrical isolation (shielding)
  • Thermal considerations (heat sink, heat pipe)
  • Mechanical interference (headroom)
  • Pick-and-place accuracy.

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