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Old 21st March 2006, 10:50 PM   #1
triden is offline triden  Canada
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Unhappy I am really bad at making PCB's

Lately I have been trying to make a PCB for a linear regulator that I designed. The schematic is done and when in Eagle I quickly got it to transfer everything to the board layout for me. The hard part is routing the traces and getting all the components in the right spots. I can't seem to ever get the board layout looking good without wires going everywhere. I ended up getting frustrated and using the autorouter instead. I would like to be able to build a good stable board before I spend money on making one. Do you guys have any tips or tricks to designing and laying out all the components and traces? It would be greatly appreciated!!

Pic of schematic: http://webrocket.ca/schematic.jpg
Pic of board: http://webrocket.ca/board.jpg

Regards,
Chris
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Old 21st March 2006, 10:57 PM   #2
lgreen is offline lgreen  United States
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Default Eagle

Hi Triden,

I too was frustrated with Eagle and how it went from schematic to board.

My solution was to create the board directly from the "Board" view and not from the schematic.

Create a new blank (empty) PCB, make it the size you want, and then start adding components to it, moving them around. Slowly start putting in traces and more components.

When you are done with the routing you can change the trace thicknesses and even their layer (top or bottom). its easy to delete and add components as well.

I have never created a board before and was able to get a few boards made using this technique!

Anyway, I don't know if you knew Eagle had this capability, if you know the schematic just place the parts onto a blank board and it was much easier this way for me.
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Old 21st March 2006, 11:02 PM   #3
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You want to use double layer? With such a simple circuit bottom layer only should be OK.
It looks to me, that you first placed components on the board to make it nice looking. Wrong! Go step by step, place them on board one by one, rotate devices when needed, change positions.. optimizing is kind of trials and errors algorythm
Look at schematic, no wires are crossed, this is a good startng point to start designing PCB.
And use thicker traces!!


cheers
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Old 21st March 2006, 11:09 PM   #4
triden is offline triden  Canada
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Alright, I will try the technique of slowly adding devices 1 by 1. Does it matter if I choose to do it on a single side as oppose to 2 sides? Also, how do you know how wide the traces will be? The board will put out 1.5Amps max at 25vdc. I don't understand Eagles measurments of "MIL".

Now I want to be able to put wires through the pads that I made. Its about 18 guage wire...but how wide do I made the hole. Are there any references for these?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 21st March 2006, 11:52 PM   #5
lgreen is offline lgreen  United States
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Default Eagle

Holes are actually a component- add them, they are in libary "holes."

to change a line width, draw the line as you normally do, then click the wrench ("change") go to "width" and select a bigger value, click on a trace and the trace will get bigger. This will be your new value for new lines too.

Intead of really fat wires, draw a rectangle!

To change the layer of the lines, again go to the wrench "options" and select "layer" and then "top" or "bottom" Whatever you click on will switch to the layer that you have selected.

read the help file, you can change all kinds of stuff.

I agree that this is simple enough for you to implement as a single layer board, put all traces on the top or bottom. I have something similar with eagle and even put in 2 tiny surface mount parts- click here for board, here for schematic .

You will make mistakes with footprints some leads will not fit etc.... this takes practice. Spend $10.00 and get a vernier or dial caliper and actually measure lead width and spacing of your resistors and capacitors and such; you can then confirm that parts will fit. Draw a rectangle on the screen, or move the cursor and get the corner coordinates and you can do the math and figure out the spacing, and compare this to what you have measured. For a finer on-screen measurement and movement / placement enter "grid finest" at the command line. Then swap back to "grid default" later.


You have a schematic and board so you are almost there, just take a little more time and rememeber to have fun with this stuff!
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Old 22nd March 2006, 12:19 AM   #6
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A couple of hints from another thread.
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Old 22nd March 2006, 01:17 AM   #7
jleaman is offline jleaman  Belgium
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I found eagle better than protel because it was able to take a schematic i created and when i presed creat board it put the parts to gether and allowed me to creat my board but also had the yellow lines to help me put them into better order.
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Old 22nd March 2006, 01:40 AM   #8
BWRX is offline BWRX  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by darkfenriz
You want to use double layer? With such a simple circuit bottom layer only should be OK.
Why not use a two layer board? If you're going to have a board house make them you might as well. Just make the bottom layer a ground plane and you'll have plenty of room to route the rest of the traces on the top.

Browse through the eagle manual for directions on how to do a polygon fill. Also make sure to properly name signals so that they connect to the polygon fill of the same name. I usually use GND as the name of the ground plane and the ground signals. Eagle assigns unique names (starting with S$1, S$2, and so on) for the rest of them.
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Old 23rd March 2006, 04:34 AM   #9
gerhard is offline gerhard  Germany
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Quote:
Originally posted by triden
I don't understand Eagles measurments of "MIL".

Now I want to be able to put wires through the pads that I made. Its about 18 guage wire...but how wide do I made the hole. Are there any references for these?

Thanks,
Chris
1 mil is 1/1000 inch, so 8 mil is abt. 0.2 mm, which happens to be the trace width and distance allowed for most low-cost factory processes.

AWG 18 has a diameter of 40.3 mils. Make sure the metal around the hole is at least 0.2 mm or 8 mil. If you want to etch your own boards, you'll end up with a pad diameter of abt. 80 mils since when making the boreholes, you probably won't hit the middle of the pad.


AWG number taken from the 1995 "ARRL handbook for Radio Amateurs". This book is highly recommended even for audio people who are not interested in radio frequency. It is updated every year, 1995 was the 72th edition. It gives a good primer to the layman without oversimplifying things or resorting to esoterics. Everything from drill sizes to filter or amp design. Just the stuff you need to make your circuits work.
I have developped the habit to buy it every 20 years i.e. I have my second handbook. 3 pounds of good stuff.

regards, Gerhard (dk4xp)

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Old 23rd March 2006, 06:51 AM   #10
triden is offline triden  Canada
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Thanks for all the insight guys, it has helped me a lot. I am finally on my way to making a board with a little bit of attitude And gerhard, that finally makes it clear as to how the whole mil system works. One last question..When I am using the wirepad packages in Eagle, it gives the dimensions: THROUGH-HOLE PAD Package: 1,6/0,8 What am I suppose to get from this? Does it mean that the hole is 1.6mm with a 0.8mm surround?

Regards,
Chris
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