how to start process of PCB or other

Thread Starter

clangray

Joined Nov 4, 2018
232
Hi, need some guidance here please:

I want to make my design below into a soldered version of something. I have the prototyping done and the circuit works well. I have some history with soldering and I believe that this circuit is relatively simple, good for me to get my teeth into. I don't know how this goes: what software do I use for the schematic and parts list? Do I upload that to a PCB company for mfg? Can my current software lend a hand in this? Thanks in advance.

circuit (20).png
 

bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
641
A layout as simple as that can be done with packing tape and a hobby knife, or with paint. Or, to avoid the need for etchant, score the copper with a knife and peel it away (heating with a soldering iron will soften the resin and help lift a corner), or grind it away with a saw or Dremel tool.
It's worth creating the layout in PCB CAD anyway, because a 1:1 scale print can be used as a template for drilling the holes first.
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
433
You're still drawing your schematics sideways...
That's a matter of personal preference that few will agree with.


EasyEDA is a free schematic capture and board layout program offered by JLCPCB. It's indeed easy to use and truly free; they don't hold your Gerber files hostage or force you to share your files.

To create a circuit board, first draw your schematic, and select symbols that include the correct footprint (pcb pattern). In this case, you can select generic resistors and LEDs having the correct footprints, which in this case means the right spacing for the resistor leads and package for the LEDs (maybe 3mm or 5mm packages for the LEDs). Make sure you connect the leads with "wires" and not "lines" depending on the software package.

Using EasyEDA, after the schematic is finished, click "Convert to PCB". Don't get too excited yet. This plops the footprints on a blank board, with connected points connected with "airwires" – think rubber bands.

Position the components where you want them. Then route copper traces for each air wire. Usually tracks run at horizontally and vertically, with bends beveled at 45° to prevent sharp square corners.

If you're having a boars fabricated, you can use copper tracks on both sides of the board if necessary to make all the connections. Rotating and/or moving parts around may make layout easier.
 

sparky 1

Joined Nov 3, 2018
732
Using a Vero stripboard is a simple way to get started. There are few techniques that can make it easier when you go step by step.
Electronic 3 - Making an electronic circuit on a Vero-board - YouTube

After testing you can can make a sketch of the pads (and proper traces using the width you specify) for the copper side and be sure to label each pad.
Also list all the labels on the side of the sketch leaving room for a part name that is found in the software library. Write the Part alongside your label.
The software recognizes that Part name that you might find on an example. A common mistake is using a copper pad which is too small for your part.
You may need to use a caliper to check wire size, hole size, the distance between holes whereas a more experienced may already know.

There are many ways to make a pcb but it is the transition from proto to pcb that needs meaningful lists and notes from your sketch.
That is why I point you to someone that shows he understands the discipline so that your sketch will completely give you an accurate transition.
This is where teaching quality makes a difference between success or failure when a systematic approach allows an inexperienced to acquire skills.
After you check your pcb cad design file with the sketch of the working stripboard then you should be ready to order or make the pcb yourself.
Making Printed Circuit Boards - Robot Room
 
Last edited:

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,462
I find pad per hole board to be less bother.
1666748289695.png

Or better yet, perf board:
perfBoard.jpg

If our circuit was more complicated, I'd suggest doing a board layout to optimize component placement.
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
433
Since you asked about pcbs, I believe you actually want to have a pcb fabricated.

Here's a quick and dirty version of your circuit laid out as a board using EasyEDA.

1. Draw the schematic. Unlike your simulation, you'll select the package of each component as you go. You can change the packages later, but it's easier to do it as you go.


acc-demo-sch.jpg


2. Save the schematic and "convert to pcb". The dumps all the components on the screen with a suggested board outline. The thin blue lines are "air wires" showing the connections.


acc-demo-pcb1.jpg


3. Move the components to where you want them on the board. Think about the arrangement of things like LEDs, switches, terminal blocks, etc., and how the connections will be routed.

Acc-demo-pcb2.jpg



4. At this point, you can see views of what the board will look like and a 3-d view showing components.

acc-demo-pcb3.jpg



acc-demo-pcb4.jpg



5. If you like the arrangement, you can start routing tracks. Red lines shown the top copper layer, blue the bottom. If you're having boards fabricated, there is usually no cost difference between one layer and two layer boards. This is quick and dirty, but it's a starting point.

acc-demo-pcb5.jpg



6. You can view the traces on the board in 2-d or 3-d view.

acc-demo-pcb6.jpg



7. When components are where you'd like them, work on moving the component disignators around on the silk screen layer, and add labels, instructions or anything else you want to put on the board.
 
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DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
9,517
I prefer the pad-per hole pattern shown by @dl324 in post 6. Point-to-point wiring is done with #30 nickel plated Kynar insulated wire wrapping wire.
1666785330542.pngFor $10 on eBay you can get almost a lifetime supply (250 meters)

With the pad-per hole copper pattern on 0.1" (2.54 mm) centers you can mount many kinds of surface mount ICs without an adapter.
 

bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
641
Here's a hacksaw layout. A blade can be used without the frame to cut the dead-end grooves. Cheaper than buying prototype board, and looks nicer viewed from above. And easier to swap components than desoldering wire links. Does require the ability to drill tiny holes in PCB stock (mini drill press and carbide bits are preferable.):
hacksaw circuit (20).jpg
 

Thread Starter

clangray

Joined Nov 4, 2018
232
Sorry, the above didn't format so well.
I'm uploading an updated schematic. The "updated" one has squares drawn around individual LEDS to convey that each must be on a separate board. I just don't know the "right way" to do with this. The electrical connections are still the same. I have temporarily considered using DuPont connectors and jumper wires between them but it needs work. How do I use editor software to create the solution here?circuit (25).jpg
 
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Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
433
I can't say I understand your use case... if you want small boards with a single LED, cut up pieces of perf board may be the best bet.

But if you want to have some small boards fabricated, you can make many of them at an affordable price, by panelizing your design and using v-scores to create multiple boards on a panel. Panelizing means creating multiple copies of your board on a single larger pcb panel. At the Chinese fab houses, you can have 10 printed circuit boards of 100mm x 100mm or smaller made for $5. That's an incredible price. But if you're making a small board, you can put an array of them in the same 100mm x 100mm space. In my example design shown here, an array of 9 boards fits on the panel. Some fab houses charge extra for panelized designs, but Elecrow does not (for multiple copies of one design). So, in this case, you'll get 90 copies for the same five bucks.

But you want small boards, not a bunch of copies you have to cut apart. V-scoring creates a line between the boards, so they can be easily snapped apart. You receive 10 panels, which can be easily snapped apart. Pretty slick!

So here's an example of something that might be close to what you're thinking. A single 5mm LED, with a single Dupont pin on each end for connections (I wouldn't recommend single Dupont pins, but if you want to do this, put them an exact multiple of 0.1" apart, and use a female header to hold them in position while soldering them in place). I've also added a couple mounting holes for 3mm or 4-40 standoffs or screws. The shape of the nut shows the clearance needed, and the larger circle shows the clearance for a nut driver. The symbol is shown on the documentation layer as a guide while laying out the board, but it doesn't show up on the actual pcb.

ACC-demo-pcb-a1.jpg




acc-demo-pcb-a2.pdf.jpg

So how do you create a panel? EasyEDA has a tool to make this easy. Just specify the array size (keeping the maximum size 100mm or less for the cheapest price) and it creates a layout like this. Only one board is shown, but the fab house will understand to duplicate the design, and make v-scores where shown. Note: JLCPCB charges extra based on the total number of copies. Elecrow does not have an up charge.

acc-demo-pcb-a3.jpg
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
433
If my example above is what you have in mind, a piece of perf board like this might be the was to go. The LED spans the gap between the copper sections, with space for a single Dupont header pin at the end of each pad.

Screenshot_20221028_005006_Amazon Shopping.jpg
 

Thread Starter

clangray

Joined Nov 4, 2018
232
Individual LEDs with no other components do not need a PCB.
You can use connectors directly on the pins of an LED.
I need the LED flush to the mounting surface. If I just solder connection tips to LED pins it might flap about and behave in an unstable physical way. In this case would I use the addition of a perf board and make sure it was || to board to make it flush? My only objection to using connectors directly on the pins of the LED.
 

Thread Starter

clangray

Joined Nov 4, 2018
232
I can't say I understand your use case... if you want small boards with a single LED, cut up pieces of perf board may be the best bet.

But if you want to have some small boards fabricated, you can make many of them at an affordable price, by panelizing your design and using v-scores to create multiple boards on a panel. Panelizing means creating multiple copies of your board on a single larger pcb panel. At the Chinese fab houses, you can have 10 printed circuit boards of 100mm x 100mm or smaller made for $5. That's an incredible price. But if you're making a small board, you can put an array of them in the same 100mm x 100mm space. In my example design shown here, an array of 9 boards fits on the panel. Some fab houses charge extra for panelized designs, but Elecrow does not (for multiple copies of one design). So, in this case, you'll get 90 copies for the same five bucks.

But you want small boards, not a bunch of copies you have to cut apart. V-scoring creates a line between the boards, so they can be easily snapped apart. You receive 10 panels, which can be easily snapped apart. Pretty slick!

So here's an example of something that might be close to what you're thinking. A single 5mm LED, with a single Dupont pin on each end for connections (I wouldn't recommend single Dupont pins, but if you want to do this, put them an exact multiple of 0.1" apart, and use a female header to hold them in position while soldering them in place). I've also added a couple mounting holes for 3mm or 4-40 standoffs or screws. The shape of the nut shows the clearance needed, and the larger circle shows the clearance for a nut driver. The symbol is shown on the documentation layer as a guide while laying out the board, but it doesn't show up on the actual pcb.

View attachment 279471




View attachment 279472

So how do you create a panel? EasyEDA has a tool to make this easy. Just specify the array size (keeping the maximum size 100mm or less for the cheapest price) and it creates a layout like this. Only one board is shown, but the fab house will understand to duplicate the design, and make v-scores where shown. Note: JLCPCB charges extra based on the total number of copies. Elecrow does not have an up charge.

View attachment 279473
Jon what steps in your first post with the 5 illustrations occur in relation to this explanation? Thx. Trying to get master "task list". Also I am struggling with connector fatigue. I "mastered" male pin DuPont crimping but not female! Given this is the case would you keep or discard the Dupont connector. I am not bound to it.

Also I am inclined to the PCB solution.
 
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bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
641
I'd solder resistors and wires directly to the LED leads and insulate with heat shrink. Hold them in place and strain relieve the wires with glob of hot glue or silicone sealant (RTV) or epoxy.
 
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