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Design in the trenches


Blog Articles | Optimum Design Associates | PCB Layout
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What is Product Realization?
The short answer is that product realization is a term used in ISO 9001:2008, referring to the basic design and realization of... READ MORE


Embedded Microstrip Transmission Lines in RF PCB Design
Embedded Microstrip Strictly speaking, the application of soldermask, conformal coating or other surface treatments will change a... READ MORE


Microstrip Transmission Lines in RF PCB Design
Microstrip is still by far the most commonly used transmission line structure in RF and microwave designs. This is becoming less... READ MORE


RF PCB Transmission Line Width
Typically, all connections in a digital circuit board are impedance controlled. This is by virtue of the fact that most layout... READ MORE


Transmission Lines in RF PCB Design
Transmission Line Fundamentals Over the last ten to twenty years, advances in IC fabrication technology have led to huge... READ MORE


Toward A More Rational Silkscreen
Today’s complex PCBs are being packed with a boatload of tiny components and are designed to run at ever-increasing speeds. So it... READ MORE


How to Place Breakaway Rails in a PCB Design
Designers must be aware that the customer-supplied board outline shape isn’t always necessarily the shape that is to be delivered... READ MORE


Pin Vs. Gate Swapping in PCB Design
In order to have a clean route, occasionally the designer may have to swap pins or gates on some devices. Usually the devices... READ MORE


Switching Power Supply PCB Layout Seminar
Optimum Design Associates Senior Designer Scott Nance presents a 45 minute seminar on PCB design best practices for... READ MORE


What Is A PCB?
Unless you are in an industry in which Printed Circuit Boards (PCB's) are used on a regular basis, you might not know exactly... READ MORE


How to Use a Silkscreen to Identify PCB Components
The silkscreen is a helpful tool in identifying components on the board. During PCB layout it should be designed for a... READ MORE


PCB Layout Prices Are Hard To Compare
Engineering managers tasked with outourcing PCB layout face a daunting challenge: comparing the total cost of multiple layout... READ MORE


How Are PCB Layout Jobs Priced?
Determining a price for PCB layout services is conceptually simple: Estimated number of hours times an hourly rate. The trick is... READ MORE


PCB Design Tips: 5 Need-to-Know Component Assembly Methods
Part of a designer's professional developments should be to learn as much as possible about the activities that go before and... READ MORE


Schematic vs. Netlist: A Guide to PCB Design Integration
Integration is the process of adding intelligence to the PCB database by means of a netlist or schematic. This can only occur... READ MORE


How to Place a PCB Bypass Capacitor: 6 Tips
The placement of bypass capacitors is one of the most critical phases of the design process. Failure to place them correctly can... READ MORE


How to Bypass BGA Packages
Knowing how to place a bypass capacitor is a crucial step in PCB design. In most cases, we recommend that the bypass capacitor is... READ MORE


Outsourcing PCB Design: A Primer
Deciding to outsource a PCB design can be a daunting task. Between choosing a design firm to handle the design, knowing what to... READ MORE


How to Read a PCB Fabrication Drawing
A fabrication drawing specifies how the PCB is to be manufactured. There are four major sections to a fabrication drawing—Board... READ MORE


What is ODB++?
Originally developed by Valor, ODB++ is an electronic database for printed circuit board manufacturing. Created in 1995, it was... READ MORE


Lean NPI at ODA Part One: Where Are We Now?
For more than twenty years, Optimum Design Associates (Optimum) has offered their customers PCB design and layout services, and... READ MORE


HDI Layer Stackups for Large Dense PCBs
A few days into a recent project for one of our customers, the lead engineer called me to tell me that the PCB design would have... READ MORE


DDR Memory Layout Design: Rules, Factors, Considerations
Jump rope is a popular childhood activity involving two people swinging the ends of a long rope, with a third person in the... READ MORE


Switching Power Supply PCB Layout Considerations – Towards a Better Switcher
Have you ever started a switching power supply layout, only to realize that it is impossible to match the datasheet’s suggested... READ MORE


Clearance and Creepage Rules for PCB Assembly
Electrical spacing rules become significant from a product safety perspective when the normal operating voltage is greater than... READ MORE