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RF and Microwave Design

Guidelines for RF and Microwave Design RF and microwave circuits are now some of the most common PCB designs across the electronics industry, recognized for their abilities to capture higher frequencies than normal circuits. Formerly too costly to make for anything outside of the military and aerospace industries, RF and microwave circuits are now integral parts in a wide range of commercial and professional products, specifically wireless communication devices like cell phones, satellite broadcasters and wireless networks. With higher frequencies, however, come more design challenges.   To ensure these high frequency RF and microwave circuits are successful, suppliers must consider several RF and microwave design techniques for PCBs. RF and Microwave PCB Basics The simplest way to describe RF and microwave PCBs is that they contain components that carry RF or microwave signals. These signals vary in frequency, and the differences in frequency define the differences in components between RF

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Solder Mask Discoloration on PCBs

Guide to Solder Mask Discoloration Careful inspection of your printed circuit boards (PCB) may be second nature in your industry, and the first time you saw solder mask discoloration on a circuit board, you may well have been alarmed. Whether you observed white patches on a PCB, dark stripe PCB solder mask discoloration or some other type of solder mask discoloration, it’s natural to immediately want to know if the PCB is still good, if the discoloration will cause some kind of problem, what caused it and how to prevent it from happening again. Here is a quick guide to solder mask discoloration. Dangers of Solder Mask Discoloration on a Circuit Board The reality is that in most cases, any kind of PCB solder mask discoloration is probably cosmetic and does not represent any damage to the board that will affect its functioning. However, it is possible that whatever caused

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Signal Integrity & PCB – Issues and Design Considerations

Signal Integrity A major issue when it comes to high-speed PCB layout guidelines is signal integrity. Loss of signal integrity with PCB units has long been an ongoing concern, so it’s important to keep signal integrity PCB layout considerations in mind when manufacturing, selling or purchasing printed circuit boards. Signal Integrity Issues and Printed Circuit Boards Frequency At low frequencies, you should not experience any major problems with signal integrity. However, with increasing signal speeds, you get higher frequencies, which can affect both the analog and digital properties of the system. You may experience reflections, ground bounce, crosstalk and ringing at higher frequencies, which can seriously damage the integrity of your signal. If you anticipate higher frequencies, you need to consider transmission line effects on the I/O signaling in your board design. Speed Naturally, the relationship between speed and frequency is one you need to keep in mind. Lower speeds

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Bow & Twist Issues with PCBS

Bow & Twist Circuit Board Issue and Prevention The bow and twist issue on Printed Circuit Board can cause components and parts to shift in the PCB assembly process, if the surface mount and through hole components x/y and z coordinate does not match the pcb, then it will make the PCB assembly process very time consuming and difficult. IPC-6012 defines the maximum bow and twist 0.75% on circuit boards, however some strict designs only allow bow and twist not to exceed 0.5%.  See below for IPC guidelines on how to measure bow and twist. Prevention of bow and twist on electronic circuit boards: 1. PCB Design: PCB designers should use copper thieving if necessary to balance the design from layer to layer to distribute the copper evenly. 2. Lamination: Prepreg between PCB layers must be symmetrical unless there is specific impedance requirements. 3. Multi-layer pcbs should use the same material manufacturer’s

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SMT Component Placement for PCBs

PCB: SMT Component Placement PCBs have conductive traces that allow electricity to flow through the board. Each SMT component on the board is placed in a specific location on the conductive pathway so the specific component can receive sufficient power to function. When considering the placement of components that use surface mount technology on a printed circuit boards (PCB), there are special considerations to be made. CTE Considerations There are a number of factors you must consider when establishing SMT component placement tolerance and spacing. One of the most important factors with regard to SMT component spacing and placement is CTE, or coefficient of thermal expansion. Many printed circuit boards are made of glass epoxy substrates with leadless ceramic chip carriers. When the CTE differential between the ceramic carriers and the epoxy substrate becomes too great, you may experience solder joint cracking, which happens after about 100 cycles. The solution

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PCBs for the Automotive Industry

Automotive Industry Printed Circuit Boards  These PCBs have revolutionized the way we drive and use our vehicles, from engine controls and airbag sensors to anti-lock brake management and even GPS support. Almost every modern convenience in the car in your driveway or the fleet in your business’ yard relies on automotive PCBs. And as we add more heads-up displays, windshield overlays, in-cab navigation systems and other electronics to help us drive or relax as we drive, the demand for reliable PCBs that don’t interfere with other systems is going to continue to rise. Automotive printed circuit boards from MCL are designed specifically to support each individual application and work in the real-world environments they will experience, whether they’re in the dashboard, under the hood or in areas of significant motion. That’s why, as a privately owned and ISO-9001 certified company, we engineer precision solutions custom tailored to your application. Creating

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UL, ISO and ITAR: Important Information About PCB Certifications

small circuit boards

UL, ISO & ITAR When it comes to printed circuit boards, there are certain standards in place that buyers look for. Experts may tell you to be sure to work with a UL PCB supplier, an ITAR registered supplier or an ISO PCB supplier. But what do these things really mean, and what exactly should you be looking for when seeking out quality printed circuit boards for your business? Here is some basic, useful information about these terms. UL PCB Standards Those seeking quality printed circuit boards may look for boards that are UL approved, such as a UL 796 PCB. Why? UL is short for Underwriters Laboratories, a global independent safety science company with over 100 years of expertise innovating safety solutions. UL is an accepted leader worldwide in testing, certification and standards development, with a goal to use safety science and safety engineering to promote safe living and

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 Guide to Reducing PCB Design Errors

Reduce PCB Design Errors Mistakes in your printed circuit board design can lead to increased costs for your engineers, designers and manufacturers while slowing your time to get to market. That hurts your revenue and can lead to significant problems in your department. No one wants to experience those concerns, so we’ve put together this quick look at some ways to reduce PCB design errors. We’re addressing the most common concerns, but remember to always work with an engineering team whose focus is to limit PCB design errors in the production phase. Look for Component Concerns Component placement can cause some major design headaches if there are mistakes. Placement needs to take electrical noise, thermal management and overall function into consideration. Make sure all your components and the overall board are sufficiently able to function. The design isn’t too difficult in most cases, and there is some leeway in your

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PCBs for LED Lighting Industry

PCBs and Their Applications in the LED Lighting Industry Jump To: PCB Cores | About Aluminum PCBs | Aluminum PCB Types | The LED Lighting Industry | Aluminum PCBs and the LED Lighting Industry | The Applications of Aluminum LED PCBs | Choose MCL as a Provider | Request a Free Quote   Printed circuit boards, or PCBs, are everywhere in our technology-based society. Everything from computers to medical equipment to cars contains these PCBs in one form or another. However, not all PCBs are the same— many of them use different designs or materials to suit a unique purpose. The base material is especially important for the circuit board, which helps determine how effectively the circuit board transfers heat. Some applications require specific properties in their circuit boards. This is especially true for temperature-sensitive applications, one of which is LED lighting. The LED lighting industry is expanding rapidly in response

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Long Printed Circuit Boards

Long Printed Circuit Boards Modern wireless applications need robust antennas, and that often means needing a long printed circuit board to integrate and support those applications. The design of an antenna can make or break your application, but relying on long PCBs can help you get the job done right. The antenna can be built right onto your long printed circuit board with copper optimization designs boosting its capabilities. Antennas tend to be an area where design can very difficult, and working with experts can help you optimize the impact your board will have. Get the best antenna by teaming up with the best engineers and manufacturers. Antenna Application Use Wireless antennas are used in almost every modern device that arrives in our homes. From cellphones and coffee makers to new washers and TVs, there’s an antenna, and it’s probably created right onto the circuit board. Printed circuit board antenna

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PCB Glossary

  • Electroless Copper

    A thin layer of copper deposited on the plastic or metallic surface of a PCB from an autocatalytic plating solution (without the application of electrical current).