Layout 101 in 1989

I just noticed a twitter tweet about my most recent via-in-pad post: "I could understand this if it was 1989, but egads, thats layout 101 @pcbassembly A Few More Via In Pad No-no's http://bit.ly/19pe0X", from mnphysicist.

I tend to agree that this is pretty basic layout advice in that post of mine. The ironic thing though, is that back in 1989, this type of problem was probably much less common then it is now. The company I worked for at the time had a number of electrical engineers and a CAD layout engineer. The electrical engineers did all of the schematic work and handed the completed schematic off to the layout specialist. The layout engineer knew all of these type of things as well as all of the FCC, UL and other regulatory issues. I think that was pretty typical back then.

Our boards rarely had problems like this. These days, though, a lot of those layout specialists, along with documentation specialists and other technical resources have unfortunately been laid off. That leaves the design engineer to do the layout as well as the schematic. We find that quite a number of these folks entered their career without a lot of training in layout. It's a different skill set then circuit design and some folks have both skills and some don't.

It also doesn't help that so many of these components are getting so much smaller and many of these designs are going into space-critical applications. This pcb had a lot of spare area to work with, but a lot of them don't.

Duane Benson
Take it to the other side

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