A simple printed circuit board is composed of a copper surface and a laminated substrate. It is useful to electronics manufacturers as well as to simple hobbyists, because it gives organization to components. It is better to use a PCB instead of using wires, which may result to the so-called “spaghetti wiring” problem. This article will give you pointers on how to convert a schematic diagram into a PCB layout.

Printed circuit boardsA printed circuit board contains a copper surface. This copper surface is a conductor, and can be used to provide electricity all throughout the surface. The PCB is worthless, however, if the assigned wirings are not yet etched. A board, therefore, needs to undergo an etching process.

Before etching a PCB, you must first design a good schematic diagram. A schematic diagram is an electronics blueprint of your circuit. You can do so in a graphing paper or with a simulation program. You must also test the diagram through simulation software. You can also use the breadboard to test the actual circuit for any problems. The tested schematic diagram will then be converted into a PCB layout.

The actual PCB putting your unit together procedure offers many approaches which are presented at online www.pcbnet.com.

Always keep in mind that testing the circuit in paper is better than troubleshooting the actual circuit. Always test the circuit using any kind of simulation technique. Whether the circuit is an analog or digital one, always be aware of its ideal voltage inputs and outputs. Furthermore, always use the breadboard as another means to test the reliability and effectiveness of your circuit. It is very important to check the voltage values by using a voltmeter. Doing it this way will save you the hassles of rerouting when the circuit is already realized.

If you are satisfied that your schematic diagram is working, you will need to convert it to a suitable pcbnet layout. This is a wiring diagram that is compatible to the size of your board. A PCB layout is just a copy of the wirings that you mapped thorough your breadboard. It can also be an automatically generated layout, if you are using simulation software.

You will just use a simple technique in developing the circuit’s printed circuit board. You will use a permanent marker to do this. You will mask, or use the pen to mark, the copper surface that you will not include in the etching process. The etching process will eat away all the copper that were not masked. The copper parts that you have masked are the wires and the pin holes, which are equivalent to the designed circuit.

Every pin or lead of a component constitutes a hole. If, for example, you have an LED which has two leads, them your must assign two holes to it. Also keep in mind that the two holes of a component must not touch, unless you design it that way in the schematic diagram. Furthermore, a wire or connection you used in a breadboard is equivalent to a copper line between two designated holes.

There are also power connectors in the printed circuit board:

The positive (+) and negative (-) terminals. Make sure that the negative terminal, or copper line, does not touch the positive one. Doing so may short circuit your supply and may cause a fire. Be extra careful when dealing with electrical elements.

You must use thick lines for the copper lining. The negative ground plane must also cover all the board. These must be done to conserve the chemicals that you will use in the etching process.

You have learned to create a printed circuit board layout by using a simple mask. The next thing that you should study is how to etch the layout.