When you jump into the world of PCB design, it can often feel like you are going nowhere. Try as you might, you feel like your designs aren’t improving and your PCBs are not getting any more complex. However, there are plenty of ways you can, in fact, improve your design skills. Here are some of the things you can do if you are on the hunt for ways to improve your PCBs.
Review Old Designs
No matter how bad they are, you should always aim to hold onto your old designs. These can teach you some extremely important lessons so you should always make sure that they are on hand. Review them frequently and try to make a list of what worked and what didn’t. If you have a certain layout which works exceptionally well, you might even be able to incorporate it into a new design.
Upgrade Your Design Software
One reason why you might not be able to design PCBs to your fullest potential is that you are using software which is either outdated or difficult for you to use. When it comes to something as subjective as PCB design can be, you need to make sure that have the best software helping you along. Altium is a PCB design software used by some of the major corporations all over the world. Introducing it to your design process might be exactly the thing you need to help the pieces click into place and transform your PCB designing into an efficient and easy task.
Step Away Before You Review
When you think you have finished your PCB design, it can be incredibly easy to think that you should quickly knock off the review before you send the design for manufacture. Actually, it is much better if you lay the design to one side and return to it with fresh eyes when you are ready. You are far more likely to notice some of the more common mistakes that might get made. Grab a cup of coffee, go for a quick walk, or even work on some task completely removed from the current project. You might be surprised how much you notice when you finally go back to review it.
Gather Tips from Other Sources
The great thing about PCB design is that there is an entire online community waiting to help you out if you need it. You can pick up tips and ideas from magazines and online articles, or you could post in online at one of the many forums which help out PCB enthusiasts. For example, if you are stuck on a design problem then you could post somewhere like r/PCB to see if anyone on the forum might be able to propose a solution.
Even if you feel like you aren’t going anywhere with PCB design, there is always a way to improve. This is a complex hobby but there are plenty of opportunities out there to help you get better at designing. Try one of the above routes if you find yourself stuck!