8 Reasons It’s Important to Prototype Your Circuit Board First

January 19, 2022

Many people are unaware of how long printed circuit boards have existed. Despite many people not knowing it, it's still one of the most used technologies in the modern world. Circuit boards are found in almost everything now. Numerous electronic devices use them. These include cars, phones, computers, alarms, and cameras. Circuit boards are likely to be found in any electronic device.

Since PCBs are more complicated than they used to be, designers must ensure their design is perfect before full production manufacturing. You want the circuit boards of the next electronic gadget to work perfectly if you are responsible for designing them. There is no room for error. For this reason, circuit board prototyping must be done first.

The Many Benefits of Circuit Board Prototyping

Prototyping follows the design phase. It could still be difficult to build the perfect circuit board even if you have spent substantial time and effort using the PCB Artist software. Some may slip through a review, and some might not even be seen. Only by checking the board in the real world can you determine whether any problems exist. Seeing how it works in an actual device will allow you to understand better how it will work in practice. Whether it's a small project for personal use or a large commercial project, prototyping is required.

Let's look at one of the main reasons it's important to have a circuit board prototype.

  1. For instance, you virtual test a board that works perfectly. It may have a lot of components, but you haven't considered how small and tight the housing for the device might be. The board can become too hot and overheat. If you discover this after shipping thousands of the product to your customers, it's not something you want to discover.


  2. Circuit boards will undergo the necessary testing during prototyping. You should not skip this step, or you may regret your choice.
  3. Unfortunately, after a circuit board has been reviewed and gone through virtual testing, many people do not build a prototype and test the board because of the extra time it can take. They are concerned that circuit board prototyping and testing it in the real world will end up taking a long time.
  4. A board you ship out that doesn't work properly can come back to haunt you if you didn't prototype it first. If this happens, you will have to replace boards that are circulating and will have to rework the board before it can be manufactured and shipped. That could create a significant amount of work and financial loss. Furthermore, you may not be able to rely on your customers in the same way you did before.
  5. Testing and prototyping your circuit boards will help you avoid surprises. There may still be problems depending on how the end-user uses those boards, but at least you're assured that they are designed correctly before they're released.
  6. Stay alert and don't become complacent. It should be clear from the moment you receive your prototype that it works perfectly. That means you've done a great job with your design, and now that you've tested it, you're ready to start production. Additionally, creating several designs in succession that include perfect prototypes is possible. Despite this good news, you shouldn't stop creating prototypes for your future designs.
  7. It doesn't matter how much experience you have. Every design has its challenges, so you must prototype them all. Only then can you ensure that everything works correctly. What may appear to be a "small" problem can seriously damage your company’s reputation.
  8. In the event of a problem, what should I do? A problem might be found on the circuit boards when you test them. If this happens, a re-design should be considered. Analyse where the issue is, and find out whether you can rework the design to resolve it. Have another prototype made and reproduce it in the software to be certain the problem has been resolved. The extra effort is worth it if you get everything right. The end product will be better.

Circuit Board Prototyping Design Tips

Printed circuit boards are no secret to anyone. There are many components and factors to consider when designing a board. You’ll likely need some advice unless you're a tech expert. Before creating your product, develop a PCB prototype first to ensure you're making a PCB that works perfectly for your needs.

You can choose from three different types of printed circuit boards:

Between one-sided, two-sided, or multilayered circuit boards, you should choose the right kind of construction for the application style you are designing your prototype PCB for. These three different types of construction are ideal for different types of applications.

Heat dispersion is a concern that needs attention

Some components on your circuit board may generate excessive heat. Layout your PCB accordingly to avoid overheating your components and maximise efficiency. To prolong the life of your circuit board, keep heat-sensitive parts away from excess-heating elements.

As much as possible, try to keep loop sizes small

When designing your prototype PCB layout. By doing so, you'll be able to reduce resistance and voltage spikes at high frequencies. A system with fewer loops will be more efficient and have fewer problems in the long run.

Ensure you understand how multiple layers interact:

If you're using a multi-layered design, be sure you understand how each layer interacts with the others. Compared to single-sided and double-sided construction, this type requires some additional considerations. You must consider how you will route signal layers, how you will distribute power, and so on.

Noise Traces Should Not Be Near Analog Traces

The placement of two types of traces side by side can cause interference and short circuits. Keeping high-frequency traces away from the traces you don't want noise on is a good rule of thumb.

You should leave the room

Copper traces and fills should be separated by sufficient space to prevent shock hazards. It's important to have as much space between the conductor and the solder mark as possible.

We’re here for any of your circuit board prototyping needs! To learn more, give us a call at 1 (888) 602-7264, fill out our contact form, or email us at info@circuits-central.com.

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