Geeks and Nerds Stuff

What You Should Know Before Starting A PCB Design

Designing a printed circuit board (PCB) can be an extremely rewarding endeavor, whether you do it for work or just as a hobby. If you’re thinking about getting into PCB design, you should know about some things before starting.

What You Should Know Before Starting a PCB Design


Component Placement

Along with choosing the components for the PCB, you’ll also have to understand how to position them correctly. The primary objective of component placement in a PCB is to keep as little distance between the components as possible.

But that’s much easier said than done, and if they’re too close or too far apart, significant issues like overheating and resistance can crop up. There are some general rules about component placement that all PCB designers should follow to avoid these issues. An example would be grouping components of similar functions together.

Pro-Tip: You should aim to keep PCB components at least 40 mm apart and 100 mm from the edge of the PCB.



Traces are another basic part of PCB design that every designer must be familiar with before starting. Basically, the traces are the routes between components that send signals throughout the PCB.

As discussed with component placement, these traces are ideally as short as possible to keep problems to a minimum, but designers often have to get creative with how to achieve this. PCB designers first need to determine their trace width. Thinner trace widths are better, but also makes them more likely to overheat, so balance is key.

Pro-Tip: Don’t forget about ground planes. Every PCB needs one to provide a reference point for measuring trace voltage.


EMI Shielding

One thing every PCB designer should know before starting is the importance of EMI shielding. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can quickly disrupt a PCB design and render it unusable without proper shielding.

EMI shielding protects the PCB and its components with materials that absorb and deflect internal and external EMI away from the PCB. If you’re unfamiliar, you should start with the beginner basics of EMI shielding, then work your way up.



Perhaps the most common issue with PCB designs is overheating, so it’s in the designer’s best interest to learn as much as they can about it. A lot of electricity flows through the PCB and its small components, making it easy for things to get too hot and cause significant or even irreparable damage.

Overheating problems typically trace back to poor PCB layout and design. While constructing a PCB design, consider utilizing heat-venting techniques, such as cooling fans and heat sinks, to avoid overheating.

Liked it? Take a second to support Geek Alabama on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
Rate This Post