How to get the most out of an electronic design – Guide

A circuit is a loop through which matter is transported. In an electronic circuit, the matter transported is the electronics charge, and the source of these electrons is the positive terminal of the voltage source. When this charge flows from the positive terminal through the loop and reaches the negative terminal, the circuit is considered closed. However, this circuit consists of several components that affect the flow of charge in different ways. Some can impede the flow of charge, while others store or dissipate charge. Some require an external power source, while others provide power. There can be many reasons why we need to build a circuit. Sometimes we may need to light a lamp, start an engine, etc. All these devices a lamp, a motor, an LED are called loads. Each load needs a certain current or voltage to start its operation. This voltage can be a constant DC voltage or an AC voltage. However, it is not possible to build a circuit with only one source and one load. We need a few other components to ensure proper load flow and process the load supplied by the source so that an appropriate amount of load flows into the load.

How to get the most out of an electronic project

Title block and block diagram usage

In electronic design, the block diagram is considered the best guide that reflects the architecture and schema overview. It helps user to easily understand circuit function and summarize design systems. Another important aspect is to give the schematic a title and append the designer’s name to the circuit’s title block, as this gives the schematic a more professional look. The schematic contains the essential notes and details for building the circuit layout on the PCB or breadboard.

I/O signal placements

The circuit layout in an electronics design should show the flow of electrical signals from left to right. To improve readability, the conventional practice of having the ground wire at the bottom and the power supply wire at the top of the circuit design is generally followed. Layout design is considered an artistic process, as each designer must take due care in the placement of components, arranging similar components in the same and single direction, especially components polarized in a single column or row. Most of the best ECAD programs offer simpler options for positioning pins and components to allow grid editing in the layout editor.

Make clear connections

In circuit design, it is necessary to represent and distinguish networks to identify whether these networks intersect or are connected. To solve this problem, the designer must use the dot convention method to get a clear idea of ​​the circuit connections. It is recommended that at least a single grid point be moved before changing direction if symbol pin connections are involved. This action ensures that each network in the layout is visible in your list when the PCB project layout is created. To create a clearer scheme that increases readability for the user, use buses to group signals. Most good ECAD tools support this signal grouping function. To make different connections between different wires, a designer can add a symbol or global connector to indicate common signals and invisible power connections such as power and ground.

Use network labels and brief reference designators

All networks must be marked for the necessary signals in the circuit diagram. This step mainly helps with troubleshooting or running certain simulations. While marking the networks is not required, it saves the designer more time, especially when designing the PCB layout. In addition, labeling networks increases readability for the user, as it connects distant terminals that are not even physically connected by wire. Another important aspect to consider is the use of reference designators, which are used to properly represent and label components in circuit design. These references help designers easily locate components. References should be indicated near the component in the schematic, depending on the type of pattern the designer chooses for the entire project.

Use of coupling/decoupling capacitors

In electronic devices, the power supply is unstable and provides a fluctuating output voltage that can affect the circuit. For this, the designer uses different types of capacitors to filter the input and output signals. A decoupling capacitor is connected in parallel close to the power supply during circuit design to ensure a pure DC power supply. These decoupling capacitors are used to decouple incoming AC signals from DC signals. This capacitor starts the charging process of the source, and when the Vcc voltage level is reached, the current stops flowing through the capacitor because this decoupling capacitor keeps this charge flowing until there is a drop in the Vcc source voltage. Coupling capacitors are mostly used when working with various amplifier circuits. These capacitors allow for smooth, limited flow of both the DC element and low-frequency noise in the output signals generated by the amplifier circuits. Therefore, coupling capacitors are mainly used for output signals. The use of bypass capacitors helps to remove noise within and between systems, diverting noise to ground, especially in speaker and amplifier circuits for clear sound. Therefore, these bypass capacitors are used to eliminate AC noise from DC signals and get a pure DC signal.

Make use of pull-down/pull up resistors

Every designer should consider using pull-up and pull-down resistors when working with digital IC circuits and microcontrollers. This basic principle helps to ignore and manage the occurrence of floating states. All digital ICs operate at logic levels that are directly related to the input voltage. Let’s illustrate this problem with an example: Suppose the input voltage of a digital IC is between +2.8 volts and 5 volts, it is considered as logic 1 or high state and the voltage range from +0V to +0, 8V is considered as a logic 0 or low state. On the other hand, input voltage from +0.9V to +2.7V is considered a floating or indeterminate state and the logic state is considered high (1) or low (0). To work around this scenario, the designer uses pull-up and pull-down resistors to force the proper voltage across the IC chip’s input pins so the circuit behaves correctly.

Microcontroller-based circuit design

Using microcontrollers helps the designer to save a lot of time and minimize layout size by removing many components involved in analog-to-digital conversion. A microcontroller chip contains several functions that can be programmed according to circuit design requirements. Nowadays, modern microcontrollers of various brands offer certain advanced functions at reasonable prices to perform various tasks like A/D conversion, serial /SPI/I2C communication, timer and many other functions all housed in these small packages that increase performance. and the efficiency of the circuit design and up less space.

Use of PWM signals for lower power consumption

It is important to design a circuit that consumes less energy for end products that cannot replace or charge battery cells. For this reason, the designer should always use the pulse width modulation (PWM) scheme using a reliable microcontroller or IC NE555, which can improve the energy capacity of the application. Such a method can be used to consume less power from the motor or LED circuits.

Selecting suitable patterns for designing component symbols

To start the circuit design schematic, it is important to consider the component symbols used in the layout drawing. Although these symbols are used internationally, they may be represented differently in other parts of the world. To solve this problem, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created several standards that designers can use for commonly used components. This includes the IEEE 991 standard, which is used for logical schematics; IEEE Standard 315, which contains labels and graphic symbols for various electrical and electronic diagrams; and IEEE Standard 91, which contains various graphic symbols for various logic functions.

Selecting the proper CAD tool

For simple circuit diagrams, the design of a circuit can be easily drawn by hand, even if the designer is not a professional. However, when it comes to creating complex circuit designs, it is necessary to use proper ECAD (Electronic Computer Aided Design) software. This ECAD software is often mentioned by the client in their job description or selected by the company itself. Otherwise, it is generally recommended to use a professional CAD tool from reputable developers that can be used to create schematics as well as PCB layout in 3D views, artwork, BOMs and Gerber files when it comes to the final product production. Several EDA companies and developers offer free ECAD tools like KiCAD while some offer paid ECAD tools like Altium Designer, OrCAD, etc. It depends on the designer which software is suitable for circuit design. Ultimately, it’s best to master the ECAD tool that works well for the designer. although it’s good to know how to using EDA software, it is better to learn the technique of designing and building the circuit.

Final note

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