5 Neat Ideas for Your Product with a Printed Circuit Board

  1. If you are using a 7-segment display or an LCD that is circuit board mounted this idea may be perfect for you. Instead of using a harness to connect the display to the main board, solder the display board directly to the main board.  Design the board so the copper conacts run all the way to the edge of both boards.  Next, solder the two boards together at a 90 degree angle. Make sure to place some mechanical pads with vias for support and to prevent the pads from pulling up.

    Render of attaching two PCBs together at 90 degrees

  2. Leave off headers for programming and debugging (serial ports and usb ports) and instead use edge card connectors or spring pins and a custom PCB to mount them to. The expense of the custom pcb is much less than the reoccurring cost of the extra headers and connectors that are not used by the customer.
  3. Card Edge Connector

  4. Reconsider design reuse when it comes to schematic design and board layout. With more and more devices going wireless there is a need for a transmitter and receiver. Typically these are actually both transceivers. In many cases, the base station has a similar layout to the transmitter. Consider building a module that has all of your radio (or similar) components on it and soldering it down to your main board. This not only saves you money when it comes time to have the boards built, it also saves you from having to design two separate boards. Additionally, with the wireless revolution, if you are building small quantities consider using a COTS radio module as they are much cheaper than spinning your own (in low qty’s). Furthermore, they work without much work (usually)!
  5. Bluetooth Module

  6. If you have the space, a well designed 2-layer circuit board can perform as well as a 4-layer. The most important thing to consider is cost vs time. The 4-layer board will cost nearly twice as much as the 2-layer which is significant at any purchase quantity. However, the 2-layer board may require a few more prototypes to get right, especially if its a transceiver.

    Application Schematic

  7. If you are designing the schematic or you are hiring a consultant to do it consider leveraging work that someone else has already completed. Many manufacturers publish application notes that have a reference schematic which has been tested and documented. Typically these designs work very well and require zero to few minor modifications. This will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Additionally, these same companies have application engineers (usually the guys who designed the reference schematics) who can answer questions.

Whether you are working on a board design or conceptualizing a new product, give us a call. If nothing else, we might be able to point you in the right direction and save you some time.

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