PCB Design Rule Checks Cut Down Board Respins

PCB designs commonly undergo multiple respins as a result of inconspicuous signal integrity (SI), power integrity (PI), and electromagnetic interference (EMI) violations. At an average cost of nearly $28,000 per respin, ensuring that a given design meets its performance, time to market, and cost goals is imperative. To help eliminate complicated and difficult-to-diagnose layout violations, some PCB tool suites offer unique electrical design rule checks (DRC).

When using DRC analysis as part of the PCB design process, engineers can ensure that their PCBs fall within the proper constraints for a multitude of different, advanced electrical design rules. The DRC tool contains fully-customizable SI, PI, EMI, and safety rule checks that enable designers to quickly identify and correct violations well-before starting the manufacturing process. By running DRC analysis, it is possible to eliminate error-prone manual inspection and reduce costly design respins that impact the product’s time to market and the company’s profitability.

To illustrate the power of utilizing a PCB design tool with tightly-integrated DRC analysis, we will use the BeagleBone Black as an example. The BeagleBone Black is a low-power, open-source, single-board computer produced by Texas Instruments and commonly used by both developers and hobby enthusiasts alike. This development board consists of a TI Sitara processor, providing a combination of performance, power, and peripherals to help drive down system cost, simplify design, and expand connectivity within the overall BeagleBone Black design. In addition to the TI Sitara processor, the board consists of 512 MB DDR3 RAM and 2GB of flash as well as a number of physical interfaces and other features.

Tightly Linked DRC and PCB Layout Interfaces

Because the layout and DRC tools are fully integrated, a PCB design can be loaded into DRC directly from the PCB layout window. The rules within DRC are sorted into specific categories—SI, PI, EMI, and safety. And each individual rule contains a descriptive overview page, making it easy for designers to select the most important tests to run on their PCB layout. 

To read this entire article, which appeared in the August 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.