Common PCB Design Problem

Table of Contents

PCB Design Issues

Drilling Hole

  • Problem:
    Irregular hole ring design
  • Risk:
    May confuse hole attributes
  • Recommendation:
    Hole ring should be a hollow ring
  • Problem:
    Holes without wire connections
  • Risk:
    May lead to incorrect hole attributes
  • Recommendation:
    Clearly define hole attributes in the source files
  • Problem:
    Slot holes and circular holes overlap
  • Risk:
    Unable to determine the required hole type
  • Recommendation:
    If both need to be drilled, design them in the drilling layer; or remove one of the holes
  • Problem:
    Slot holes designed in the sub-hole layer
  • Risk:
    May result in the loss of slot holes
  • Recommendation:
    Design slot holes in the drilling layer
  • Problem:
    Circular holes designed in the drilling layer
  • Risk:
    May result in the loss of slot holes
  • Recommendation:
    Design circular holes in the sub-hole layer
  • Problem:
    Spacing between plug holes is too small
  • Risk:
    May lead to solder pad deformation, reduced soldering area, and cold soldering
  • Recommendation:
    Reduce finished hole diameter or increase hole spacing
  • Problem:
    Eight-shaped hole design
  • Risk:
    May cause burrs on hole walls and severe copper peeling
  • Recommendation:
    Increase spacing of figure-eight holes or change them to slot holes
  • Problem:
    Finish size of vias exceeds 0.2mm
  • Risk:
    May affect plugging effectiveness
  • Recommendation:
    Avoid designing multiple hole sizes for vias; annular ring difference should not exceed 0.2mm
  • Problem:
    Distance of vias from board edge is too close
  • Risk:
    May cause copper leakage at board edges
  • Recommendation:
    Distance between vias and board edge should be greater than 10 mil
  • Problem:
    Drilling holes on ICs and small solder pads
  • Risk:
    Reduces soldering area, leads to pad fractures, and may cause soldering issues
  • Recommendation:
    Try to avoid drilling vias near small solder pads

Routing

  • Problem:
    Disconnected traces prone to short circuits
  • Risk:
    High risk of short circuits during production
  • Recommendation:
    Avoid designing disconnected traces
  • Problem:
    Bare copper traces designed at board edges
  • Risk:
    May be mistaken for milling traces
  • Recommendation:
    Design bare copper traces only on solder mask layers
  • Problem:
    Mixing PCBs with significantly different copper residue rates
  • Risk:
    Leads to uneven distribution of copper on low-residue-rate areas
  • Recommendation:
    Produce PCBs with large differences in copper residue rates separately
  • Problem:
    No differentiation between copper pour and various traces (such as impedance traces)
  • Risk:
    Increases engineering production time and costs
  • Recommendation:
    Differentiate between copper pours and trace sizes
  • Problem:
    Existence of cut-off traces
  • Risk:
    Factories cannot determine whether such cut-off traces are normal
  • Recommendation:
    Ensure regularity in design documentation
  • Problem:
    Copper laying on the edge of the board does not avoid the position of the milling cutter
  • Risk:
    Factories may assume such copper width as ineffective
  • Recommendation:
    When designing copper pour, avoid milling tool paths

Solder Mask

  • Problem:
    Gerber data conflicts with via covering method
  • Risk:
    May lead to incorrect via covering
  • Recommendation:
    Ensure consistency between via covering data and drilling method
  • Problem:
    Lines with pads lacking solder mask openings
  • Risk:
    May result in solder mask covering pads
  • Recommendation:
    Design solder mask openings for pads
  • Problem:
    Excessive solder mask design for tin lines
  • Risk:
    Excessive tin lines may lead to exposed copper
  • Recommendation:
    Reduce the length of tin lines

Screen Printing

  • Problem:
    Characters overlapping with solder pads
  • Risk:
    May cause loss of characters
  • Recommendation:
    Avoid designing characters on solder pads
  • Problem:
    Characters designed too small
  • Risk:
    Small characters are difficult to recognize
  • Recommendation:
    Increase the size of characters appropriately
  • Problem:
    Avoid designing overlapping characters
  • Risk:
    Results in unclear characters
  • Recommendation:
    During design, avoid overlapping characters
  • Problem:
    Polarity symbols hidden
  • Risk:
    May lead to loss of polarity symbols
  • Recommendation:
    Ensure important characters have a safe distance from solder pads

Board Edge

  • Problem:
    Component positions are locked
  • Risk:
    Prevents movement and selection operations
  • Recommendation:
    Unlock the positions of components
  • Problem:
    Width of internal slots less than 0.8mm
  • Risk:
    Industry minimum routing tool is 0.8mm, making machining impossible
  • Recommendation:
    Design internal slots with a width greater than 0.8mm
  • Problem:
    Duplicate lines exist along the board edge
  • Risk:
    May lead to incorrect board edge tolerances
  • Recommendation:
    Ensure uniqueness of the board outline

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About Author

Aidan Taylor
Aidan Taylor

I am Aidan Taylor and I have over 10 years of experience in the field of PCB Reverse Engineering, PCB design and IC Unlock.

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