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When our contributors speak, people listen! We've compiled a list of 10 of the most-read PCB Design Magazine articles in 2014. Take another look and enjoy these gems one more time.
At #10, Flex Design: Should You Do It Yourself?, by Tom Woznicki, Flex Circuit Design Company: The urge to do it yourself is strong, whether fixing a faucet, cutting your child's hair, or designing a flex circuit. After all, how hard can it be? Here are four situations that might necessitate the skills of a dedicated flex designer according to Tom Woznicki.At #9, Qualifying a PCB Facility: Survey or Audit?, by Rob Scott, Next Level PCB: There are surveys, and then there are audits. For the PCB designers of today, working with an audited company will minimize bad results and provide a greater level of trust. If you're an OEM, you can also market the fact that your boards are fabricated by an independently audited facility.At #8, Flexible Circuitry...a 3D Packaging Tool, by Dave Becker, All Flex: When most people think of flexible circuits, they imagine component parts moving within an electronic application. Clamshell cell phones, notebook computers, printers, and hard disc drives are often mentioned as examples of products requiring moving parts with flex circuit interconnection. Questions such as "How many times can a flex circuit flex?" are best answered by "It depends."At #7, Thermal Design: Still a Process Pinch Point?, by Dr. John Parry, CEng, Mentor Graphics Corporation: Traditional methods of using correlations and simple design rules to perform thermal design are becoming more difficult to apply. But new CFD technology is now bringing thermal design to the generalist PCB designer and design engineers.At #6, It Takes a Team to Assure Power Integrity, by Brad Brim, Cadence Design Systems: The proverb "It takes a village to raise a child" also applies to PCB power integrity, says author Brad Brim. Multiple design team members will contribute to assuring circuit board physical implementation as a design progresses from infancy of concept to a mature product.At #5, Why Procuring Flexible Printed Circuitry is Different, by Thomas Stearns, Brander International Consultants: Flexible printed circuit (FPC) specifications and quality controls tend to be too tight; FPC is, by nature, a flexible, easily formed product of thin sheets of plastic film and metal foils bonded together with flexibilized adhesives. It is not carved out of billets of metal in a machine shop and it is not reasonable to assign thousandths-of-an-inch tolerances to every dimension.At #4, Component Selection for Easier Design and Manufacture of Electronics, by Joe Fjelstad, Verdant Electronics: In the world of high tech, simplicity is arguably one of the foundational objectives of most of the technologies that surround us today. Certainly this is true in terms of how product designers are trying to create interfaces that allow even the most non-technical users to get what they need from electronic products with a minimum of hassle.At #3, Influence of Via Stub Length and Antipad Size on the Insertion Loss Profile, by Alexander Ippich, Multek Inc.: What effect do via stub length and antipad size have on resonant frequency and insertion loss profile? This article, from Multek's Alexander Ippich, focuses on an investigation into these issues and offers recommendations for optimum via stub length.At #2, Thermal Characterization of LEDs: Enabling the Upcoming Lighting Revolution, by Dr. John Parry, CEng., Mentor Graphics: This article describes a method that combines hardware measurement (a thermal transient tester), and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to provide high measurement throughput, which enables systems integrators to verify a vendor’s thermal resistance data during design and to test incoming commercial off-the-shelf parts before they are introduced into production.And, at the #1 spot, PCB and Packaging Design up to 50 GHz: Identifying Dielectric and Conductor Roughness Models, by Yuriy Shlepnev, Simberian Inc.: Dielectric and conductor roughness models are necessary for PCB and packaging interconnect analysis up to 50 GHz and beyond. This article from Simberian's Yuriy Shlepnev, provides an overview of a variety of methods for identifying these models.