Tips on how to avoid 6 common schematic errors



Increasingly job descriptions require electronic engineers to have experience across many disciplines including hardware and software design and now even to utilize CAD software to layout PCBs.  For some engineers PCB design is the natural progression of the design process.  Others however, with limited CAD software experience find it difficult to get a great component placement not to mention then running thousands of tracks and also taking into account physical restrictions. There are many basic rules and good practices to follow however many would agree that PCB design is in fact a highly creative and individual process that takes passion, experience and talent.

Good design begins with the schematic

The PCB design process begins with the schematic diagram and generally engineers do a good job of creating a working schematic.  Before the actual design can commence a complete and thorough review needs to be done by an experienced PCB designer who will pick up and correct errors to ensure they are not carried on through to the design. Often a new set of eyes can identify errors that are otherwise continuously verified.  Engineers are not always experienced in driving PCB design software properly and some don’t utilize the electrical rule check (ERC) or the design rule check (DRC) features fully. 

Six common schematic diagram errors to avoid

1.    Miss spelling of net labels i.e. 0 used instead of O or I used instead of 1

2.   Power nets not matched across the whole schematic i.e. using +3.3V and then 3.3V in other instances.

3.    Component pins not connecting to desired wires therefore creating an open circuit.

4.    Not verifying all unused component pins i.e. sometimes they may need to be tied high or low for the device to operate properly.  

5.    Incorrect footprint assignments to components.

6.    Missing or extra junctions.

Most of the above errors can be easily identified if correct ERC procedures are carried out however it is surprising how often these small details are missed by the inexperienced CAD software user. 

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