The Golden Rules of Electronic Circuit Design

Paromik Chakraborty is a technical journalist at EFY

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Evaluate the circuit behaviour with power

It is essential to know the behaviour of the circuit when it is connected to a power source. Measuring the pull-up resistors can help you know whether the circuit is behaving properly during power-up. Pull-up resistance on a logic circuit’s microcontroller units should be high on power-up.

You should also know how your circuit design will function if there is a sudden outage in power while it is processing some data. Including a power-down detection circuit is very important to ensure that the processor is saving the information properly during a sudden power cut. Power-off detection circuit is a network of a diode and a collection of capacitors, transistors and a voltage-generating circuit that keeps a circuit running for some time with its discharged power during power-cut.

Also, take precautionary measures for current overshoots and undershoots in the circuit. These are basically spikes and falls in the current flowing through a circuit. Very high overshoots may fry the circuit. On the other hand, excessive falls can hamper the circuit functioning. Use of clamping diodes is a good option to ensure the safety of circuit terminals from such power inconsistencies.

Test points are important

Test points are small wired loops placed on a PCB board to allow easy anchoring of test probes on the circuit. Usually, test probes are made of phosphor-bronze alloy with copper conductors or silver-plate coatings. Ground nets, power nets and threshold points of circuits should be mandatorily assigned test points.

Be clear with your manufacturer

As mentioned before, clarity with the manufacturer right from the start is very essential. To avoid complications, learn about the manufacturer’s specifications including minimum trace width, spacing and number of layers. You must have complete transparency while sharing the design details. Mention all the components, the schematic and the build. In case a custom-built circuit is desired but has not been communicated to the manufacturer, they would be following the default build model, which might create great differences from the expected outcome.

Electronic circuit design is not easy

Nevertheless, if done well, it can do wonders—whether you are doing a small-scale project or a large-scale business. Thus, keeping the rulebook open will keep you a step ahead in the game.


 

 

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