Connector PCB Design With Altium Designer
Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) are often the heart of electrical equipment. As data is streamed from one electronic device to another, the need for physical electro-mechanical connectors between devices and their PCBs has become critical.
The choice of appropriate connectors is key to achieving optimal design. This article will explore various connector types that every PCB designer must be familiar with.
Defining Communication Channels
A communication channel can be defined as a pathway through which information is transmitted from one device to another. It may be a physical wire, a radio, or a laser that transmits energy, or a combination of these.
A digital communications channel transmits multibit message units grouped into frames or other higher-level encapsulation. It is a very effective method for sending and receiving data, and it has many advantages over other types of communication channels.
The information that is transferred through a communication channel depends on the source and the destination. For example, a computer’s CPU receives a set of bytes from a network, and it processes this information to create the outputs that are displayed on the screen.
This information is then sent to a receiver via a backplane connector, as shown in Figure 2. However, the backplane can introduce inter-symbol interference (ISI), reflection and crosstalk, which can cause signal degradation. This is especially true at high data rates and long distances between the transmitter and receiver.
To mitigate this problem, it is important to use a backplane connector that provides good impedance matching and shielding. It also needs to be able to withstand a number of insertion and removal cycles.
In addition, it should be able to withstand temperatures in excess of 200 degrees C (higher for high-temperature applications) and provide the highest level of signal integrity and lowest levels of crosstalk. It is advisable to design the backplane connector to separate power and digital signals on different planes. This can be done by using microstrip traces (outside layer) or stripline traces (embedded).
When designing the backplane, it is important to select a connector that will be able to withstand several insertion and removal cycles of the circuit boards. It should also have a good connection to the ASIC controller input pins.
For any electronic system, there are several interconnects that need to be designed and fabricated in order to connect various parts of the system. This requires a strong understanding of the various kinds of connectors available and how they work. Thankfully, ECAD/MCAD tools are extremely useful for defining these connectors and ensuring that they meet optimal design specifications.
Selecting Connector Components
Whether you’re designing a high-performance PCB or one for a lower-power application, selecting the correct connector components can have a major impact on the performance of your design. The connector selection process is more complex than it used to be, and many different factors need to be taken into consideration when choosing a connector.
The first step in the process is to determine what you need the connector for. This is important because it will help you determine the appropriate type of connector.
For example, if your product needs to be compatible with other devices and you need Connector PCB to connect multiple PCBs together, then a multi-pin connector is the best choice. This connector will have multiple pins that can be connected to the other boards and can also provide power connections to the board.
In addition to the basic pin layout, it’s important to consider the other key features of a connector. For example, you’ll need to choose a material that can withstand the voltages that the connector will see. This can be crucial in determining the overall quality of your connector and its durability.
Additionally, it’s important to select a connector that has sufficient space for your system. This can help prevent a situation where you wind up with too much crosstalk between the signal lines.
Finally, you’ll need to consider how much current you need your connector to carry. This will determine if you need to purchase a connector with larger pins or smaller ones.
The size of the connector will also affect how easy it is to assemble your PCB. A small connector can be more difficult to assemble than a large one, and the assembly process can take longer.
In addition, the insulator used for your connector will play a vital role in its durability. This insulator can prevent the pins from moving out of position while being soldered in place, and can also ensure the pins are positioned correctly for good contact.
Lastly, you’ll want to look at the mounting methods that the connector Connector PCB has. This is especially important for board-to-board connectors, as they may be mounted through a hole in the PCB or against the board surface.
Placement on Printed Circuit Assemblies
The placement of components on printed circuit boards is crucial to the design and manufacture of a PCB. Components must be positioned correctly to provide optimal performance in the final product and avoid possible damage due to incorrect placement.
Depending on the type of assembly used, component placement can be completed by hand or automated by pick and place machines. The latter process is far more precise than manual placement, as it uses robots to pick and place each component.
A good rule of thumb to remember is to leave space between integrated circuits (ICs) on the board. This will help when routing connection pins and rearranging the design later on. Moreover, you should also ensure that you reserve sufficient space for components that generate a lot of heat.
Some of the most common ICs include LEDs, voltage regulators, power switches, and transistors. In addition to these, there are many other electronic devices that use PCBs to create and implement their functions.
Capacitors are a vital part of a PCB and are measured in microfarad (uF) or picofarad (pF). They store electric charges and release them back to the board when needed.
These capacitors can be either radial or rectangular in shape. The radial caps are commonly attached to leads from the same end while the rectangular ones have two ends with different leads.
Another important component in a PCB is the diode. These are essential to the function of an electronic device as they can be switched on and off electrically, allowing the device to function in a controlled manner.
As with other electro-mechanical components, diodes can be damaged if they are connected to the wrong polarity. This can be particularly dangerous in the case of high-voltage diodes that are prone to overheating and short-circuiting.
Likewise, surge suppressors are required in a variety of circuits to help protect against external voltage surges. These are normally placed near incoming signal connectors, and must be isolated from the ground plane to prevent interference with the other circuits on the PCB.
Finally, fiducials are reference marks that should be oriented in the same direction on both sides of the PCB to achieve consistent and accurate assembly results. These markers can be a useful addition to a PCB design, as they make the assembly process easier and faster by enabling pick and place machine accuracy.
Using Altium Designer
Altium Designer offers a wide range of features to help design and place connectors onto a PCB. It also provides 3D visualization and a design rule checker that can prevent circuit board designs from violating electrical rules. It allows users to upload CAD data, create designs, and generate documentation for their projects.
The software is available for both a local and shared network configuration. A shared configuration enables all user computers to access the PCB Services installed on a server computer. In a local configuration, SOLIDWORKS PCB Connector is installed on all user computers and runs in conjunction with Altium Designer.
In both cases, SOLIDWORKS PCB Connector and Altium Designer connect over the network to the PCB Services on the server computer. Then, Altium Designer and SOLIDWORKS PCB Connector can exchange information with each other, including schematic layouts, CAD data, and fabrication outputs.
SOLIDWORKS PCB Connector includes a variety of component libraries with connectors commonly used on printed circuit boards, including USB, RS-485, Ethernet, MIDI, SVGA, HDMI, and more. These library parts allow users to quickly place connectors onto a schematic diagram without having to build them from scratch.
Additionally, Altium Designer has a built-in connectivity Insight functionality that displays an instant view of the connection relationships within a project. This view shows the wire, port, and connector information as a document tree with schematic previews. This feature helps designers create connections between schematic sheets and ensures that all logical connectivity is created.
The Connectivity Insight functionality is included with Altium Designer 22 and higher. It can be accessed from the Connectivity tab in the Properties panel when you’re creating or editing a design.
When you’re using this functionality, it’s important to remember that any wires crossing a connection line will form a junction. This is why it’s important to be careful when placing components on a schematic diagram.
To avoid this, it’s best to make sure that you create all logical connectivity from the beginning of the design. This will help you avoid any unnecessary rework and improve the quality of your design.