Hi all,

I'm putting together a session for this year's Australian Surface
Mount Conference, which is an annual affair run by the Surface
Mount and Circuit Board Association (SMCBA) in Australia.

The session's likely to be a whole day seminar covering, broadly,
an introduction to PCB design. We'll get fabricators and assemblers
and other experts to host subsections of the seminar so as to provide
multiple viewpoints to the attendees.

At this stage, I'm brainstorming the list of topics I want to cover
over the day. Note that the intent of this seminar is to provide
an introduction, plus pointers to further information and training,
rather than in depth coverage of any particular topic (basically,
I want to get to a level so that participants can judge when they're
getting out of their depth - e.g. by covering signal integrity to
the point of understanding when SI issues will be of a concern, but
not delving into extensive transmission line theory, etc).

The SMCBA runs IPC designer certification workshops and hosts courses
by experts like Lee Ritchey, so there's no need to go into depth on
any particular topic.

The intended audience would be design engineers who want to design
their own boards, beginning PCB designers, plus fabricator and assembler
staff who want an understanding of the PCB design process.

I'd like input from the list members if any of you have thoughts on
the subject. Basically, I'm interested in the things you wish had been
taught when you first started PCB design, rather than having to pick
them up by trial and error.

My list so far (in no particular order):

Issues to cover:
component availability pth vs smt
reworkability pth vs smt
assembly costs pth vs smt
routing density / board complexity pth vs smt
board complexity - fabrication issues & reliability
trusting vendor supplied library components
design of land patterns (incl. IPC SM-782A)
influence of land pattern design on fabrication and assembly
influence of assembly process on land pattern design
the board fabrication process
fabrication design rules - why?
fab design rules - stretching the limits
the assembly process
assembly limitations that influence design choices
things that designers do to piss off assembly engineers
power distribution on PCBs
ABC’s of EMC
signal integrity - when do SI concerns apply?
component placement strategies
panelization for fabrication and for assembly
stackup choice for multilayer boards
why FR4? - alternative materials
testability - testpoint placement
fiducials - why? where? how many? how big?
placement machines - things that slow them down = $$$
choosing design rules for your project
using CAD package design rules effectively
schematic to layout synchronisation
checking footprints for accuracy
data your fabricator needs
data your assembler needs
test methodologies - system, functional block, JTAG
local versus offshore fabrication/assembly - pros and cons
board finish choices - what’s right for the project?
autorouters - keep them on a tight leash / when not to use them
manual routing - approaching the ratsnest - which one first?
partnering with your fabricator and assembler

Thanks for any feedback!

John Haddy
Cisco Systems WNBU
Level 2, 3 Innovation Rd; North Ryde NSW 2113; Australia
PO Box 617; North Ryde NSW 1670; Australia
Phone: +61 2 8446 1006; Fax: +61 2 8446 1001

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