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PCB Layout Introduction. Wei Ren Feb. 2 nd , 2010. Content. Workflow System Analysis Transmission Lines Components Placement Transmission Lines Routing Power Distribution Crosstalk EMI Summary. Workflow. Optimization may need to be made after debugging the circuits.

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Pcb layout introduction

PCB Layout Introduction

Wei Ren

Feb. 2nd, 2010


  • Workflow

  • System Analysis

  • Transmission Lines

  • Components Placement

  • Transmission Lines Routing

  • Power Distribution

  • Crosstalk

  • EMI

  • Summary


Optimization may need

to be made after debugging

the circuits.

System analysis
System Analysis

Divide the whole system into several sub-systems by their functions:

  • Power sub-system: DC-DC converter (analog? digital?);

    Linear regulator (analog? digital?);

    ±12V, ±5V, ±3.3V, etc. (analog? digital?);


  • Analog sub-system: Analog clock path;

    Signal path 1, (Priority?)

    Signal path 2, (Priority?)


  • Digital sub-system: Digital clock path;

    Digital-to-analog path;

    Digital control path;


Signal lines as transmission lines
Signal Lines as Transmission Lines

General Transmission Line Categories:

PCB Cross View



Parallel Lines

Twisted Lines

Signal lines as transmission lines1
Signal Lines as Transmission Lines

When a signal delay is greater than a significant portion of the transition time, the signal line must treated as a transmission line.

where, L0 – distributed inductor, C0 – shunted capacitor

so we have Characteristic Impedance Z0=(L0/C0)1/2

Propagation Delaytd=(L0C0)1/2

Signal lines as transmission lines2
Signal Lines as Transmission Lines

Issues About Transmission Line

1, Impedance Matching

In order to maximize the power transfer and minimize reflection from the load. Should have ZS=ZL.

The reflection coefficient:

Signal lines as transmission lines3
Signal Lines as Transmission Lines

Then we put the source, the load and the transmission line together. There are two boundaries which may generate reflections.

If miss-match, ringing is generated at the load.

Signal lines as transmission lines4
Signal Lines as Transmission Lines

2, Noise Coupling Issue.


a, Coupling between 2 parallel lines, f=100kHz,TTL signal

Without coupling

With coupling, 800mV

b, Direct-coupler

Transmission lines routing
Transmission Lines Routing

Layout Rules for TLs

A, Avoid Discontinuities.

at bends on the trace, keep the Zo constant.

A, poor


B, shaving the


C, by 45-degree


D, by curve

Transmission lines routing1
Transmission Lines Routing

Vias take signal through the board to another layer. The vertical run of metal between layers is an uncontrolled impedance. So use the vias as few as possible

Transmission lines routing2
Transmission Lines Routing

B, Do NOT Use Stubs or Ts

a), stubs

b), preferred solution

Power distribution
Power Distribution

It is important to have a noise-free power distribution network, which also must provide a return path for all signals generated and received on the board.

1, Power Distribution Network as a Power Source

A, The effect of Impedance

A, Ideal case,

zero impedance

B, real case

Goal:Reduce the impedance of the power distribution

network as much as possible!!

Power distribution1
Power Distribution

B, Power Buses vs. Power Planes

Power Buses Power Planes

Power planes generally have better impedance characteristic than

power buses; Practical consideration might favor power buses.

Power distribution2
Power Distribution

C, Linear Noise Filtering

All the systems generate enough noise to cause problems. Since the power plane or buses does not eliminate line noise, extra filtering is required.


Bypass capacitors acting as a filter are needed.

Generally, 1uF to 10uF caps are placed across the power input to the board to filter the low frequencies (like 60-Hz);

and 0.01uF to 0.1uF caps are placed across the power and ground pins of every active device on the board to filter the harmonics ( in the range of 100MHz and higher)

Power distribution3
Power Distribution

Real capacitors have equivalent-series resistance (ESR) and equivalent-series inductance (ESL), so the real cap is a series resonant circuit, which has resonant freq,


It is capacitive at frequencies below Fr, and inductive at frequencies above Fr.

As a result, the capacitor is more a band-reject filter than a high frequency-reject filter.

Power distribution4
Power Distribution

Table 1. Bypass Capacitor Groups

Power distribution5
Power Distribution

Parallel the bypass caps to extend the range!

high-capacitance, low-ESL capacitor in parallel with a lower-capacitance, very-low-ESL capacitor.

Power distribution6
Power Distribution

Bypass Capacitors Placement:

1, Close to the active device, keep the connection as short as possible;

2, Close to the Vcc and GND.

Preferred Placement

Typical Placement

Power distribution7
Power Distribution

2, Power Distribution Network as a Signal Return Path

Each time a signal switches, AC current is generated. Current requires a closed loop. The return paths are needed to complete the loop by Ground or Vcc.

Current loops have inductance. They can aggravate ringing, crosstalk, and radiation.

Equivalent AC path

Power distribution8
Power Distribution

Table 2. Inductance of simple electrical circuits in air

Power distribution9
Power Distribution

3, Layout Rules with Power Distribution Considerations

A, Protect the circuit from damage.

Put a fuse between the power supply and device to protect the system from damage caused by short circuit, overload or device failure.

B, Be careful with feedthroughs.

PCB Topview

Common paths of signal return due to vias

Power distribution10
Power Distribution

C, Ground cables sufficiently

  • Insufficient

  • grounds

b) Enough grounds

lumped together

c) Grounds evenly

distributed among

signal lines

Power distribution11
Power Distribution

D, Separate analog and digital planes

On the boards with analog and digital functions, the power planes are separated; the planes are tied together at the power source. Place jumpers across the ground planes where signal cross to minimize the current loop.

Power distribution12
Power Distribution

E, Avoid overlapping separated planes

Do NOT overlap the power plane of digital circuitry and analog circuitry. If the planes overlap, there is capacitive coupling, which defeats isolation.

F, Isolate sensitive components

  • route other signals away from the

    isolated section;

  • etch a horseshoe in the power

    planes around the device;

  • add shielding box.

PCB Topview

Power distribution13
Power Distribution

G, Place power buses near signal lines

Sometimes, power buses is the only choice when must use two-layer PCBs. It is possible to control loop size by placing the buses as close as possible to the signal lines. The loop for that signal is the same as it would be if the load used power planes.

Power distribution14
Power Distribution

H, Pay attention to the trace width

After estimate the current of each trace, calculate the trace width before route the wire. There are some use website as “PCB Trace Width Calculator”.

For example:


H, Pay attention to the trace width

After estimate the current of each trace, calculate the trace width before route the wire. There are some use website as “PCB Trace Width Calculator”.

For example:



Crosstalk is the unwanted coupling of signals between traces. It is either capacitive or inductive.

1, Capacitive Crosstalk

Capacitive crosstalk refers to the capacitive coupling of signals between signal lines. It occurs when the lines are close to each other for some distance.


The ground trace must be a solid ground. For good grounding, the ground trace should be connected to the ground plane with taps separated a quarter wavelength of the highest frequency component of the signal.


2, Inductive Crosstalk

Inductive crosstalk can be thought of as the coupling of signals between the primary and secondary coils of an unwanted transformer

Transformer equivalent

Inductive crosstalk


Crosstalk Solutions Summary

  • The effect of both capacitive and inductive crosstalk increases with load impedance. Thus all lines susceptible to interference due to crosstalk should be terminated at the line impedance;

  • Keeping the signal lines separated reduces the energy that can be capacitively coupled between signal lines;

  • Capacitive coupling can be reduced by separating the signal lines by a ground line. To be effective, the ground trace should be connected to the ground every quarter wavelength long;

  • For inductive crosstalk, the loop size should be reduced as much as possible

  • For inductive crosstalk, avoid situations where signal return lines share a common path


Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) can be reduced through shielding, filtering, eliminating current loops, and reducing device speed where possible.


  • Analyze the circuit well before start layout the PCB;

  • Integrity and stability of power and ground;

  • Termination and careful layout of transmission lines to eliminate reflections;

  • Termination and careful layout to reduce the effects of capacitive and inductive crosstalk;

  • Noise suppression for compliance with radiation regulations.