#4. Choose your technology

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You need to choose your technology relatively early in the process, as it affects the entire design. The choice of technology depends on both mechanical requirements, cost, and product size. For example, the components come in various sizes, and it is, of course, essential to choose the right size from the beginning.

The cost is also a crucial factor when choosing technology. The finer the technology and the smaller the components, the more expensive it will be. If you have a product that does not need to be particularly small, you can opt for a cheaper technology concerning the components.


Component technology

The choice of component technology can significantly impact the rest of the project, as it determines large parts of the design. For example, if you choose the latest technology with small components, you must also have better technology in the PCB structure because everything must be small.

You can choose from several different types of component technology:

  • Through-hole components
  • Surface mounted components
  • A combination of the two


When it comes to the choice of component technology, you are also at risk of making the wrong technology choice for the IPC standard. The different components you select from the component library must also meet the IPC requirements to ensure that they can be soldered correctly. You must therefore choose whether your component footprints have to meet the requirements of Class 1, 2 or 3.

Left: Surface mount technology. Right: Through-hole technology


If you choose the wrong components, you also risk that they may not fit within the perimeters you have set – and that can cost you time. For example, if you choose a technology where the components are too large, things can go wrong. So make sure that the components you design in your schematic will also fit the actual physical framework.


Consistency between components and footprints

Your components cannot be attached if you do not know your footprints. It is, therefore, up to you to make footprints that match the components.


Wise tip!

If there is no agreement between footprints, components, and dimensions, the technology will not work. When figuring out the desired dimensions, it can be beneficial to take the standard number IPC-7351 as a starting point, which comes with requirements for the SMD pad dimensions.


About IPC-7351:

IPC-7351 deals with component design and tells you how to design components on a board. It is a complicated step that could potentially go wrong. For example, if your project is installed in a satellite, and you do not get the components and library designed correctly, the components could fall off on their journey into space – at which point it is too late to fix it.


Selection of via

In connection with the components, there are also requirements for vias which connect the different layers. As with all the other elements of the PCB design, there are also different types of vias. Choosing the via type is also a step you need to decide on in the design phase.

  • Which vias do you want to use?
  • How do you want to use them?


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