When you think you have finished your PCB layout, you will need to test it to ensure that it all works correctly. There are many different tests you can run to make sure that everything is working properly. Here are some of the best ways to test your PCBs to make sure they are the best they can be.
Run a Simulation
Many PCB design softwares come with a range of different simulations to help you test different aspects of the design. A circuit board simulator like this will be integrated into the software itself and will help you to identify problems before the circuit board has been manufactured.
These simulations will be able to identify key areas where you may run into trouble if the PCB was actually made. They are included in many of the top PCB design solutions on the market, such as the popular designer Altium.
Know What the Common Mistakes You Could Make Are
There are many common little mistakes you can make when you are designing PCBs. As a designer, you should make sure you know how to recognise them whether you are a professional or a hobbyist.
By knowing what the mistakes are, you will be able to catch them when you are going over your design again. The simulations mentioned above are great but they are not completely fool-proof. Some things do slip through and this might slow down your testing phase. If you instead know where to look to catch the common layout mistakes, you can enter your testing phase confident that the design will work.
Reach Out to a Professional
You can try to test your PCB for yourself if you have the knowledge and the means. However, if this design is for professional purposes and it is likely to be put into mass-production, you should definitely consider reaching out to a professional to complete some tests. You may even manage to find a manufacturer who is willing to conduct tests as part of their services.
Testing your PCBs in this way is extremely beneficial as manufacturers are able to carry out far more tests on a much more intricate level than you could probably ever manage on your own. They will be able to test your PCB at every level of manufacture and will be able to report back to you if there are ever any faults.
Don’t Neglect Testing
If you think your design will work based purely on the schematic then you might be tempted to skip the testing phase. However, it is one of the most important parts of the PCB design phase and you should not neglect it.
Testing will let you know whether or not the design is intrinsically flawed. It might be just a single aspect which doesn’t work, requiring major changes, or it could just be unlikely to work at all. Therefore, you should always make sure that you include a testing phase when designing PCBs. You never know when it might help your design.