PCB Design Checklist

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The following is a simple check list for common things which will help a great deal when constructing and debugging our PCB. See the picture below for an example of some of the items.

Basic Check List

  1. Print out scale drawing of your board and place actual components on it to verify footprints. See directions on how to do so:
    1. Printing PCB to Scale
  2. Does the board have the correct Advance circuits specifications in Altium
    1. Advanced Circuits Specifications
  3. Name and Revision number on board.
  4. Put the board dimensions on the top overlay, outisde a board outline for the manufacturer to see. Check if the Board Dimensions appear on the Gerber Files and are accurate.
    1. You can put extra comments in the Overlay outside the board so the manufacturer can utilize them and they won't show up on your final design.
  5. Check plane clearances to avoid shorts when soldering.
    1. See the Adding Custom rules – Polygon Pour Clearance Section of Altium_PCB_Layout_Tutorial.pdf to create a clearance rule.
  6. Verify transmit and receive pins are correct for serial ports.
  7. Verify silkscreen labels are not under component.
  8. Verify traces are large enough to handle the load current. (http://basicelectronic.blogspot.com/2006/09/track-width-reference-table.html)
  9. Passed the Design Rule Check (DRC) without any critical errors
  10. Did I add in my ground plane before generating the gerbers?
  11. Bypass capacitors are placed very close to their corresponding components.
  12. Mounting Holes (for stand-offs) 140-150 diameter Mils of hole size is pretty standard.
  13. All testpoints/headers are labeled with usable silkscreen designators
  14. All components have orientation designators (location of pin 1 with a number or a dot)
  15. All components have part designators (U1, R12, C4 etc.)
  16. All polarized components have a (+) or (-) silkscreen designators
  17. Important component Information is labeled with silkscreen designators
  18. Large/Oddly shaped components have profile in Silkscreen and they do not interfere with other components.
  19. Labels not covered by parts or no silkscreen overlap
  20. Power LED for every voltage rail
  21. Programmer header connection. Have I doubled checked the wiring for the connector?
    1. Programming header(s) oriented in the correct direction
  22. Potential De-Bug LEDs
  23. Add power disconnect jumpers if you want to be able to disable part of your board during testing.
    1. Or add a Power disconnect for each chip (2-pin header) for independent testing if needed
  24. Extra Headers/Testpoints/Vias for testing various signals
  25. Multiply extra testpoints/headers for power and ground (oscilloscope gnd connector)
    1. Or for connecting power off of the board
  26. Trace sizes power requirements are met (Advanced spec: 1 oz cu plate)
    1. link to trace-Current capacity page: http://basicelectronic.blogspot.com/2006/09/track-width-reference-table.html
  27. Ground connections between different board/systems where data is transferring
  28. Separate Digital and Analog ground (if necessary) for noisy, inductive components
    1. If using motors or other inductive loading, separate voltages/gnds for digital and analog rails.
  29. Voltage Level shifters present for data transmission between boards or chips with different voltage supply values
  30. Have I ordered parts yet? Are all the parts I put on the PCB instock and ordered already. If not, get them first, then order the board. Or redesign with different components.
  31. If you are not sure about certain digital connectors (TX/RX) have I added in disconnect headers for adding jumpers?
RX/TX Jumpers
PCB Silkscreen Layout Example


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