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PCBD-Apr2016

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10 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2016 and assemblies than about electronics. People who understood the value of copper balance, pad-to-hole ratio, hole-to-board thickness ratio, how component placement impacted assembly and repair, knowledge of thermal transfer, etc. made better board designers than those with knowledge of only circuit theory. Those who had good analytical ability truly had the ulti- mate tool needed for board design. But knowl- edge of electronics, who cared? My education and background meant very little; I was learn- ing everything from scratch. Is this still true today? We will attempt to an- swer that question. Why did EE knowledge play such a small role back then? Circuits in those days, with the exception of the RF world, were so low in frequency that board traces had to be several yards long before they were a distributed length, capable of impacting performance. You could, by today's standards, make every mistake under the sun, even in very large boards, and there was a good likelihood the circuit would work anyway. This was not always true, but it Working with Circuit Design Engineers by Rick Hartley RHARTley enTeRPRISeS The PCB Design Magazine and PCBDesign007. com receive a lot of feedback from reader sur- veys. One frequent comment from both PC board designers and circuit engineers involves the frustration of working with each other. Also, a question often asked is, "Are EEs taking over PC board design?" In 1965, with a two-year college degree, I began life in electronics as an R&D technician. Over a few years I became a circuit designer (EE). Several years later I took another fork in the road, moving into PC board design and lay- out, making the assumption that, "Being an EE, surely I would be a better board designer than most." Yeah, right! I quickly learned that PC board design in the 1970s was less a matter of engineering and more a matter of art. Clearly there was science involved but that science was much more about mechanics and manufacturability of bare boards feature

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