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44 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2022 To be effective at PCB design and layout, individuals need to become proficient with the different tools of the trade. Parts libraries are among the most important. PCB design and prototyping is a critical com- ponent of electronic product development. Being faster to market has always been a com- petitive advantage and a focus for electronics manufacturers. With persistent marketplace uncertainty and supply chain disruption creat- ing delays, in-house PCB design offers a way to accelerate electronic product development projects. Not every product team is fortunate enough to have an experienced PCB designer on hand, so the task oen falls to someone with limited experience who (hopefully) enjoys the process. The Benefits of a Parts Library e first step in the design process is devel- oping the electrical schematic and the accom- panying bill of materials (BOM) needed to cre- ate the physical design. A well-planned sche- matic links to the layout tool, so the parts in the BOM are matched to what is available in a digital parts library. If all necessary parts are available, this can make the layout of the PCB much more efficient. Parts can be hard to find sometimes. While the datasheet usually provides enough to locate the right part in a library, those datasheets can be very complex and challenging for less expe- rienced designers or designers on small teams. Each part has numerous identifiers, including pin functional names, pin numbers, manu- facturer part number, and tolerances. Even with so much data for each part, there can be information gaps. We are disappointed (but not surprised) to see discrepancies between the component footprints and the datasheet. Sometimes the symbol on the datasheet does not specify part ori- entation. The PCB industr y is now moving s o r a p i d l y t h a t m a n y p a r t s a r e becoming obsolete and consolidated at a rate that makes it extremely diffi- cult to keep libraries updated on a timely basis. Designers can waste hours on a fruitless search. is oen creates the need for designers to create parts them- selves, parts that may already Connect the Dots by Matt Stevenson, SUNSTONE CIRCUITS

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