Common Misconceptions About PCB Design
PCB design is one of those activities which can be easily misconstrued if you don’t know much about it. There are plenty of people who want to get started with designing their own circuit boards but they are hesitant because they feel like the activity is too inaccessible for them. Let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions surrounding PCB design and why they are nothing more than that; mere misconceptions.
PCB Design is Only for Professionals
It is certainly true that there is a booming industry of PCB designers and manufacturers. Every single piece of technology we own has a PCB inside it and someone has got to design them. However, there is also a lively community of amateur PCB designers.
Some of them like to put together their own designs to make clocks and other fun electronics and others simply indulge in the hobby just to push their creative side. It is definitely not just an activity for the professionals so if you are just looking for a hobby then you might find plenty of scope for one.
PCB Design is Expensive
This is a common misconception because many of the top design softwares come with hefty subscriptions for an amateur. However, this is because they are designed to appeal to commercial users and not hobbyists. If you want to try PCB design for yourself, all you need is a computer (which you probably already have) and the right software for you.
You can find many affordable software out there to use. Even the top-of-the-range design programs like Altium offer alternative programs so you can still make use of all their features at a rate which might be more agreeable to your bank balance. You can even find free trials on Altium’s website, which may save you money initially whilst you’re trying to work out which PCB software you need.
Many people also point to the price of manufacturing prototypes when claiming that PCB design can be expensive. However, you are under no obligation to manufacture your PCB if you do not want to. You might be quite content simply designing circuit after circuit without ever manufacturing them. If you do want to try it, you can shop around to find an affordable manufacturer who can put together a prototype for you at a discounted rate. You could even try PCB manufacture for yourself.
PCB Design is Boring
This is certainly the biggest misconception of them all. PCB design can take you on a whirlwind of emotions. There is the all elusive “Eureka!” moment following intense frustration about why a circuit might not be working. There is excitement when starting a project and joy when finishing. Finally, there is that all-important feeling of satisfaction if you get to hold a PCB in your hands and you know that you are the one who designed it. PCB design will make you feel many things but it is certainly never boring.
These are three of the biggest misconceptions surrounding PCB design and we are certain that we have debunked them here. If you are still unsure about whether or not you want to try PCB design, just dive in! You won’t regret it!