Why Should You Prototype Your Circuit Board First?

Posted 4/22/2021 by AdvancedPCB
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The printed circuit board has been around for longer than many people realize. It’s still one of the most utilized pieces of technology in the modern world, even though many people do not know it. Circuit boards are hiding in just about everything today. They are found in vehicles, phones, computers, alarms, cameras, and countless other places. If there is an electronic device, you’ll likely find some circuit boards working hard.

The PCBs today are more complex than they were in the past, so designers need to be sure that the design is just right before moving on to full manufacturing. If you are responsible for creating the circuit boards for the next electronic gadget, you want them to work perfectly. You can’t leave anything to chance. That is why you need to prototype them first.

Prototyping Your Circuit Board Offers Many Benefits

The prototype is the step that comes after the design. Even if you have spent a lot of time and effort working with the PCB Artist software to create what you believe to be the ideal circuit board, there could still be some issues. You might not see them, and they might even slip through a review. The only way you will know if there are problems is to check the board in the real world.

Doing this will allow you to see how it works in practice when it is in one of your devices. Whether this is for a small, personal project or it is a large project for a commercial device, prototyping is needed.

Let’s look at one of the reasons why you’ll need to be sure that you have a prototype of your circuit boards. Let’s say you have a board that you have tested virtually, and it works without a problem. However, there are a lot of components and you haven’t thought about how small and tight the housing is for your device. There is a chance that the board could get too hot and start to overheat. This is not something that you want to discover after you’ve shipped thousands of the product to your customers.

The prototyping will provide your circuit boards with the testing that is needed. It is not a step you will want to skip, or you could come to regret that decision.

One of the reasons some people do not prototype and test their board after it’s been reviewed and undergone virtual testing is time. They worry that getting a prototype and testing it in the real-world will end up wasting a lot of time. When you order through AdvancedPCB, you can receive your prototype circuit boards quickly. However, even if you didn’t, it would still be in your best interest to test a prototype because it can still help you save time and money down the road.

If you don’t prototype and you send out a board that doesn’t work properly, it’s going to come back to haunt you. It would mean you might have to replace the boards that are in circulation and that you need to rework the board before you can manufacture and ship more. This would take up a lot of time and effort. It would also mean that your customers may not instill as much trust in you as they did in the past.

Prototyping and testing ensure you aren’t surprised by anything that happens with your circuit boards. While there could still be problems depending on how the end consumer uses those boards, you can be sure that they are designed correctly before they are “out in the wild,” so to speak.

You will find that it becomes easier to ensure a great circuit board design when you work with us at AdvancedPCB. We provide the PCB Artist software for creating the design and we can provide an engineering review. This helps to reduce the risk of having circuit boards that do not work properly. However, it doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t still benefit from ordering a prototype first.

Don’t Become Complacent

Ideally, when you receive your prototype, you will find that it works flawlessly. It means that you’ve done a great job with the design and now that you’ve put it through its paces, you are ready to put it into full production. You might create several subsequent designs in a row that have perfect prototypes, too. This is great news, but it doesn’t mean that you can forego prototypes on your future designs.

Each design is its own challenge, and this means that you need to prototype them all, no matter how much experience you have. It is the best and only way to ensure that everything is working properly. Even a relatively “small” problem could hurt the reputation of your company.

What If There There is a Problem?

When you test the circuit boards, you might find that there is a problem. If there are issues, you will want to rethink the design. Figure out where the problem stems from and what you might be able to do to rework your design to get it to work properly. Remake it in the software and get another prototype to ensure that the problem is fixed. It can take some time to get everything right, but it is worth putting in the extra effort. It will ensure a better end product.

Do not make the mistake of skipping the prototyping phase. When you work with AdvancedPCB, we can provide you with a board quickly, so you can test it before going into production We have a lot of experience in this field and are one of the largest PCB companies in the United States. We know and understand what it takes to create excellent boards that can work in even the most trying conditions. In addition to software and a review, we utilize quality materials. You will love our prices and our quick turnaround time. You can get in touch with us today to learn more.

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