How to Create a Printed Circuit Board (PCB)(Section 5)
5. Physical Creation of PCB
Now all the Gerber files necessary to physically create the PCB are available. These Gerber files are used along with the prototyping machine to create the PCB substrate. The components are then added and soldered into place, completing the PCB.
In the case of the optosensor circuit, the Gerber files were emailed to the ECE Shop, along with a schematic and parts list for the PCB. In the ECE shop, those files were used along with a prototyping system called Quick Circuit 7000 to create the PCB substrate. Then, referencing a copy of the optosensor Layout, the components were placed and soldered, completing the PCB.
Using the current ECE shop equipment, the maximum board size is 13”x19”. During normal workload periods, it will take 2 days from when the Gerber files are sent to the ECE Shop and when a completed PCB is returned.
When the board is returned it needs to be verified. First, one should visually inspect all connections for solder bridges and bad connections. Then, with the PCB still unpowered, one should use an ohmmeter to verify the correct pin connections through the traces. If all seems well, then power may be applied with testing and troubleshooting to follow as necessary. All repairs to the board should be conducted by an ECE Shop staff member only, as it is very easy to damage the PCB when soldering or conducting other repairs.
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