Site icon Pallav Aggarwal

10 Tips to Squeeze your Embedded Design or Product

Many times there is a need to reduce the size of the embedded design due to various reasons like, to reduce bulkiness, to reduce space it takes on the table, to eliminate the mounting challenges with a bigger & heavy design, reduce shipping cost, etc.

Below are 10 ways which can help you reduce the size of your existing design easily:

1. Smaller Footprint

The easiest way to reduce the size of your circuit is by replacing the components with its smaller counterpart. If you are using through-hole components you can switch to SMD components. If you are already using SMD, you can use a smaller footprint.

2. Reduce Inter-component Spacing

Reducing the space between the components while placing the components on PCB will have a significant impact on the overall size. On the other hand, you should not compromise with min. clearance spec, this might impact high voltage circuits or will make your circuit difficult to solder or repair.

3. Increase PCB Layers

You need space on the PCB to route the tracks from one component to another and when you have more layers you get more space for routing. For example, if the board is of two layers, you can switch to 4 layers and easily reduce the size of the board as now you can route your signal quite easily and shift power /ground place to the inner layers. Now power and ground tracks will not interfere with the signal traces.

4. Both side component mounting

Often times, in order to keep the manufacturing challenges and cost low, designers choose to make PCBs with components mounted only on one side. In case you are can handle little more effort and cost of manufacturing due to component mounted on both sides of the PCB, this option greatly helps reduce the size of the overall PCB.

Image Courtesy: Wiki

5. Integrated chips or modules

Think about a way to reduce the number of components on your board. Can you combine a few parts with a chip having more features integrated?

Some examples are:

6. Review Connectors

In general, connector takes a significant part of the PCB space, review all connectors used and see if there is a smaller alternate or you want to combine few connectors together with a combo?

7. Optimize Flexibility

While designing a circuit, every designer keeps some flexibility in mind to handle EOL of a component, fall back options, uncertain behavior of a chip or circuit, easy of the test (test points) in mind and keeps those options on the circuit. Once the design is proven you can remove such options and reduce the overall circuit size.

8. Split the embedded design

Some times to reduce the size, it becomes mandatory to split the design into two to more board and then connect them (piggyback) via appropriate connectors or cables. Need to be aware of the need for a special board to board connectors or cables, or mounting option, etc.

Image Courtesy : RS-Online & Research Gate

Image Courtesy: Robotics USC

9. Reduce the overall embedded design, think out of the box

Sometimes you need to think about the way you have designed the circuit, like, is there a way to reduce the overall complexity or circuitry?

some examples could be:

10. Redesign

You might need to re-architect and redesign in some cases, no other way.

Common Challenges

There are various common challenges which might come while attempting to reduce the size of the design which one needs to be aware of, are as mentioned below:

Do you know more ways, please do share in the comments section?

Hope this article was useful.

Exit mobile version