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Complex PCBs and BGA design methods

As technology gets faster smaller and lower power, the PCB design process is becoming more critical. Poor PCB design can lead to unreliable product and inconsistent and impossible to detect faults, mostly caused by poor routing and layout. The need to reduce PCB size has resulted in BGA, Ball Grid Array, packages. These packages have a small foot print and ideal for high speed design. Reduced pin spacing means shorter track lengths and better high speed performance. Less metal as there are no metal leads means lower cost to manufacture.

BGA PCB design is not difficult but it can be complex and requires careful planning and a good understanding of the circuit to get the best performance out of the design. There are plenty of courses for engineers to train in BGA design and it can be a little specialised as the pitch of the balls in the package gets smaller. PCB design is one area where experience counts. BGA design has its own set of rules and guidelines these need to be followed for reliable PCB manufacture. The more BGA designs you do the better you become at it. Generally, 5+ years experience in general PCB design would be a minimum before tackling complex high density BGA design.

One of the critical aspects of a PCB is to ensure the voltage distribution is even over the PCB and also analysing the power distribution post design is a must for high speed low voltage PCBs. A lot of the modern logic now operates as low as 1.2V, a power line spike might cause a logic error.
As always when undertaking a complex PCB check with your PCB supplier that they can actually make the design and request their capability statement this will ensure that you do not design a PCB that cannot be made. Careful design to ensure the highest possible yield will help to ensure the lowest overall PCB cost.

Extron has very good experience at BGA designs and 12+ layer PCB design, call us we can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Complex PCBs and BGA design methods