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How Are Printed Circuit Boards Designed?

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Circuit Boards Designed

Layout and design of PCBs have a large impact on the way a circuit will work, meaning that an effectively designed printed circuit board will perform much more reliably and within specification. There are several steps and processes required in the design of circuit boards.

Here, we will outline the process of designing printed circuit boards so you may have a better understanding of what is involved.

Design equipment

For commercial development purposes, there is electronic layout software available, such as computer-aided design (CAD) packages which companies such as Altium are likely to use. This type of software is often necessary due to the complexity of the printed circuit board being designed.

Being able to run simulations within a software environment is becoming increasingly important as the speed of boards increases and radio frequencies being used become higher.

Schematic capture

The first stage in the development of a PCB design is to capture the schematic for the circuit. This may be achieved in a variety of ways. Circuits can use a schematic capture tool. This can be part of the PCB design software or it may be an external package.

When the schematic capture is finished, the electronic design of the circuit is contained within the file and it is then converted to what is known as a “netlist”. The netlist is the interconnectivity information and it is the circuit nodes and the component pins.

PCB design showing components and tracks

Before the design and layout of the PCB, it is required to get a rough idea of where on the board components are going to be located and if there will be enough space on the PCB to fit all of the required circuitry. This step will help decide the number of layers will be needed in the construction of the board as well as if there will be enough space.

When an estimate has been reached a more detailed layout can be made for the final design of the PCB. This can take into account things like the proximity of devices that may need to communicate with one another.

Routing

With the basic placement completed the next step in the design is to route the connections between all components. PCB software routes the connections according to the schematic. Often one layer will be used as a ground plane and another may be used as a power plane – this will reduce the level of any noise.

This routing process can use a significant amount of computing power. This is especially true for larger printed circuit board designs. This is because larger designs can involve thousands of different components. Where the routing can be particularly difficult because of the sheer number of components, the process can take a significant amount of time.

Of course, this is just a brief outline, the entire process can be very involved but hopefully, you have a better understanding.

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Embarrassing teenage posts on Facebook? Now you can delete them

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Facebook users no longer need to worry about their teenage posts coming back to haunt them in later life, thanks to a new tool for deleting hundreds or thousands of posts at once.

The “manage activity” feature, available now on Facebook’s mobile apps, lets users search for and remove posts from a particular time, mentioning a particular person, or within a range of dates. 

Its release shows the company acting on one increasingly common reason for young people to steer clear of traditional social networks: the fear that a permanent record of their actions may hurt them down the line.

Facebook said in a statement: “We know that people’s posts from years ago may not represent who they are now – eg old Facebook statuses from university. This tool lets you move posts you want to hide from others but keep for yourself to an archive and remove posts that you simply want to delete.

“We believe people should have the ability to manage and control their data, and we will continue to develop new ways to honour people’s privacy by providing greater transparency and controls.”

Twitter has taken a different approach to the problem, trialling in Brazil the ability to send ephemeral tweets – dubbed “fleets” – which disappear after 24 hours.

In the past year celebrities such as Kevin Hart, James Gunn and Shawn Mendes have issued apologies for old tweets that resurfaced to cause scandal.

Instagram, a Facebook subsidiary, acted earlier than its parent company, driven in part by stiff competition from Snapchat. Instagram Stories have always been ephemeral by default, automatically deleting after a period of time, and in 2017 the company introduced an “archive” feature to head off a growing trend of users deleting pictures that didn’t gather enough likes.

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Android: Why this photo is bricking some phones

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Several brands seem to be affected, including Samsung and Google’s Pixel.

The bug makes the screen turn on and off continuously. In some cases a factory reset is required.

The BBC does not recommend trying it out.

Samsung is due to roll out a maintenance update on 11 June. The BBC has contacted Google for comment but not yet had a response.

A tweet on the issue has had thousands of likes and re-tweets, with some reporting that their phone has also been affected.

Tech journalist Bogdan Petrovan at Android Authority said the bug did not affect his Huawei 20 Pro but it did cause a Google Pixel 2 to malfunction.

“After setting the image in question as a wallpaper, the phone immediately crashed. It attempted to reboot, but the screen would constantly turn on and off, making it impossible to pass the security screen,” he noted.

Restarting the device in safe mode (by holding down the volume button during boot-up) did not fix the issue.”

It appears to affect some but not all devices running the latest version of the Android operating system, Android 10.

The launch event for Android 11 was due to take place this week but has been postponed.

There has not yet been an official reason given for the bug but developer Dylan Roussel, who writes at 9to5Google tweeted his theory.

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The Last of Us Part 2: hands-on with Naughty Dog’s stunning farewell to PS4

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The last big hurrah of the PlayStation 3 era, The Last of Us launched on June 14th, 2013 – five months before the arrival of PS4. A technological masterpiece for the era and a crowning achievement for Sony first party development, there’s a strong argument that developer Naughty Dog pushed the ageing hardware to its very limits – a fitting send-off for the console by one of its most accomplished developers. Almost seven years later to the day, the studio is set to repeat the trick with the imminent arrival of The Last of Us Part 2.

Preview coverage for this title is a little tricky. While we’ve played the game, what we can explicitly comment on is highly limited and the only assets we can share from this slice of the game have already been shown on last week’s State of Play. But what we can confidently share is that, put simply, The Last of Us Part 2 does not disappoint. From a technological standpoint, there’s a clear path of progression from The Last of Us Remastered, through the still-stunning Uncharted 4 and the often overlooked Lost Legacy, right up to this latest Naughty Dog showcase.

Some of the basics are easily covered – essentially remaining unchanged from prior trailers and indeed Uncharted 4 before it. Rendering resolution on PlayStation 4 Pro is still 1440p, backed up by the firm’s clean temporal anti-aliasing solution. Performance is solid at 30fps, with few deviations, and actually improved overall compared to Uncharted 4’s showing on PlayStation 4 Pro. In terms of image quality and frame-rate, we don’t anticipate many complaints.

However, just as The Last of Us saw the Naughty Dog engine evolve over the Nation Drake titles on PS3, so we see a very different aesthetic in The Last of Us Part 2, with the emphasis on indirect lighting again coming to the fore. Joel and Ellie’s story takes place in a world where most areas of the game are illuminated only by the sun, with only select environments seeing any other form of lighting.

Check original content: The Last of Us Part 2: hands-on with Naughty Dog’s stunning farewell to PS4

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