Practical PCB Design and Manufacture

Fall 2018, Friday 11:00-1:30 pm, ECEE 281/282 Circuits Lab

Full Semester, 3 credits:

  • ECEN 4013-001 Practical PCB Design and Manufacture – for EE/ECE undergrads wanting to develop deeper skills
  • ECEN 5013-001 Practical PCB Design and Manufacture – for ESE grad students wanting to develop deeper skills

5-weeks only, 1 credit (from semester start) NOT A DISTANCE SECTION:

  • ECEN 4013-001B Practical PCB Design Accelerator – for EE/ECE undergrads wanting basic PCB skills
  • ECEN 5013-001B Practical PCB Design Accelerator – for ESE grads wanting basic PCB skills

Instructors: Prof Eric Bogatin ( )

TA: Vinayak Mohan (

Fall 2018, Friday 11 am to 1:30 pm ,

Room: ECEE 282 circuits lab

Assignments will be turned in thru canvas.

Students should sign into the slack channel for this course

BEFORE you come to the first class, you MUST read and fill out this form about conduct in the lab.


The first five weeks of this class is a “boot camp” to take you from no experience at all, to successfully building two-layer prototype boards for your engineering projects. This includes learning the layout tool, how to source parts, build BOMs, incorporate the most important best design practices for signal integrity, manufacturing and test, how to submit orders, assemble boards by hand and troubleshoot. The five week program is concurrent with the full program, but ends after the first five weeks.

The full version of this class covers these topics in more details and expands the skills to four layer boards and advanced manufacturing technologies.

You will learn the basics of successful circuit board design from concept through working board. In addition to learning how to use circuit boards to connect electronic components, you will also learn how to engineer the interconnects to avoid common signal integrity and power integrity problems.

Attention is paid to the most important troubleshooting techniques using scopes and other instruments. This includes understanding the instruments, best measurement practices, proper probe selection and designing a board for test access.

Every student will design, build and debug a circuit board prototype project. We will use Mentor Graphics PADS Professional, a professional level, commercial tool popular in the industry. Your experience with this tool will look good on your resume. It is available to all students, for this class and other CU projects. If you intend on building any prototype circuit boards for student projects or for your hobby, this special boot camp portion of this course is a must.

You will need to download the install files. You must use your email to access these files. You can view this video to walk you thru the installation process, or attend the installation party Tues Aug 28, 2018, 6 pm in ECEE 1B32.

Grades will be based on:

10% on a short weekly quiz

30% on weekly problem sets

30% on weekly design assignments

30% on the final report

Structure of the class:

We only meet once a week in the lab for 2 1/2 hours. Class time will focus on lab experiments and hands on activities. BEFORE you come to class, view the videos and read the assignments.

My expectation is that you will spend:

  • 2 hours a week reading and viewing the video assignments BEFORE you come to class
  • 3 hours a week completing the design assignments BEFORE the Friday they are due
  • 2 hours a week completing the problem sets after the Friday lab, before midnight

The readings and videos cover the lab experiments you will do in class. If you do not complete the readings and the videos BEFORE class, you will not be prepared. You will waste your time, your partners's time, the classes time and my time. Don't bother coming to class.

The in-class quiz will take place from 11 am to 11:05 am in the lab, every day. Be sure to come to class on time with a device to access canvas on-line to complete the quiz. There are no makeups.

The weekly problem sets will be posted the beginning of the week. It will cover the readings AND the Friday lab exercises. It will be due Friday at midnight. Your solutions should be scanned into a pdf and uploaded to canvas.

The design assignments will be posted at end of Friday's class and be due before the following Friday class.

The schedule for the lab experiments and the design assignments are posted here.

There are three board design assignments:

  • a simple LED timer board
  • a golden version of an Arduino board
  • a low noise instrumentation shield for an Arduino board

In the rest of the class, we focus on transforming prototypes into boards that can be ramped for production. Complex, multilayer circuit boards will be designed and analyzed. This is an in-depth and thorough look at industry accepted best design practices for test, signal integrity, manufacturing and reliability, while meeting cost and schedule goals. You will focus on designing boards that could be used in volume production. This is essential preparation for a career in the electronics industry.

Along the way, you will learn how the principles of circuit theory, electromagnetics, materials science and practical manufacturing constraints drive the design tradeoffs in circuit board design and manufacture.

Required Prerequisites

ECEN 2270 - Electronics Design Lab

ECEN 3360 - Digital Design Lab


· Learn how to get the most out of the layout tool

· Learn the common problems to avoid in designing a circuit board for your projects

· Increase the chance of first time success in your board projects.

· Gain skill at oscilloscope measurement techniques

· Experience how fundamental theory is applied to real world problems

· Adopt industry accepted best design practices and develop good board design habits

· Learn the fundamental signal integrity principles and translate them into practical design guidelines

· Apply these new skills to design, build and test your own functional boards

Required Prerequisites

ECEN 2270 - Electronics Design Lab

ECEN 3360 - Digital Design Lab


wk 1. What determines trace widths, complete the layout and order your first fab (brd 1)

wk 2. Best assembly practices and best practices for finding and selecting parts

wk 3. Measuring ground bounce and best layout practices for signal and power

wk 4. Noise consequences of a bad layout, building a schematic

wk 5. Assembly, bring up and test of your fab, beginning the Plan for brd 2

End of the prototyping boot camp

wk 6. Conducting peer design reviews, best practices for building BOMs and schematic capture

wk 7. Power distribution design and best layout practices, release brd 2 to fab

wk 8. Transmission lines and scope measurements

wk 9. Assemble and test brd 2, Plan brd 3, a 4-layer board

wk 10. Best design and measurement practices for low noise, layout techniques for 4-layers

wk 11. Peer design review and order brd 3 fab

wk 12. Prototype brd 3 with modules and write test code

wk 13. Winter break

wk 14. Assemble and test brd 3 shield

wk 15. Special guest lecture

Text: Rather than a required text book, we will use selected application notes and web videos. A supplemental textbook is recommended which covers design principles for signal integrity, Signal and Power Integrity- Simplified, by Eric Bogatin, ISBN-13: 978-0132349796. Be sure to get the 3rd edition.

Honor code

A complete description of the honor code can be found here . The complete guide to student behavior is posted here.

To summarize: "Violations of the Honor Code are acts of academic dishonesty and include but are not limited to plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, aid of academic dishonesty, lying to course instructors, lying to representatives of the Honor Code, bribery or threats pertaining to academic matters, or an attempt to do any of the aforementioned violations."

I take academic integrity very seriously. Integrity and ethical behavior are a few of the most important qualities you can have as a professional engineer. Your behavior in this class and in your future as a professional engineer reflects on me as well as you.

Any suspected violations of the Honor Code will be submitted to our Honor Code Office. Students found responsible for any violation by our faculty and the Honor Code Office will earn an automatic F in the course. We take these issues seriously and have a responsibility to all students who uphold the Honor Code, and to the highest industry standards for which we are preparing students. If you have any questions whatsoever regarding what collaboration is permissible in the course, consult your instructor directly before proceeding. By default, you are expected to turn in your own original work and cite any and all portions you did not create. All aspects of the Honor Code apply.

In this class:

  • The in-class quiz is strictly by individual only. Do not discuss the questions or solutions with any other student.
  • For labs and design projects you will work in teams. Interaction with other teams is encouraged.
  • The problem sets can be discussed in groups but each student must turn in their own solution.
  • Viewing and discussing the videos in groups is encouraged.

Other Resources