Embedded PCB

How Embedded PCB Improves the Overall Performance of Electronic Devices

The development in technology implies that embedded systems are crucial in several applications. Embedded systems are available in various electronic devices. From DVD to microwaves and automobiles, you will find embedded PCBs. Circuit boards are a crucial part of embedded systems.

Embedded systems control various electronic devices. These systems serve complex roles as the need for complex devices increases. The embedded system helps to shrink the interconnect path between PCB components. Also, it reduces transmission loss in PCBs.

What is an Embedded System in PCB?

To understand what an embedded PCB is, it is crucial to learn what an embedded system is. An embedded system is simply a combination of embedded software and hardware. This system controls other electronic devices. In this system design, software and hardware designers build embedded systems.

The PCB design is a good example of an embedded system. It involves the connection of several components to create a functional circuit. PCB embedding design requires embedding components into the layers of a typical bare PCB.

The embedded system enables the production of highly compact electronic system. This system is a solution that leads PCBs towards high performance and miniaturization. PCB in embedded system involves burying passive devices and active devices in PCBs.

The application of the embedded system helps to reduce connection points in PCBs. This system helps to improve PCB integrity and decrease parasitic inductance of PCBs. Till now, commercial, medical, and military devices feature embedded PCBs. The embedded PCB design is an established approach for electronic device miniaturization.

The embedded system comprises software and hardware components that perform certain functions. This system can carry out one or more task at the same time. The embedded system features multiple components. A microprocessor or a microcontroller is the core of the embedded system.

What is an Embedded PCB?

pcb in embedded system

An embedded PCB is a circuit board in which components are embedded into the layers of a PCB. Here, the manufacturers embed the components into a single or multiple layers of the PCB. This PCB features embedded components that help to enhance its performance.

Smaller devices comprise various passive and active components. However, the surface mounting area of SMT can’t support these components. This is a major reason behind the introduction of the embedded system. PCB embedding can apply different strategies based on the available components and their connectors.

The embedded PCB design is a crucial process in which every stage is important. Embedded PCBs feature more components like capacitors and resistors rather than SMT components. PCB manufacturers do this so as to accommodate more passive and active devices. An embedded PCB offers a lot of benefits. This includes the reduction of surface EMI and inductive reactance.

PCB Embedded Components – What are they?

PCB embedded components are widely used in various applications. The use of PCB embedded components impacts the manufacturing of a PCB significantly. There used to be delineation between PCB fabrication and component placement on bare boards during assembly. Due to the technology requirements, manufacturers handled these processes differently.

However, the processes are now better understood. Now, many fabricators can create circuit boards with embedded components. There are two ways for embedding a component on a circuit board. The first method creates an open cavity in which embedded components stay within it. Therefore, the component is visible on the completed circuit board.

The second method places the embedded component on an internal layer during production. This component is covered as the manufacturer adds the upper layers to the PCB. Therefore, they remain invisible on the completed circuit.

Embedded Resistor

This component is a passive device in a PCB that enhances the performance of electronics. This PCB embedded component transfers discrete devices from the PCB surface. Therefore, this provides more space on the surface. Also, it allows the placement of other components.

An embedded resistor must be within specific power and tolerance ratings.  This component gets rid of the need for solder joints. Most times, solder joints wear off and this impacts PCB reliability. Furthermore, an embedded resistor can enhance signal routing by removing SMT vias.

Embedded Capacitor

This embedded component utilizes copper-clad laminate. These laminates are replacements for decoupling capacitors. An embedded capacitor comprises a thin dielectric material placed between two copper layers. It can function as a decoupling capacitor due to its increased capacitive density.

Embedded Inductor

Inductors store energy and supply energy to maintain the flow of current in a circuit. An embedded inductor is one of the components in an embedded PCB. Inductors in power converters are complex and large to manufacture. Therefore, it is important to integrate these inductors within PCBs.

Factors that Influence Embedded PCB Design

When creating an embedded PCB design, there are factors that influence this process.

Size of the PCB

The PCB size is one of the most significant factors that influence embedded PCB design. The PCB size and layout must correspond with the components you plan to place on the board. The size of the PCB must ensure the proper placement of the components. This will help to prevent overheating of the board.

Most discrete embedded components are passive. Therefore, it is necessary to use the SMD technology. This helps to minimize the distance between PCB components. Routing is another way to optimize the circuit board. A manufacturer can create a double-sided PCB to allow more space.

Thermal management

A PCB generates a high amount of heat when high current passes through a trace. A designer can apply two methods to enhance thermal dissipation in a circuit board. The first method is to increase the thickness of the trace. The second method involves creating copper planes.

Placement of components

The placement of components indicates the rules applicable to PCB design. Also, manufacturers shouldn’t place heavier PCB components near the board’s edge. You can position these components on the side of the circuit board. This will help to minimize mechanical stress on the soldering points.

Also, PCB designers can avoid concentrating power devices in the same area. However, they can distribute these devices evenly on the circuit board plane. This enhances thermal dissipation in the long run.

Embedded components

More designers are incorporating PCB embedded components in their PCB design. This is because the embedded system involves embedding capacitors, inductors, and resistors in the PCB. The embedded system shortens the traces’ lengths. Also, it reduces the number of soldering points.

How to Design a PCB Assembly For an Embedded System

PCBs assemblies are a crucial part of the embedded system. Designing a PCB for an embedded system can be overwhelming. However, a good approach helps you create the design easily. Follow these points to help you create a good design.

Define the requirements

Each PCB design starts with some requirements. You need to gather and analyze the requirements of the PCB. Size is an important factor here and how the PCB connects to other areas of the embedded system. These factors will impact the complexity of the PCB assembly.

Create a schematic

Once you translate the requirements into specifications, create the schematic. The designer has to select the appropriate microcontroller and components for the PCB. The schematic is a diagram that shows the required components and where they will be placed.

The microcontroller is the core of an embedded system. Therefore, it is important to consider some factors like processing speed and peripherals.

Electronic design automation software

After creating the schematic, input the information on the schematic into software. The electronic design automation software collates a CAD file. The CAD file is a set of documents that serve as a set of instructions for assembling a PCB.

Choose a fabrication method

The original requirements will determine the fabrication method selected for a PCB assembly. Other factors that play a role are available resources, budget, and timeframe.

Testing

The last phase is determining the type of tests the PCB will undergo. Testing is an important stage in PCB assembly. This stage helps to ensure the design meets the requirements. There are various testing methods for PCB assemblies. Before approving an embedded PCB for manufacturing, it must be tested for functionality.

Challenges in Embedded System Design

Designers are likely to face some challenges during the design process of an embedded PCB. Every stage of the embedded system is crucial. However, the PCB design determines a successful outcome. With a firmware revision, you can fix code issues like bugs.

However, in PCB manufacturing, any defects can lead to costly reworks or remedies. Therefore, a designer must be careful when designing a PCB in an embedded system. You can reduce or prevent EMI by adhering to strict design rules. Performing thermal analysis over the PCB layout is a way to address thermal heat points.

It is very important that the design fits the enclosure well. Designers can make use of the ECAD/MCAD function. Incorporating the appropriate PCB software plays a significant role in achieving an embedded design.

Other challenges in this system include:

  • Packaging and integration
  • Environment adaptability
  • Area occupied
  • Power consumption
  • Security
  • Hardware testing
  • Validation maintainability

The embedded design system is a complex one that requires designers to pay attention. The challenges encountered in this system can be prevented or reduced.

How Does an Embedded PCB Help to Dissipate Heat?

The embedded copper coin PCB is a solution for heat dissipation in PCB. This embedded system makes use of copper coin’s thermal conductivity. The parts in the circuit board generate heat. This heat transfers to the copper coin and the heat disperses through the copper coin.

Typically, heat dissipation in a PCB occurs through thermal vias hole. However, some materials can’t transfer heat. Meanwhile, some vital components need heat dissipation. Copper is a great conductor of heat. Therefore, adding copper coin to a PCB helps to heat dissipation from an active board.

The embedded copper coin PCB refers to the copper coin embedded in the PCB slot after routing. This PCB meets the requirements for heat dissipation of intensive components. In the embedded copper coin PCB, the PCB connects with copper coin through copper plating.

The embedded copper coin PCB technology involves inserting copper coin into the PCB’s metalized wall after a press. There are different shapes of coin you can use in this technology. The shape of the area you intend to dissipate heat will determine the shape of the coin. C-coin, T-coin, and I-coin are examples of the coin shapes available.

The embedding of copper coin must match the shape design and PCB milling groove dimension. The most ideal size of PCB and copper coin is within the range of 0-0.2mm. Bigger size will damage the copper coin and wall. This will also increase the risk of the copper not being able to be embedded.

Advantages of an Embedded PCB

An embedded PCB has a lot of benefits. This PCB is an approach for the electronic device miniaturization.

Strict design parameters

The design parameters for an embedded PCB are pre-defined. However, they are configurable to an extent. In the embedded system, there can be extensions and additions.

Enhances heat dissipation

This is a great benefit of PCB in embedded systems. For instance, the embedded copper coin PCB is a great solution for heat dissipation. This PCB allows heat to dissipate in a circuit.

Compact design

An embedded system is compact since everything is placed on a chip to carry out a task. The embedded system design enhances the fabrication of complex and compact boards. Also, the embedded components help to reduce the PCB assembly size.

Cost effective

Embedded PCBs are cost-effective. This is because everything in the circuit is present on a single chip. The compact design of an embedded PCB makes it less expensive.

Conclusion

Embedded PCBs are widely used in several applications. From the medical to military and aerospace industries, embedded PCBs are widely used. PCB embedded components offer higher density and enhance higher signal frequencies in PCBs. There is an increasing production of compact sized electronic devices. Therefore, it is important to embed some components in PCBs.

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