Raspberry Pi 3 PCB Layout: Everything You Need to Know

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a powerful and versatile single-board computer that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. One of the key components of the Raspberry Pi 3 is its PCB layout, which is responsible for connecting all the different components of the board and ensuring that they work together seamlessly.

The PCB layout of the Raspberry Pi 3 is a complex and intricate design that has been optimized for performance and reliability. It features a number of different layers, each of which serves a specific purpose, such as power distribution, signal routing, and ground planes. The layout has been carefully designed to minimize noise and interference, and to ensure that the board operates at optimal efficiency.

Raspberry Pi 3 PCB Layout Overview

Dimensions and Layout

The Raspberry Pi 3 PCB measures 85mm x 56mm and has a four-layer design. The board is divided into different sections, each dedicated to a specific function. The top layer of the board contains the main components, while the bottom layer contains the power supply components. The other two layers are dedicated to the ground planes.

The board has several connectors, including HDMI, Ethernet, USB, and GPIO. The connectors are positioned in a way that allows for easy access and connectivity. The GPIO connector is located at the edge of the board, making it easy to connect to external devices.

Power Supply

The Raspberry Pi 3 PCB has a power supply section that converts the input voltage to the required voltage for the different components on the board. The power supply section includes a voltage regulator, a switch, and a fuse. The voltage regulator ensures that the voltage remains stable and within the required range for the components.

Ground Planes

The Raspberry Pi 3 PCB has two ground planes that are dedicated to providing a low impedance path for the return current. The ground planes are located on the two inner layers of the board, and they are connected to the power supply section and the main components. The ground planes also help to reduce the electromagnetic interference (EMI) and improve the signal integrity.

In summary, the Raspberry Pi 3 PCB layout is well-designed and optimized for performance and functionality. The board has a compact size, yet it contains all the necessary components and connectors for a wide range of applications. The power supply and ground planes are well-implemented, ensuring stable operation and low EMI.

Components Placement

When designing a printed circuit board (PCB) for a Raspberry Pi 3, components placement is a critical step that can affect the overall performance and reliability of the device. In this section, we will discuss the placement of various components on the Raspberry Pi 3 PCB.

CPU and Memory Placement

The central processing unit (CPU) and memory are crucial components of the Raspberry Pi 3. To ensure optimal performance, it is essential to place these components in the right location on the PCB. The CPU and memory should be placed close to each other to minimize the length of the data and address buses. This helps to reduce the signal delay and improve the overall performance of the device.

Connectivity and Peripheral Placement

Connectivity and peripheral components, such as USB ports, Ethernet jacks, and HDMI connectors, should be placed on the edges of the PCB. This helps to minimize the length of the traces and reduce the risk of interference. It is also important to consider the orientation of these components to ensure that they are easily accessible and user-friendly.

In addition, it is recommended to place the power supply components, such as voltage regulators and capacitors, close to the power input connector. This helps to reduce the voltage drop and improve the stability of the power supply.

Overall, careful components placement is crucial for the successful design of a Raspberry Pi 3 PCB. By following these guidelines, designers can ensure optimal performance, reliability, and user-friendliness of the device.

Signal Routing and Traces

Clock and Data Traces

The Raspberry Pi 3 PCB layout has been designed to ensure that the clock and data traces are kept as short as possible. This is important to minimize signal propagation delay and to reduce the likelihood of crosstalk and other signal integrity issues. The clock and data traces are also kept as close together as possible, so that they have similar path lengths and are subject to similar environmental conditions.

EMI and Signal Integrity Considerations

The Raspberry Pi 3 PCB layout has been designed with EMI and signal integrity considerations in mind. The board includes a number of features to help reduce EMI and improve signal integrity, including:

  • Ground planes: The board includes dedicated ground planes to help reduce EMI and improve signal integrity.
  • Shielding: The board includes shielding around sensitive components to help reduce EMI.
  • Decoupling capacitors: The board includes decoupling capacitors to help reduce noise on the power supply lines.
  • Differential signaling: The board uses differential signaling for high-speed signals to help reduce noise and improve signal integrity.

In addition to these features, the board layout has been optimized to minimize the length of high-speed signal traces and to ensure that they are routed away from noisy components and power supply lines. This helps to reduce the likelihood of EMI and other signal integrity issues.

Overall, the Raspberry Pi 3 PCB layout has been designed to ensure that signals are routed and traced in a way that minimizes signal propagation delay, reduces the likelihood of crosstalk and other signal integrity issues, and minimizes EMI.

PCB Design Best Practices

Design for Manufacturability

When designing a PCB, it is important to consider manufacturability. This means designing the board in a way that makes it easy and cost-effective to produce. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Keep the board size reasonable to fit within the manufacturer’s standard panel size.
  • Use standard drill sizes to avoid custom tooling charges.
  • Make sure components are placed in a way that allows for easy assembly.
  • Avoid placing components too close to the board edge to prevent damage during handling and assembly.

Design for Testability

Designing a PCB for testability ensures that the board can be easily tested and diagnosed for any issues. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Include test points in the design to allow for easy access to critical signals.
  • Use a consistent naming convention for test points to make it easy to identify them.
  • Consider adding a test connector to the board to allow for easy testing without having to probe individual test points.
  • Add test firmware to the board to automate testing and reduce the time and cost of manual testing.

By following these best practices, you can design a PCB that is easy to manufacture and test, reducing the risk of errors and saving time and money in the long run.


In conclusion, the Raspberry Pi 3 PCB layout is a well-designed and versatile board that provides users with an affordable and powerful computing platform. The board’s compact size, low power consumption, and impressive performance make it an excellent choice for a wide range of applications.

One of the key advantages of the Raspberry Pi 3 PCB layout is its flexibility. The board can be used for a variety of projects, from simple home automation systems to complex robotics applications. The board’s GPIO pins and other interfaces provide users with a wide range of options for connecting sensors, actuators, and other peripherals.

Overall, the Raspberry Pi 3 PCB layout is a great choice for anyone looking for a powerful and flexible computing platform. Whether you’re a hobbyist, a student, or a professional, this board is sure to provide you with the performance and versatility you need to tackle even the most challenging projects.

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