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Internet of Things PCB considerations for Startups

Seeing that IoT devices are so newer, you would think that getting an IoT printed circuit board (PCB) project off the ground starts by reinventing the wheel and suffering a good deal of technical difficulties. That is definitely untrue.
Nonetheless it doesn’t indicate that IoT startups have a evident route to fame and fortune. Facing them is quite a lot of design and manufacturing points which are special to these small products. These considerations should be considered for the fresh IoT product to reach your goals.

On the plus side, it’s necessary for IoT startups to find out that the foundation for a successful new product exists. This means that experience and knowhow regarding the design, fabrication and assembly of such leading-edge products are out there. Also, the best advice is for discreet IoT product business men and innovators to become aware of the recommendations that qualified electronics manufacturing services or EMS providers are offering. These corporations together with their engineering staffs have already performed the work with groundbreaking IoT firms in Silicon Valley stepping into the beginning of this surfacing segment.

The PCB of an IoT product is a special beast than the traditional one, which is notably larger and flat. IoT gadgets, conversely, are made up largely of either rigid-flex or flex circuit assemblies, which include their own sets of design layout, fabrication and assembly considerations and detailed aspects.

Layout

A primary factor is to try to find encountered designers who’ve undertaken quite a lot of rigid-flex PCB designs. PCB space for an IoT product is at a premium. So you want the designer to have firsthand layout knowledge to correctly design significant parts on that little room.

Moreover, virtually all IoT gadgets are not stationary; they get substantial movement and turning. Right here, the encountered designer plays a key role in calculating bend ratios and lifecycle iterations as a significant part of a design. Various other significant design layout considerations contain signal trace thickness, number of rigid and flex circuit layers, copper weight and stiffener placement. Stiffeners are utilized on flex circuits to make certain parts attached to the flex circuit keep on being firmly in place to prevent itself from movement.

A new aspect to consider is through-hole element positioning in rigid-flex circuits. Why is that important? Most of the IoT units are founded on surface mount device placement. But nevertheless , there may be through-hole parts, which are often affixed to either the rigid part or the flex part of the board. Through-hole parts are in most cases helpful to connect input/output or I/O signals to the exterior world. Doing this, those signals can be shown having an LCD or LED monitor. Through-hole element placement is a significant concern in an IoT item given that when utilized on the flex section of the board, suitable stiffeners need to be designed and employed for ideal assembly.

Finally in the layout category, the high temperature which parts generate is required to be considered. IoT gadgets are starting to be more elaborate with rigid-flex and flex circuits featuring as many as 12 – 14 layers. Some gadgets are digital. But nevertheless , more and more analog systems are being used in IoT systems. Analog circuitry creates far more heat than digital ones. That means heat expansion plus contraction rate must be taken into account. In tech lingo, this is actually called the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion or CTE and the proper management of it.

Manufacturing

Deciding on the right fabricator is crucial and is linked to the EMS corporation you’ve decided on. The fabricator you’d like must have IoT PCB fabrication practical experience. Among significant considerations here are insuring good adhesions in between layers on both rigid and flex circuit sides, figuring out all of the important calculations and having a robust knowledge of when current transfers from the rigid side to the flex side.

These fabricators must also get an in-depth comprehension of exceptionally compact parts including 0201 and also 00105 device packages, package-on-package, and the utilization of fine-pitch ball-grid array or BGA packaged devices.

Additionally, they need to have knowledge of designing boards with fairly tight tolerances in terms of footprint for those kinds of BGA devices, in terms of up-to-date capabilities like laser direct imaging for putting the solder mask on the board. They ought to have laser drills for via drilling with sizes of 5 mils or under mainly because these IoT devices could be so little that a standard drill size of 5 to 8 mils would possibly not be all you need. They may have to go to a 3 mil, which indicates that you will need to have an advanced laser drilling capability indoors.

In the event you are placing via-in-pad, it is a good way to make use of the small real estate that’s available on the rigid-flex board, nonetheless , it produces problems for assembly. If vias are not fully planar or flat in shape, it may be an obstacle through the assembly of those tiny BGA packaged devices. That’s because non-planar surfaces could endanger the integrity of solder joints.

Sometimes via in pads leave bumps in cases where they’re not scoured appropriately after putting the vias and gold finish on top. In case there are bumps, then the solder joints in the assembly for those tiny BGA balls in those IoT devices wouldn’t be an ideal joint. This might create sporadic connections, which might be a bigger issue to address and remedy. It all boils down to which EMS corporation you are using because they’re the ones who will select the fabrication facility to make a triumphant IoT item for you.

PCB Assembly

It’s crucial to take a look at encountered EMS companies that have successfully assembled IoT and wearable PCBs because they have specialized tooling and fixtures readily existing, which are vital for assembly to assure components are placed properly, accurately and the printing is accomplished correctly.

Printing is usually a difficult task for IoT systems. If it’s a rigid-flex board, then there will be a difference between thicknesses of the rigid and flex circuit portions, indicating a special fixture is required to maintain the complete rigid-flex board planar or absolutely flat to permit effective printing to be achieved.

Startups must be well prepared to discover the most suitable manufacturing partners and EMS enterprises. Doing this they can make sure that they have enough experience beforehand to get the multitude of design, fabrication and assembly details effectively performed since they are crucial to a prosperous and prompt IoT product launch.