This week’s Weekly Roundup we’re seeing noise makers, more LEDs, no robots, the fastest RISC based Arduino compatible board and a new SBC that’ll raise the bar even further.
See below for links and also on my website.
1Bitsy & Black Magic Probe
868Mhz 915Mhz SX1276 Lora Module with ATmega328P
Flexible LED Array 32×32
OpenHome Security Gateway
# AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey
RF Explorer 3G+
Pi Powered Times Square Traveler Pack
Flexible LED Array 16×16
Flexible LED Array 8×8
# The Cheap Side
Maple Leaf clone
RTL8710 WiFi Module
Wemos D1 clone
ADS1015 12 bit ADC
DIY Smoke Detector
2.2″ 320×240 TFT
1.3″ 128×64 OLED
BME280 Atmospheric Sensor
AK09911C Hall Sensor
4-Port USB hub
IoT PCB considerations for Startups
Since IoT products are so cutting edge, you would think that getting an IoT printed circuit board (PCB) project off the ground starts by reinventing the wheel and dealing with a number of technical complications. This is incorrect.
But it doesn’t indicate IoT startups have a obvious route to fame. Facing them is numerous design and manufacturing factors to consider that are unique to these small products. These things to consider are required to be looked at for the fresh IoT product to gain success.
On the plus side, it’s very important for IoT startups to comprehend that the foundation for a successful new product does exist. This means that experience and knowhow concerning the design, fabrication and assembly of these complex products are readily available. And the best advice is for sensible IoT product entrepreneurs and forerunners to focus on the recommendations that veteran electronics manufacturing services or EMS vendors have to offer. These corporations in addition to their engineering employees have already conducted the job with groundbreaking IoT corporations in Silicon Valley participating in the first stages of this growing segment.
The PCB of an IoT device is another beast than the traditional one, which is noticeably larger and flat. IoT devices, conversely, consist mainly of either rigid-flex or flex circuit assemblies, which include their very own categories of design layout, fabrication and assembly things to consider and technicalities.
A primary thing to consider is to search for expert designers who’ve accomplished a great deal of rigid-flex PCB designs. PCB space for an IoT device is limited. So you would like the designer to have firsthand layout practical experience to effectively design vital elements on that modest space.
At the same time, virtually all IoT units are not fixed; they incur appreciable movement and twisting. Here, the expert designer plays a vital role in determining bend ratios and lifecycle iterations as a critical part of a design. Additional vital design layout things to consider involve signal trace thickness, number of rigid and flex circuit layers, copper weight and stiffener placement. Stiffeners are widely used on flex circuits to make certain elements mounted on the flex circuit continue to be tightly in position to stop movement.
An alternative thing to consider is through-hole element placement in rigid-flex circuits. Why is that very important? The majority of IoT units are founded on surface mount device placement. Yet , there might be through-hole elements, which are usually attached to either the rigid portion or the flex part of the board. Through-hole elements are often employed to connect input/output or I/O signals to the exterior world. Doing this, those signals can be displayed having an LCD or LED monitor. Through-hole element placement is a vital account in an IoT device as when applied to the flex portion of the board, appropriate stiffeners ought to be designed and implemented for ideal assembly.
Eventually in the layout category, the heat which elements bring in should be considered. IoT units are starting to be difficult with rigid-flex and flex circuits featuring approximately 12 – 14 layers. A few units are digital. Yet , more and more analog systems are being exercised in IoT systems. Analog circuitry delivers way more heat than digital ones. This indicates heat expansion as well as contraction rate are required to be taken into consideration. In tech lingo, this is actually called the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion or CTE and the good dealing with it.
Deciding on the best fabricator is essential and is linked to the EMS partner you have picked out. The fabricator you desire must have IoT PCB fabrication experience. Among vital things to consider here are insuring sturdy adhesions between layers on both rigid and flex circuit sides, learning all the vital calculations and getting a solid knowledge of when current moves from the rigid side to the flex side.
Such fabricators also needs to possess an in-depth knowledge of exceptionally small components like 0201 and also 00105 device packages, package-on-package, and the use of fine-pitch ball-grid array or BGA packaged devices.
In addition they ought to have experience in designing boards with truly tight tolerances in terms of footprint for those types of BGA devices, in terms of up-to-date capabilities like laser direct imaging for putting the solder mask on the board. They need to have laser drills for via drilling with sizes of 5 mils or under mainly because these IoT products could be so modest that a standard drill size of 5 to 8 mils may not be sufficient. They may ought to go to a 3 mil, which means that you must have an advanced laser drilling capability in-house.
In case you are placing via-in-pad, it is a easy way to take advantage of the small land that is available on the rigid-flex board, but it creates trouble for assembly. If vias aren’t entirely planar or flat in shape, it may be a difficulty throughout the assembly of those tiny BGA packaged devices. This comes about because non-planar surfaces could endanger the integrity of solder joints.
At times via in pads leave bumps in the event they’re not cleaned appropriately after positioning the vias and gold finish at the top. In the event that there are bumps, then the solder joints in the assembly for those tiny BGA balls in those IoT devices wouldn’t be a great joint. It could create spotty connections, which can be a larger issue to treat and work on. It all boils down to which EMS partner you’re using because they’re the ones who will decide on the fabrication house to make a thriving IoT product for you.
It’s vital to go to expert EMS companies that have effectively assembled IoT and wearable PCBs since they have special tooling and fixtures already obtainable, which are necessary for assembly to ensure that components are placed the right way, precisely and the printing is performed properly.
Printing can sometimes be a headache for IoT systems. If it’s a rigid-flex board, then there exists a change between thicknesses of the rigid and flex circuit portions, which suggests a special fixture is necessary to retain the complete rigid-flex board planar or entirely flat to help effective printing to become actually done.
Startups ought to be prepared to choose the ideal manufacturing partners and EMS firms. Doing this they can make sure that they’ve enough experience beforehand to get the multitude of design, fabrication and assembly details efficiently performed as they are key to a triumphant and prompt IoT product launch.