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How to design a PC board

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Thanks for the link bdk6.

One thing I've found very helpful with learning to design boards is peer review. Let others rip apart all your hard work. I always learn the most from "you're doing it wrong" posts even if those can be hard to read sometimes.

A couple of years ago I posted a PCB layout project to the Parallax forums and received a lot of very helpful feedback.

My first PCB CAD program was Eagle but I switched to DipTrace after several recommendations from others. I was very glad I made the switch. IMO, DipTrace is much easier to use than Eagle. If you're an expert at Eagle than by all means don't switch now, but if you're just getting started, I'd suggest using DipTrace. I could also see learning to use some open source CAD software since you'll have to pay to use DipTrace on large layouts or to use it commercially.

One thing that's helped me immensely when laying out a board is to use one side of the board for vertical traces and the other side for horizontal traces. Even if it means you need to switch sides several times when getting a trace from one place to another, if you keep the directions the traces travel separated, it's a lot easier to fit tight designs on a small board.

It's really fun to receive PCB you've designed from a fab house. OSH Park is great for small boards but they're a bit expensive for larger boards. There are lots of inexpensive places were you can get ten boards for $10.