June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Design in Engineering Education
15.457.1 - 15.457.17
Emulating Industrial PCB Design Practice By Designating The Course Instructor As The Fabricator: A Cost Effective Design Experience For Electronics Circuits Laboratories At The Junior Level
For two years, the University of San Diego has included Printed Circuit Board (PCB) layout design and test in the laboratory portion of the second of two junior level electronic circuits courses that is required of all electrical engineering majors. A replication of PCB design and standard industry Gerber file export experience encountered in industry was developed. A model was developed for the PCB design experience that emulated real-world situations and cost criteria. In this model of the industrial design situation, the instructor served as the fabricator. Students individually used industry standard schematic capture and layout software to develop a PCB for a simplified discrete οA741 operational amplifier. The layout designs were submitted as Gerber files electronically to the instructor/fabricator for evaluation.
Grades were assigned by evaluating the accuracy and cost effectiveness of the design by minimizing traces, reducing PCB geometry, and limiting the number of vias. Feedback was provided by the instructor acting as the fabricator to individual students and a single fabricated printed circuit board, designed by the instructor (and fabricated by a commercial PCB manufacturer), was delivered to students for assembly and test. Although the PCB delivered is different than the one design by students, it is common for PCB fabricators to recommend changes to the original design and deliver a board that is not the same as the original design. By delivering a single PCB design to students, fabrication costs can be minimized and students can inspect the delivered board as an exemplar.
Assessments of the student perceptions of knowledge of and confidence in applying printed circuit board techniques in designing and releasing a printed circuit board were conducted prior to and after the PCB layout design and test. On a 5-point scale, overall student-reported knowledge increased by 2.79 and overall student confidence increased by 1.25 points. Faculty assessment of knowledge, as measured by scoring short answers to knowledge statements, correlated well with student report and showed an average increase of 2.85.
The instructor/fabricator model for PCB layout design experience allowed for a low cost and realistic design experience for students. As such, this model could be implemented economically in many programs as a means for introducing PCB layout design in their curriculum.
Kim, E., & Schubert, T. (2010, June), Emulating Industrial Printed Circuit Board Design Practice By Designating The Course Instructor As The Fabricator: A Cost Effective Design Experience For Electronics Circuits Laboratories At The Junior Level Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15808
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