Printed circuit board design software

Competency Group: Electrical Engineering

Type: Software Modeling Tools

Description: A printed circuit board, or PCB, is used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive pathways, tracks or signal traces etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. It is also referred to as printed wiring board (PWB) or etched wiring board. A PCB populated with electronic components is a printed circuit assembly (PCA), also known as a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA). Printed circuit boards are used in virtually all but the simplest commercially-produced electronic devices.PCBs are inexpensive, and can be highly reliable. They require much more layout effort and higher initial cost than either wire wrap or point-to-point construction, but are much cheaper and faster for high-volume production; the production and soldering of PCBs can be done by totally automated equipment. Will produce a design for a board which can be manufactured either as a prototype or final design of electrical/electronic applications.

Citation for Description: Printed circuit board. (2012). Retrieved from Wikipedia,

Units: Hardware board design with conductive connections which will constitute a prototype or a final design.

Advantages: This allows hardware models and prototypes to function electrically at the smallest and most convenient manufacturable size.

Limitations: Very often the designs are not correct the first time around and therefore require that multiple prototypes are created to determine where the limitations lie.

Regulations: IPC. (2012). IPC-A-610 Acceptability of Electronics Assemblies Training and Certification Program. Retrieved from

Target Audience: Engineering

Relevant to Universal Design: No

Stages and Steps: 3.5, 5, 6

Free Resource: Olimex. (n.d.) PCB Design tools. Retrieved from

Free Resource: Electro Tech Online. (2011). The scoop on PCB layout software. Retrieved from