Printed circuit boards are available in different shapes. There are octagonal boards, round boards, rectangular boards, and other odd shapes. However, the most common shapes are the square and rectangular PCB. Round PCBs are not as common as their rectangular counterparts. With the increasing development in the electronics industry, round PCBs are becoming popular.
Sometimes, there is a need for unconventional PCB shapes. This is because of the need to fit these PCBs into certain enclosures. The fact about PCB design is that a PCB must fit its intended application. Many people aren’t familiar with the round PCB. In this article, we will discuss important facts about round PCB.
What is a Round PCB?
As the name implies, a round PCB is a type of board with a round shape. A round PCB offers an electrical connection to a circuit. This type of PCB is available in consumer electronics, LED PCBA, and more. Round PCBs are ideal for both domestic and commercial devices. A round shaped PCB consumes more time during the routing process. Therefore, these boards may cost more.
PCB manufacturers fabricate round PCBs with extreme care and attention. The fabrication of this type of board is a complex one. A round PCB also features electronic components, traces, and widths. This PCB is available in wearable devices. A round shaped PCB can provide more board space for you. Therefore, this PCB gives you an edge over the rectangular ones.
A round PCB is also referred to as a circular PCB. This type of circuit board is the most difficult to work with. A round or circular PCB is available in tiny wearable devices and rigid-flex circuits.
The designing of a round PCB is more complex than the usual rectangular boards. Manufacturers can only shape the perimeter of this board with a straight line segment. When arranging the lines of the perimeter in a circular shape, you should place a circle on the silkscreen layer.
There are different software for designing a round circuit board. Break routing is the only separation method for a round PCB. Now, let us explore one of these software.
Using Eagle CAD to Make Round PCB
Eagle CAD is a popular software for designing the schematics and layouts of a circuit. A circuit’s schematic is an outline of how various electronic components connect. The designer then converts the schematic into a layout. The layout is the exact image of how the circuit will appear on the PCB. Most times, designers create a rectangular shape layout. However, Eagle CAD has a command that can change a rectangular layout into a circular one. This command is known as “MITER.”
Open the Eagle CAD software to proceed with your design. Click on the “File” and select “Open’ to open the layout file. Click “open” to open the layout file. If you haven’t created a layout file, create a new file. To do this, go to “file” and click on “New.” Name the file according to your choice.
You will need to adjust the board outline’s size according to the PCB’s size. Typically, the board outline will be a square. You can adjust the size by left clicking on either side of the outline and dragging to the right or left. Ensure the shape of the board remains square. This will prevent the shape from taking an oval shape when trying to convert it into a circle.
Make sure the sides of the square are equal to the circle’s diameter. Type “MITER 2” on top of the layout and click “Enter.” The icon will change into a + sign. Left-click on the square’s corner. The corner will become round. If the corner appears too small, use “MITER 3” or any greater number. You can do the same if the corner of the square appears too large. All you need to do is decrease the number of the MITER. Do this repeatedly to round all corners.
Round Circuit Board Design Rules
There are design rules and strategies for round circuit boards. It is very important you draw out the board’s shape in the CAD tool. This is where the foundation for your board lies. If your round circuit board is for a high-speed device, you will have to design a multilayer board.
It is also important you define the power and ground planes in separate layers. Furthermore, you will need a polygon editor to define the shape of ground or power planes. Certain software will allow you to customize your power and ground planes to fit your round board. For instance, Altium Designer is a software that helps you complete your design.
This software has the necessary tools to help you achieve a great design. The schematic capture of this software is very easy to learn. However, it is powerful enough to create the most complex schematics. Some applications require the need for a round circuit board. Therefore, it is important to design your circuit board to match your devices’ form factor.
The available board space reduces when you use a rectangular board in a curved package. A circuit board will match the packaging’s contour when the designer works with curved designs. Round PCB design provides designers with more flexibility. Also, it can enable you to expand the design to incorporate new features later on. Great CAD and layout tools enable the designer to add pad shapes in circuit boards. Round circuit boards require great panelization schemes for their design.
What is a Round LED PCB?
A round LED PCB is a type of circuit board in which a LED is soldered to it. Manufacturers design this type of PCB specifically for LED circuits. A round LED PCB helps to improve heat dissipation. As a result, it allows the greater performance of assemblies. Round LED PCBs are ideal for applications that demand the use of many LEDs.
A round LED PCB features a lot of properties which makes it a great deal in the electronics world. The truth about this PCB is that they have low power consumption. Manufacturers use aluminum to fabricate round LED PCBs. Round LED PCBs are mostly available in light fixtures. For example, these boards are available in a desk lamp, led strip, etc.
Advantages of Round LED PCB
A round LED PCB offers a lot of advantages. This type of PCB is common in several applications due to the benefits it offers.
- Saves energy
- Allows heat dissipation
- Flexible in design
- Small size
- Resistant to thermal shock and vibrations
- Environmentally friendly
Applications of Round PCB Board
Round PCBs are ideal for use in several applications. Although the round PCB board isn’t as common as the rectangular ones, it is a great option for some applications.
Some medical devices feature a round PCB board since they offer great benefits. These boards are more durable and lighter. Medical devices such as monitoring devices and hearing aid devices feature these boards.
The production of wearable devices can be a complex one. This is because these devices mostly feature round PCBs. A wearable device needs to be unobtrusive and small. In today’s world wearable devices have become so popular.
This is another application of the round PCB board. Consumer electronics are devices that we use in our day-to-day activities. Consumer electronics like smartwatches feature round PCBs.
Some telecommunication devices feature a round PCB board. Since this board offers enough routing and saves more space, it is ideal for this device. Also, this board is very flexible and durable.
Light emitting diodes (LED) also feature round PCBs. The benefits of LED are countless. This lighting incorporates round PCBs due to the flexibility they offer. Round circuit boards have great thermal and electrical properties. These make them ideal for this application.
Types of Round PCB
There are different types of round circuit boards. There are single-sided, double-sided, and multilayer round PCBs. Each of these round PCBs has its functions. Manufacturers design these boards based on the requirements of the intended projects.
Single sided round PCB
A single sided round PCB has one conductive copper layer. This is one of the most common type of round PCBs. Single sided round PCBs are common in several applications. Substrate is the main material in this type of PCB. This type of PCB is ideal for low density designs. A single sided round PCB has components on one side of the board. It then features a conductor pattern on the other side.
The single sided round PCB is the simplest PCB to fabricate. Also, it is also cheaper to fabricate. This PCB is more economical to produce than other round PCBs. The manufacturer can either use through-hole technology or surface mount technology.
Double-sided round PCB
This is another type of round circuit board. The double-sided round PCB features conductive layers on the two sides of the circuit board. This round PCB type has proved to be useful in several applications. Furthermore, it is a preferred option to the single sided round circuit board. These circuit boards are available in lighting systems, wearable devices, and consumer electronics.
Multilayer round PCB
A multilayer round PCB features more than two conductive layers of material. This type of round PCB is ideal for use in high-speed applications. The multilayer round PCB has a lot of benefits. This PCB offers higher assembly density in applications. This type of round circuit board provides high capacity and more board space. However, the multilayer round PCB is the most complex to fabricate.
How to Choose the Best Round PCB Manufacturer
Round PCB boards are complex to fabricate. Therefore, it is important you choose a round PCB manufacturer that delivers quality. There are several round PCB manufacturers available. However, you should consider some important factors when choosing one.
This is the first factor you need to consider. You should opt for a round PCB manufacturer that delivers the best quality products. This manufacturer should offer excellent quality and professional service. Choose a manufacturer with long-time experience in the field. You can make an inquiry to know about their products and services.
Round PCB manufacturers carry out several tests to ensure quality. The best manufacturer will perform several tests. Such a manufacturer will carry out E-test, thermal stress test, microsection testing, and more. These tests help to detect any defects on the circuit board. This manufacturer should also use the best quality materials for your circuit boards.
The turnaround time is also an important factor. This refers to the time it takes for a manufacturer to deliver a product. You want a manufacturer that delivers your product at your specified time.
Some round PCB manufacturers support the research and development efforts of their clients. Such manufacturers are always available to meet your demands. The best manufacturer offers quick quotation response, professional tech support, and customized service. You can inquire about a manufacturer through reviews and comments of past clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I panelize round PCBs?
The best way to panelize a round PCB is through break routing. Ensure you keep 10mm clearance between round circuit boards. This is very important when using a small routing tool. You can increase the clearance when you are using a larger routing tool.
What type of mounting technology is best for round PCBs?
You can either use the SMT or THT method for placing components. However, the surface mount technology is the best method for component placement. This procedure is an automated one. Therefore, it makes the fabrication process much easier. The use of SMT on round PCBs reduces the stress encountered during production.
A round PCB board is ideal for use in both commercial and domestic applications. Not all applications require rectangular or square PCBs. Therefore, there is a need for round PCBs. It is very important you design your circuit board to match your devices’ form factor. Round PCB boards are complex to design. However, with the right software, the designing process can be a straightforward one. Also, it is important to follow some design rules and strategies during the design process.