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I have a PORTC and PORTD which use a same library part (IDC connector). But because some of the pins on PORTC and PORTD are not connected (NC) I would like to strengthen them by increasing the radius of some pads which are different between PORTC and PORTD.

How can I do this in EAGLE if I don't wan't to create a new library parts or modify existing ones?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean by strengthen them? I doubt these parts will come off a board once soldered.... \$\endgroup\$ – EasyOhm Jan 26 '15 at 8:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well you never know. If I can afford it why not... Anyway it is a nice case where EAGLE gets tricky and might come in handy to someone. \$\endgroup\$ – 71GA Jan 26 '15 at 8:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not so familiar with Eagle but in other ECAD software you can create a new footprint and assign it to the part. To answer your question "Why not?" The recommended pad sizes given by manufacturers are given to improve yields. Pads that are too large may be at higher risk for creating shorts, or not re-flow properly while their smaller counterparts do re-flow fine, or use more solder than is necessary for mass production ect. From personal experience those IDC connectors are hard to remove - you won't rip them out. I don't think you need more structural integrity with them. \$\endgroup\$ – EasyOhm Jan 26 '15 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't do that in Eagle, but you can in some other PCB packages such as the Pulsonix software that I use. \$\endgroup\$ – Leon Heller Jan 26 '15 at 10:03
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The good practice is to modify the library which is easy and quick after you learn it.

If you don't want to do any modification on the library. Then, choose a via from the left side panel, and place it on top of the pad that you want to enlarge the foot print. After that click on "Ratsnest" button to reshape your groundplane. This method will increase number of drill hole by one which would not be a problem for a manufacturer. Just pay attention to chose a drill size that is already used for the board in order to not to increase number of tool change.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice hack... At least I won't be forced to change the library. \$\endgroup\$ – 71GA Jan 26 '15 at 10:53
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I wouldn't class myself as an expert on Eagle but I've recently been doing a fair amount of PCB design on it and I am always keen on trying to change the sizes of things without having to go into the footprint and alter things there.

However I found that there is no way to change the sizes of individual or in fact any holes / pads / vias that are there as part of a component footprint. You would have to go into the footprint and alter these things that you want but as you've said you don't want to do that - that's not very helpful.

I thought of a couple of different ways you could do what you want (depending on the reasons for you not wanting to change the footprint):

  • Modify and then re-name the footprint - If your reason for not changing the footprint is because you have other components that require the existing footprint then simply renaming it and modifying the bits you want will get around that issue. As you would just be making a new footprint but without all the hard work of starting from scratch, and you'd be able to keep the old footprint too.

  • Replace the footprint with individual vias - This could be an option as you would have control over the precise position and size of the hole / pad width. It would take a little bit of time to get everything in the right position but you could use the existing footprint as a sort of stencil and 'trace' over it and put your vias in exactly the same position. If you then grouped those components you could move them as a whole without upsetting the positioning of them relative to each other. Alternatively you could lock the components so that you can't move them by accident or without unlocking them first.
    Note: With this method you would easily be able to alter the diameter / width of the pads once all the hard work was done in getting them to the right position was done.

  • Talk to the manufacturer of the PCB - If by strengthen you mean that you want the copper layer to be thicker, you would have to talk to the PCB producer (if you're not doing it yourself) and you might be able to request that they use thicker copper layers - You probably won't be able to request individual pads to be of certain thickness and the others a different thickness but it could be worth a shot.

I have had issues with these pads ripping up. Never when trying to put the component in (although the holes were slightly too small and it needed some considerable force to get the component through) - my issues only ever come when trying to remove the component, I find I can never completely remove all the solder I have applied to the pins and end up trying to yank them out which just leads to the entire pad (both sides and through the middle) coming out with the pin! If you are against any of these ideas then there isn't really a lot that you can do, just be careful when assembling!

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