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I've been designing boards for Silicon Photomultipliers for about a year and half now. You can see the various questions I've posted about my circuits. Based on the replies, it is extremely evident that I need a strong foundation on PCB design, especially for high-speed circuits. I was wondering what are some good resources that would be helpful in learning about good PCB design in general.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by DoxyLover, Brian Carlton, PeterJ, Dmitry Grigoryev, Michael Karas Aug 1 '17 at 9:28

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ People usually take hands-on workshops/courses to do it professionally.. \$\endgroup\$ – Eugene Sh. Jul 27 '17 at 20:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Check for a local users group for the PCB layout software you use (e.g. try googling "allegro pcb users group"). If you're in a tech center like Silicon Valley attending a local users group meeting should be possible. Another resource may be IPC.org, a pcb layout designers' association and standards body. \$\endgroup\$ – MarkU Jul 27 '17 at 20:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your replies. I don't have the luxury of taking any courses or workshops. I'm trying to learn as I go essentially, but I'll have a look at IPC and see if there's something. \$\endgroup\$ – user101402 Jul 27 '17 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Read BOTH of the Howard Johnson books; the theme is digital black magic, but applies to high speed analog. And are you able to calculate crosstalk on a napkin? If not, download Signal Chain Explorer (free) and examine the Gargoyles (magnetic, electric, power supply and ground) crosstalk. \$\endgroup\$ – analogsystemsrf Jul 28 '17 at 3:16
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A better way is to learn how to model parsitics. A piece of copper (or any conductor for that matter) functions as an inductor and resistor. If you have two pieces of metal, they form a capacitor. enter image description here Source: EE web

enter image description here Source: Askiitians

You can use this information to help you model the trace between components on a PCB.

The other thing to know is at high speeds (+50MHz) transmission line effects start to take over, the trace starts behaving less like a hose and more like a water trough with reflections that can return down the channel if the end is not matched OR the waves can attenuate.

enter image description here Source: High speed layout considerations

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In my opinion you cant just search for videos/Books/links to become good/experienced at something. The best way is less reading, more thinking and doing.

If I am interested in a topic I usually first google for lecture slides of a university that targets my topic. For example a lecture about "high speed design" usually covers all basics very compressed.

To get more into detail or practical it is a very good idea to have a look at appnotes provided by analog devices, linear technology, microchip etc.

But at the end what you are looking for is "experience" and for that you have to do mistakes and learn from them

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Experience is what you need just before you get it. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Smith Jul 28 '17 at 10:38

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