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I want to put decoupling caps (0603) as close as possible to TQFP-48-7x7. So PCB/assembly wise how close I can put them (pad to pad, component to component)?

Does the 'court yard' need to be exactly square, or is it ok to place mentioned caps closer to TQFP in the corners where the TQFP pins leave kind of 'free space'?

For placing all small stuff I have used 30mils (0603 <-> 0805 <-> etc).

Thanks, Tim

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It depends. No, seriously, it depends. There are many factors, and not all of these apply to everyone.

Pick & Place: Your pick and place machine has limits on how close it can place a tall component next to a short one. This shouldn't be an issue for this, but it would not surprise me to see an old machine that can't place a large PQFP really close to an 0402.

Inspection: If you need to inspect the chip then you need to leave room for the inspection stuff. With a TQFP you would likely only need room for the bed of nails (clamshell) or maybe the flying probe. I don't think you need room if you have just an optical microscope. With optical inspection of BGAs this is more important since you need more room for the mirror to sit flat against the PCB.

Soldering: With normal hot-air reflow this isn't a huge issue, but if you are hand soldering then you need to leave room for the soldering iron or hot-air nozzle.

Whoever you are using to manufacture stuff should be able to give you guidelines on these issues.

Normally, 100 mils should be plenty of room. When in doubt I would leave at least 100 mils around TQFPs. In many cases you should be able to get much closer, but I would verify that before doing it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Anindo and David, For good/educating answers. Tim. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Nov 13 '12 at 2:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Soldering: you might as well have to consider the possibility of hand work to be done after production. If you have ever tried to desolder a TQFP from an assembled equipment (to replace a died IC, for example), then you probably know what I'm talking about. It is a real pain to mask out very close, small SMD components, since letting them get desoldered as well would increase the time spent by a large factor. Replacing a single TQFP is not a big deal, putting back twenty 0603 capacitors & resistors is a lot more. \$\endgroup\$ – Laszlo Valko Sep 22 '13 at 12:13
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Unless the datasheet of the TQFP part mentions a keep-out area, a safe minimum distance would be such that there is solder resist at least as long as the track is thick, preferably twice that much, between the TQFP and the capacitors.

This would ensure that solder surface tension does not drag the cap right into the TQFP pin's solder pool and cause misaligned / bad connections.

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