I must have easily spent 100+ hours (seriously!!! I probably underestimate!!) on my first layout of a PCB. My biggest challenges were:
- Fit everything within a 4"x6" PCB. That’s really the biggest issue as I kept on rearranging things.
- Figuring out how KiCad works. I never used a program like this and it surely has its issues (selecting libraries, activating libraries, not being able to drag things without messing everything up, etc.). That was my other biggest issue.
- Building schematics and footprints for components I couldn’t find in the libraries (Arduino nano, screw terminal). Actually, it looks like there is an Arduino Nano entry but for some reason I didn’t find it before. Searching the library isn’t easy.
- Trying to arrange components so I can still use wide tracks with enough clearance while fitting all tracks (angles are your enemy).
In any case, the image below is what I produced. Please note
- This is for fairly high amperages. The copper fills are for +12V and GND supporting up to 48A (I don’t think it will every go beyond 20A but 48A is the theoretical maximum).
- Each FET controls 6A when on.
- I plan to make my own PCB. Hence, I tried to keep the tracks as wide as possible with the assumption that the “laser print & hot iron - PCB” transfer will not be ideal and reduce the width of the tracks. Hence, I pushed the limit on getting too close (thinking things get narrower than planned) rather than getting good separation with narrow tracks (once the copper is gone it’s gone).
I am sure I messed up in several places so I am looking forward to your input. In the meantime I am trying to figure out how to drill the holes (Dremel drills seem to have too much “wiggle”) which will probably be another big challenge.