Oops, I Did It Again: Survey Details Most Common Design Errors

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Michelle_Te_300.jpgWe hate to admit it, but even the best of us make mistakes. Such is true with PCB designers and design engineers. We wondered: What are the most common mistakes that PCB designers make?

Since no one likes to admit they make mistakes, the I-Connect007 Research Team sent that very question out in a survey. Sometimes it just feels better to remain anonymous. There’s a little more truth there.

Your responses to the survey, we found, could be divided into three categories: failures/errors, changes/improvements, and time to market. And just for fun, there’s a miscellaneous category, but more on that later.


In what our team categorized as failures/errors, there was a wide range of responses, including “electrical functions wrong,” “part obsolescence,” “noise,” “thermal failures,” “minor design corrections,” and “performance not met.” Others cited errors with engineering, circuit design, schematics, design faults, software issues, and simply, “dumb mistakes.”

Many other respondents recognized the need to make changes and improvements. Some comments included: “Adding new functionality,” “changes in product specification,” “layout improvements,” “dimensional/shape adaptation due to altered design on housing,” “evolving requirements, learning as you go,” “out of sync with mechanical model because of last-minute changes,” “EMV improvements,” “needs for change identified during testing,” and “mechanical changes (enclosures, mounting, etc.).”

Still others responded that errors occur because of time or time-to-market. They listed these conclusions: “Short schedule limits detailed checking,” “new, unproven designs,” “rushing to production,” and “not taking the time to perform analysis of design up front.”

And finally, there were miscellaneous responses that didn’t seem to fit the above. They had to do with PCBA alignment, footprint issues, not fully appreciating mechanical tolerance chain, reducing cost, optimization, manufacturing issues and solder mask, and panelization.

If you’re a designer or work with designers, you likely recognize some of these issues. But what is to be done? In upcoming issues of Design007 Magazine, you’ll read more about these issues along the path to continuous improvement.

If you’d like to comment on a particular design error, please reach out to Editor Andy Shaughnessy and share what works or doesn’t work for you.

The I-Connect007 Research Team is just one component of the I-Connect007 Team, fully committed to the most extensive coverage of the global printed circuit board, assembly and PCB design industry.


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