My home made PCB

This is my first home made PCB using toner transfer method. I feel it’s much easier than what it sounds and very less time consuming. Planning to use the same method for few of my other projects. Any comments or suggestions?

BTW, it’s a RTC module built on DS1307.

Very good work. It looks very nice. Normally I like to add a ground plane, but yours it's ok too.

Nice.
And someone who reads datasheets - the ground plane under the crystal is present!
The decoupling cap should really be close to the chip and groundplane, BTW.

If you want it to remain looking nice and shiny a layer of lacquer or solder-resist can be applied over the copper immediately after cleaning. Otherwise in a few years time it'll
show every fingerprint as a brown tarnish of copper oxide.

A blob of glue to support the end of the crystal would protect against vibration and shock.

Hi Lavan,
Not a bad PCB for a first try. I too use the laser toner way, much easier then the old photo method where everything, including magnifacion had to be just right. You soldering looks good too, very clean.

I like to add a loop of wire around the crystal to GND, this also holds it firm, so no waggle or lead brakes, see picture. (Think I’ve soldered the wire to the crystal case without any harm)

As MarkT says decoupling caps close to IC’s etc.

What software do you use? I use Diptrace as it’s FREE (500 pins) has lots of libraries, and you can create your own components and PCB patterns. I know many Arduino users like Eagle (Which Arduino, themselves use) but I find it very hard to use…

Keep up the good work and lets see more of it.

Regards

Mel.

Thanks all for your suggestions. I need to include the ground plane in my future drawings. I did not find a easier way for the solder mask so I left it like that but lacquer is a good idea, thanks!

@Cactusface, I tried Kicad, Eagle and DesignSpark. I found designspark is very user friendly and absolutely no limitations compared to Eagle. I used both eagle and designspark for this project but I found Eagle is better for auto routing on single side PCB.

Does anyone know of any PCB layout software that is open source?

ChilliTronix:
Does anyone know of any PCB layout software that is open source?

KiCad is the prime example I believe.

Many thanks MarkT, I can see I am going to have to find a tutorial for that.

Looks OK so far though!

Very good pcb for being the first time, my first one was uglier :sweat_smile:
I use laser toner transfer too, with glossy paper.

Shame about the green splodgy silkscreen on the front. :slight_smile: Otherwise that's a nice tidy result.

Many thanks MarkT, I can see I am going to have to find a tutorial for that.

Looks OK so far though!

Lots on YouTube

Shame about the green splodgy silkscreen on the front. :slight_smile: Otherwise that's a nice tidy result.

If they don't mind a gummed label, print the silk screen layer on an Avery label then stick it on the top of the PCB.

Hi.

Looks good for a first time job.

Did you print the holes too ?
Drilling on the right spot is quite hard, as the drill has a tendency to shift if you apply pressure to it.
If you have the solderpads appear with hole, then the drill will be easier to position on the right spot, and it will most probably stay in there.
That way the components will be mounted more straight.

Nice one!

The only suggestion I can make is to include a version number. When your boards get more complex things get changed more often and then you're left wondering if the board you have in your hand is V1.1 where you moved the LED to fit the front panel label.

Very well done for a home-made board, particularly your first.

You can make the board look nicer and help the oxidation issue by using immersion tin plate on after etching. Also makes soldering easier, unless you've reused your tin plate solution so many times that it doesn't work well anymore.

How did you get the holes positioned so well?
Even leaving the middle of the pads open to keep the drill centered, i still had a hell of a time getting the holes where I wanted them, and I went through drill bits like nobody's business, even using a high-speed Dumore ("you can do more with a Dumore") drill press.

I've switched to using SMT parts whenever possible - that SMT pin header is particularly great - drilling pin header holes is such a pain. I haven't had to drill holes in my boards in months :stuck_out_tongue: (Also, I'd take soldering SOIC over DIP any day). Resistors and caps are still a pain - I've got a toaster reflow oven ( arduino controlled ControLeo2 - from whizoo.com - on their recommended cheapo toaster oven) now, which makes soldering everything much easier. You still have to get into every pad (or have a stencil made by the folks at osh stencil or your friendly local laser cutter owner) with a syringe of paste, and then place the parts down, but because you never have to both hold the part in place and apply an iron to it, it goes much faster.

What etchant are you using? Ferric Chloride? CuCl2+HCl? H2O2+HCl? I started with H2O2+HCl, discovered it didn't keep, and then made a bunch of CuCl2+HCl solution by feeding a bunch of copper turnings to a jar of HCl with an aquarium stone at the bottom, and I regenerate the solution with a few ml of 30% H2O2 - which is readily available now cause some quack convinced newage hypochondriacs to add it to their food. (not joking here - this is the same stuff that burns skin worse and faster than lye or HCl)

Also, what paper did you print on (I use hammermill color laser gloss, but I'm sure there's better), and did you use any non-default print options? That looks like just about a perfect transfer. No smearing, no toner pulled up with the paper, and not a hint of etchant leakage on the large copper areas.

Well done! That is impressive.

I used PCB push drill for the holes. As I have only few holes on this board, it was not a big deal! I used Ferric Chloride and it worked well for me, it took around 10 minutes to get the job done. I used the normal photo glossy paper, transferred the toner by ironing it for 5 minutes and soaked it for 15 minutes in water.

Shame about the green splodgy silkscreen on the front. :slight_smile: Otherwise that's a nice tidy result.

Agreed!.. BTW, I wrote those labels by a marker pen, as I did not find a easy way to print them. Not sure how others manage these silkscreen on home made PCB's

Lavan:
Agreed!.. BTW, I wrote those labels by a marker pen, as I did not find a easy way to print them. Not sure how others manage these silkscreen on home made PCB’s

You could have used the toner transfer method. leave the toner to dry on the board and a coat of varnish.

Hi Lavan,
Silk screens on PCB is simple you just do the same as the track side, but you need to flip the image. If your board is firbe glass then it may be a dark colour making it useless almost!

You can't always get it 100% registered, but near enough to know what goes where!!

If you have any text on (the copper layer) like version number or your initials, etc make sure their reversed on the pcb layout. (Corrected when flipped).

Regards

Mel.