Popular PCB Design Magazine columnist, Barry Olney, is offering a new simulation service that walks clients through the high-speed design process. We have simulated many designs over the past 15 years but have found that it is best to mentor designers providing advice on effective placement, routing constraints based on proven design rules, signal and power integrity, crosstalk and EMI throughout the entire process.


This is a one-on-one mentoring program that provides participants with a competitive edge via access to an expert designer. Barry will personally analyse your high-speed design and provide direct feedback and guidance on how to best deal with issues as they arise. So if you are unsure of your next complex digital design get some help to ensure it performs reliably to spec. This takes the pressure off you and your boss will be happy as the design will be completed on schedule and work first time saving costly iterations. 


Generally, once a designer has been guided through the process, we find that he then has the confidence to resolve his own design issues knowing it will work. The bottom line is that you will be able to produce reliable boards with fewer re-spins and shorter time to market. It is more efficient to prevent problems, before they arise, rather than trying to solve them once the prototype is built!


Conferences versus Mentoring?

Many PCB designers regularly attended technical sessions at conferences or travel to attend specific courses of interest. This is undoubtedly a good way to learn and improve your skills, but the courses are not specific to your product. It takes you away from your work for days and also incurs travel and accommodation expenses that end up blowing out the budget.


The ICD Mentoring program, on the other hand, keeps you productive while you are learning. You are taught relative to your product - not a generic design. So, the skills you gain are far more valuable and you are able to retain this information more readily as it is gained by experience.


The following services will be provided by ICD during the PCB Design Mentoring program:

  • ICD will provide creative mentoring on a one-on-one basis with a nominated person.

  • An initial online or telephone meeting will be held to set out the expectations of the mentoring program.

  • Review of schematics to ensure correct creation of design constraints.

  • Analysis of the PCB substrate to ensure:

  • Impedance of single ended and differential signals meet the requirements of the technologies employed.

  • That there are clear return paths and reference planes are appropriately assigned.

  • Materials are selected to minimize cost, provide adequate performance for the final product end use and that these materials are stocked by the clients preferred fabrication facility.

  • Analysis of the Power Distribution Networks (PDN) to ensure minimum AC impedance is attained up to the maximum required frequency.

  • Advice on the placement and routing of power planes.

  • Advice on critical placement and best routing strategies.

  • Determination of high-speed signal terminations, matched lengths and impedance matching.

  • Simulation of high-speed critical signals to ensure timing requirements are met.

  • Batch mode and interactive analysis of crosstalk.

  • Estimate of electromagnetic radiation to ensure the product meets FCC/CISPR Class B requirements.

  • A comprehensive simulation report will be provided to the client upon completion of the project.


What our customers say:


Just wanted to let you know that the DDR4 parts of our ExaLINK Fusion product seems to be working well. We're running at 1820 Mb/s at the moment, and will try and speed that up in due course.

We're also getting good results so far on the QDR-IV SRAM onboard running at 1G, although the controller is still a WIP.

Thanks again for your help during the design.

Peter von Konigsmark
Senior Electronics Engineer


We received our adapter boards yesterday and were able to test the Ethernet connection and load programs into flash memory. Board #2 now runs very solid, no odd command error traps or program errors. It ran over 5 million IDN queries last night without any errors. It looks very good.

I want to thank you guys at In-Circuit Design for your help and the simulation report. We did incorporate all of the recommendations and the capacitor changes recommended in your PDN analysis.


Jerry Mercola

ICS Electronics, CA, USA


Barry has over 25 years experience with high-speed, multilayer PCB design and has assisted many customers over the years with their SI and EMC problems. He has presented Mentor Graphics HyperLynx Signal Integrity training courses to customers. Barry also presents and is the author of Advanced Design for SMT and the Fundamentals of High Speed Design throughout Australia and is a popular columnist for The PCB Design Magazine www.pcbdesign007.com with over 75 columns.

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